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May 5, 2015

SunEdison cites PUC as reason for ending wind energy talks

A controversial vote by Maine energy regulators earlier this year has prompted renewable energy developer SunEdison to end discussions over a long-term power purchasing agreement that would have provided electricity to Maine utilities.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the company, which bought Boston-based First Wind earlier this year, said in a Monday filing that it has withdrawn its pursuit of a 25-year old agreement that would have had Emera Maine and Central Maine Power Co. buy electricity from its Weaver Wind project in Hancock County.

The agreement was initially approved by the Maine Public Utilities Commission in December. But after the appointment of a new commissioner in January, the PUC voted to reconsider that agreement and another one sought for NextEra's wind project in Somerset County.

At the time, PUC Chairman Mark Vannoy and Commissioner Carlisle McLean said they supported reopening the contracts because they wanted to get the best deal for Maine ratepayers, especially considering that energy prices had dipped 20% since they were first approved. David Littell, the PUC’s outgoing commissioner, had opposed reopening the contracts, saying that a wind contract could be less volatile than fossil fuel prices and that the reversal would reflect poorly upon Maine's regulatory authority's reputation.

John LaMontagne, a spokesman for SunEdison, told the newspaper the company will now seek another buyer for the wind project’s power.

“SunEdison had hoped the PUC would execute the negotiated contract to deliver clean energy at a very competitive price to Maine homes and businesses, but it became clear to us that the Maine PUC was not going to approve the power purchase agreement,” he said. “For that reason, we have decided to withdraw our proposal for a long-term contract and seek other partners who see the benefit of clean, renewable energy at a below-market price.”

Read more

Outgoing PUC Chairman Tom Welch reflects on 15 years guiding energy policy in Maine

SunEdison finalizes First Wind buyout

PUC to reconsider two wind projects

PUC nears deal for long-term wind contract

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