Vermont utility, First Wind reach deal to sell power generated by Maine wind project

First Wind, a Boston-based company that owns and operates 12 wind farms in six states, said Friday that it has reached an agreement with the Burlington Electric Department in Vermont to sell the utility power generated from the planned Hancock Wind project near Ellsworth, Maine.

In a press release, First Wind said it will sell 25 percent of the power and renewable energy certificates generated at the 54 megawatt wind farm for the next 10 years under a fixed-price agreement to the Vermont utility.

“This project will help provide clean, renewable energy to Burlington ratepayers at a highly competitive cost, and the Hancock Wind project will deliver significant economic benefits throughout Down East Maine,” First Wind chief executive Paul Gaynor said in a statement.

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When built, the Hancock Wind project will feature 18 turbines.

First Wind currently operates five wind projects in Maine and one in Sheffield, VT. Combined, the six projects generate enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes, the company said.

A November story in the Globe noted that First Wind has prospered by following an unconventional strategy that often avoids towering ridgelines, instead building at lower elevations and taking advantage of technological advances that allow turbines to generate electricity at lower wind speeds. Even so, the company’s projects have still attracted controversy, provoking outrage from some residents of rural and remote areas who say the peace, quiet, and beauty of natural landscapes is marred by the industrial developments.

The company’s portfolio is made up of more than 500 turbines with a combined generating capacity of roughly 1,000 megawatts, or enough to power about 285,000 homes. First Wind has annual revenues of about $250 million.