October 26, 2020 by Kate Cough
CLIFTON — The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved contracts for 17 renewable power projects on Sept. 22, including a 20-megawatt (MW) wind farm known as Silver Maple Wind in Clifton and a 100-MW solar project in Hancock known as Three Rivers Solar.
The PUC approved a contract for SWEB Development’s Silver Maple Wind that includes two options: one where the company sells the electricity it generates for $34.30 per megawatt hour (MWh), increasing by 2 percent each year, and a second where it sells it at a fixed price, for $40.18 per MWh. The commission will have the final say on the price.................
..................... Silver Maple, according to contract documents, has estimated it will be able to provide roughly 68,596 MWh of electricity each year. Three Rivers Solar has said it will be able to deliver around 157,888 MWh, minus a “degradation factor” of 0.43 percent (or roughly 678 MWh) annually. (Solar panels can produce electricity for decades, but produce less and less as they age, a process called degradation.) “The first-year prices for energy from the new projects receiving an award are very competitive, ranging between 2.9 to 4.2 cents per [kilowatt hour],” said Commission Chairman Philip L. Bartlett II. “Additionally, these projects are expected to provide substantial benefits to the Maine economy by creating jobs and making significant local investments.”
Most of the other contracts approved by the PUC were for solar farms, with Silver Maple Wind the lone wind power project..........................
..................... State officials set off a rush among developers after enacting a law last year requiring the state to increase the percentage of renewable energy in its portfolio to 80 percent of electricity sales by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
“Today’s announcement is a historic step forward in Maine’s effort to embrace renewable energy, create good-paying green-collar jobs, diversify and expand our economy and combat the threat of climate change,” said Governor Janet Mills in a statement after the PUC announcement. “This progress, which is the direct result of bipartisan energy legislation I signed last year, further establishes Maine as a national clean energy leader.”
The electricity generated by both Silver Maple and Three Rivers will be sold to Versant, formerly Emera Maine, which was recently bought by ENMAX Corp. of Canada............................
.................... Silver Maple Wind, a fiveturbine, $44-million wind project, would double the number of turbines and triple the energy potential of the existing five-turbine Pisgah Mountain Wind project in Clifton.
That project is still undergoing state review by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
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