Maine's Board of Environmental Protection has put the Bowers Wind project appeal on the agenda for their May 1, 2014 meeting. At this meeting, the Board will discuss the appeals filed by Champlain Wind LLC (First Wind -- the developer) and Bowers Mountain LLC (the primary landowner). They will most likely vote whether to overturn DEP's denial of the Bowres project or let the denial stand.
The public will not have the opportunity to speak but we still hope you'll attend. It's important that we show the BEP board members that we have the numbers on OUR side, that we are NOT a very small but vocal minority. If you have a 'No Towers on Bowers' pin, please wear it proudly. If you are a Registered Maine Guide, please wear your patch proudly.
Board of Environmental Protection Meeting
Thursday, May 1st, 2014
Augusta Civic Center
76 Community Drive Augusta, ME 04330
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On Tuesday March 4th, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court vacated the 2012 decision by the Public Utilities Commission that illegally allowed a merger between Canadian utility Emera and Boston wind generation developer First Wind. The resulting joint venture was named Northeast Wind Partners. Coming off a failed IPO, the deal gave First Wind a desperately needed cash infusion that would allow it to expand its development plans in Maine.
Despite the fact that the PUC decision was immediately appealed, First Wind and Emera took a huge and reckless risk by going ahead and closing the deal. Details here:
Bangor Daily News:
High court overrules state approval of multimillion-dollar wind energy deal
Portland Press Herald:
Court: Maine wind-power venture shouldn't have been OK'd
The First Wind case now goes back to the PUC, but its future is unclear.
Here's how CreditWatch and Standard & Poors responded to the Court's ruling against First Wind:
Northeast Wind Capital II LLC Placed On Watch Negative On Court Ruling
NEW YORK--11 Mar--Standard & Poor's
On March 4, 2014, Maine's Supreme Court ruled against the Maine Public
Utilities Commission's (PUC) approval of the joint venture between First
Wind Holdings LLC and Emera Inc., which created Northeast Wind Capital II
LLC's parent company, Northeast Wind Partners II LLC.
We are placing the company's credit rating on CreditWatch with negative
implications. In our CreditWatch resolution, we will assess the company's potential
change of ownership arising from the ruling. If Emera sells its 49% stake in
Northeast Wind's parent company to First Wind Capital LLC, which we view as
a possibility, we would consolidate Northeast Wind Capital II into the First
Wind family and we would likely lower Northeast Wind's ratings. If Emera
sells its interest to another party, our view of the new owner and any
changes in the ownership structure could also influence the company's
stand-alone credit quality.
NEW YORK (Standard & Poor's) March 10, 2014--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today it placed its 'B+' corporate credit rating on Northeast Wind Capital II LLC on CreditWatch with negative implications. The CreditWatch listing follows the recent Maine Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Maine PUC's approval of the joint venture creating Northeast Wind Capital II LLC (Northeast Wind). Although the PUC determines what the next steps are, we have limited visibility into how this will affect Northeast Wind's business. "Although we expect the PUC to open a proceeding to consider the court's ruling, the timing for any resolution is unclear," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Jeong-A Kim. This could possibly affect Northeast Wind's ownership profile by triggering any potential asset sales that stem from the lack of regulatory approval and have associated costs we have not yet quantified. We believe that Emera could divest its interest in the company due to the recent ruling. In such a situation, one potential outcome may be that First Wind exercises its "first look" rights under the joint-venture agreement and buys out Emera's stake in Northeast Wind. Because we previously rated Northeast Wind as a stand-alone entity because there is no one party controlling the joint venture, we would likely consolidate the company into First Wind. Because we currently rate First Wind lower than Northeast Wind, it's possible we would downgrade the company. To resolve the CreditWatch, we will discuss with management the company's future strategy, including any potential asset sales. We will update our recovery analysis once we receive further information.
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On Monday, August 5th, DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho signed the denial decision document on the Bowers Mountain Wind Project. On September 4th, First Wind appealed that decision to the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP). The owner of the proposed site, Bowers Mountain LLC also filed an appeal.
Click here to see the DEP decision document.
Click here to access the appeal documents.
BEP Chairman Foley is currently studying the record of the DEP hearing and the appeal documents. Before long he will announce whether the appeal warrants a full hearing or will be handled at one of BEP's regular monthly meetings (public invited but not allowed to participate). Once he makes his decision and the hearing or meeting is scheduled, we will post it here.
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Looking for a great read?
One of our members is bestselling novelist Mike Bond of Winthrop, Maine and Hawaii. His latest thriller, Saving Paradise, just hit #1 on Amazon ebook sales in several categories.
Saving Paradise is a complex murder mystery about political and corporate greed and corruption. Mike incorporate(s) a lot of the reality of wind turbines and wind energy hype and fantasy into Saving Paradise. The result is a storyline that is both thought-provoking and informative. The story’s twists and turns will keep you guessing the killer’s identity right up until the very end.
What better way to pass these cold evenings than reading an outstanding thriller based in Hawaii? Both Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com recently dropped the ebook price to just $.99. Please spread the word. All author profits go to fighting industrial wind.
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Canoe/Camping Trips through the Downeast Lakes:
Check out the Wilderness Canoe Association forum for a description of a four-day group canoe/camping trip from Grand Lake Stream to Junior, Scraggly, Bottle, Sysladobsis and Pocumcus. And First Wind claims there is no evidence of paddlers or campers on these lakes!
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First Wind's Sheffield VT Project Not Popular with Locals
Noise, health problems and no one will buy their houses! Not only that but First Wind's PR Czar John Lamontagne admits the project is not generating the amount of electricity they originally promised! The project's nameplate capacity is 40MW and First Wind originally promised a capacity factor of 33%. At the end of this video he admits it's only delivering 85 to 90 megawatts (he meant megawatt hours). That's only 24% of capacity. See the video here.
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