The Commissioners directed Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro Energy to share the contract in an 80% (CMP)/20% (BHE) split. The decision will be final with the completion of the written order.

“This is good news for ratepayers and renewable energy development in MPUC,” noted Commission Chair Sharon Reishus. “The First Wind contract makes it possible for MPUC ratepayers to gain energy supply cost benefits from as renewable energy resource, and the company gets the financial assurance the contract provides to become fully operational.”

Commissioners considered the specific terms of the wind project contract, the value of wind power in MPUC, and the analyses of staff, Commission consultant and the two involved utilities. The Public Advocate’s Office submitted comments in support of the project. Chair Reishus explained, “We believe this an appropriate time to accept a bid which provides cost benefits to ratepayers based on the analyses we received. This is a good first step and we look forward to other contracts coming forward.”

This is the first long term contract to be approved since electric restructuring in 2000. The Commission was given the authority by the Legislature in 2006 to direct electric utilities to enter into long-term electric generation contracts in order to bring cost benefits to MPUC ratepayers by providing: lower electricity supply costs for MPUC consumers; increase in renewable capacity; a hedge against market prices of electricity; an offset of costs resulting from new transmission; and, a lower cost alternative to new transmission investment.

After a thorough process of rule-making, proposals request drafting and public comment, long-term contract RFPs were issued in December 2008 and the first contract proposals were received for consideration in April 2009.