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April 23, 2012

LURC rejects First Wind's Bowers project

As expected, the Land Use Regulation Commission has rejected First Wind’s proposal for a 27-turbine wind farm on Bowers Mountain on the Penobscot-Washington county line. The news comes as First Wind reports securing $76 million in financing for another project in Hancock County.

LURC on Friday voted 5-0 to reject the project, following a staff recommendation to deny it because of its impact on scenic views, according to the Bangor Daily News. First Wind last fall attempted to withdraw its application in order to address concerns raised in the staff recommendation, but regulators voted not to allow it to pull its application. A First Wind spokesperson said the company plans to re-evaluate the project and resubmit a proposal for a smaller version.

Meanwhile, the company announced it closed a $70 million construction loan and $6 million in letters of credit for its 19-turbine Bull Hill project, which earned LURC approval last October. The financing comes from Union Bank, and an affiliate of the bank will also provide long-term capital through sale-leaseback financing once the project is up and running, according to a press release from First Wind. The company plans to install the turbines this summer and make them operational by the end of the year.

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