Construction activities have involved more than 97 Maine-based businesses and produced an average of 200 on-site jobs each day
BY RAMONA DU HOUX
April 5, 2011
First Wind’s 60 MW Rollins wind energy project in Penobscot County is nearing completion with 34 of the 40 GE 1.5 MW turbines installed at the project site situated in the towns of Lincoln, Burlington, Lee, Winn and Mattawamkeag.
As part of the construction and development activities for Rollins Wind, more than $29 million has been spent directly with 97 Maine-based businesses. As construction nears completion, there are still about 175 workers on the project site, but during peak construction the site supported an average of 200 jobs each day.
“The Rollins Wind project has provided a big boost to the local economy through construction jobs and work for local businesses,” said Matt Kearns, Vice President of Northeast Business Development for First Wind. “When this project goes online, it will produce enough renewable energy to power nearly 23,000 Maine homes per year. It will also continue to contribute to the local economy by delivering a total of $24 million in tax revenues to the four neighboring communities over a 30-year period while generating regional business activity through our ongoing operations on the project site.”
Over 500 different contract workers have logged more than 200,000 man hours on the project site, which has averaged 200 workers during peak construction.
“We commend the construction team, which has worked very hard to keep the Rollins project on schedule during one of Maine’s toughest winters in some time,” said Pat DeFillip, Senior Project Manager of Reed & Reed, the Woolwich, Maine general contractor for the project. “Having worked on several projects with First Wind now, we have seen first-hand the positive impact that these projects have had including jobs to many Maine construction workers and spending with local businesses, all critical during a tough economic time.”
First Wind’s Rollins project received approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on April 21, 2009. On August 6, 2009, the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) unanimously voted in support of the DEP permit.
On October 7, 2009, the Maine Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a 20-year long-term electricity supply contract to purchase the renewable energy generated from the Rollins Wind project. Construction of the project is expected to be substantially completed by July, with the project expected to be online sometime in August.
“The Rollins Wind project and other projects by First Wind has provided a significant benefit to the town of Lincoln and surrounding communities,” said Herb Sargent of Sargent Corporation, a Stillwater, Maine-based lead subcontractor on the project. “We’ve supplied over 6,000 cubic yards of concrete from our Lincoln site, as well as employed dozens of hard-working local folks preparing roads and tower pads throughout the winter. This project has meant steady work for our team throughout the winter, a season of the year that is typically slow for us.”
A local school celebrates with Gov.Baldacci at First Wind’s ribbon cutting at the Stetson Wind farm. Photo by Ramona du Houx
There were 19 local businesses involved in the construction of the wind turbine project directly and countless others have seen an increase in business and revenue while the project has been underway.
“My businesses, including Access Auto, the Briarwood Motor Inn, Why Not Stop, Fine Line, Smart’s True Value Hardware, and Lincoln Equipment Rental have all seen a definite boost since the start of construction on the Rollins Wind Project,” said Sterling “Boody” Osgood, a local business owner. “This project has been good for my businesses, but also good for the town and the region, as it has put many people to work and provided significant economic benefit to other area businesses.”
The economic ripple effect has been beneficial to communities across the region.
“We’ve seen a lot of business come due to the construction at the wind project,” said Pete Lyons, half-owner and Vice President of Access Auto & Lincoln Motorsports, an auto dealer and service center. “The project has definitely had a positive economic impact on our business. We’ve done a lot of work on Reed & Reed trucks. It’s been good for our business.”
When the Rollins project is completed and online, First Wind will have 185 MW of capacity in Maine, with three other projects in the state. First Wind has helped the state lead the NE region in wind power. Maine produces 95 percent of all the wind energy in NE. The Baldacci administration worked along side First Wind and other companies to ensure Maine’s clean energy potential would be realized.
Celebrating its fourth year of commercial operations, the 42 MW Mars Hill Wind project in the Town of Mars Hill was the first utility-scale wind project in Maine.
First Wind also operates the 57 MW Stetson Wind and the 26 MW Stetson Wind II projects, both located in Washington County near the town of Danforth. Combined, the three projects generate enough energy to power more than 52,000 homes in the Northeast. First Wind also has a number of projects in various stages of development throughout Maine and New England.