First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, held a ceremony today to commemorate the start of construction of the 102 MW expansion of the company’s Utah-based Milford Wind project.
As part of the ceremony, local and community leaders joined First Wind at the project site in Milford, Utah to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of the project along with the significance of recent project milestones that include a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) and construction financing, both of which were critical in spurring the current construction activity.
Milford Mayor Bryan Sherwood and Millard County Commission Chair Daron Smith joined with First Wind officials and others in signing their names to a turbine blade that will be erected on the wind project.
The Milford Wind Phase II Project will have the capacity to generate up to 102 MW of clean energy upon its completion, enough to power about 22,000 homes. Located in Millard and Beaver County, Utah, the construction associated with the installation of 68 additional 1.5 MW GE turbines for the second phase of the project began in July, with foundations being poured in October.
The construction will be a source of revenue and new jobs to the surrounding area. For example, the 204 MW Milford I project, which went online in November 2009, supported more than 300 development and construction jobs, and First Wind directly spent about $30 million with Utah-based businesses developing and building the first phase of the project and another $50 million in statewide spending on items such as wages, taxes and more.
“We are very pleased to accelerate our construction activities for the second phase of the Milford Wind project,” said David Hastings, Vice President of Western Development for First Wind. “The expansion and continued success of Milford Wind is a testament to the project and the commitment of our stakeholders, the State of Utah, our host counties of Beaver and Millard, our PPA partners – SCPPA, LADWP and Glendale, our landowner group including the federal Bureau of Land Management, our contractor and subcontractors, and of course our lenders.”
RMT, which led the construction for the Milford I project and is currently building First Wind’s Kahuku project in Oahu, Hawaii and the Sheffield Wind project in Vermont, is again leading construction activities for the Milford II project.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with First Wind to expand the Milford Wind project,” said Frank Greb, Vice President and General Manager for RMT. “As with the first phase of the project, RMT will hire local workers and subcontractors whenever possible to ensure that the construction of this expansion maximizes the economic benefits for the surrounding community and Utah.”
Power Purchase Agreement with SCPPA
Completed on October 18, 2010, the long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to supply the cities of Los Angeles and Glendale with renewable energy represented a significant milestone for the Milford II project. Once completed, the second phase of the Milford Wind project will add to the already significant renewable energy that is being produced and delivered to Los Angeles, Burbank and Pasadena through the first phase of the project. The 102 MW expansion will utilize the 88-mile generator lead that was built from the Milford Wind project to the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta, which then connects the site to the electrical grid.
“This PPA for Milford II is significant as it builds on the successful long-term PPA we signed in 2007 for Milford I, which at its time was a landmark for a publicly owned utility,” said Bill D. Carnahan, Executive Director of the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA). “As with the Milford I PPA, SCPPA will contract with First Wind for the long-term agreement, prepay for the energy, and sign power sales agreements with the participants to sell them the output of the project to repay SCPPA’s costs including the ongoing operating expenses.”
In addition to the PPA, First Wind recently secured financing for the project. RBS Securities Inc. was lead arranger and bookrunner for this loan. The following banks acted as joint lead arrangers for the financing: Banco Espirito Santo S.A. New York Branch, Santander Investment Securities Inc., CoBank, ACB, and SG Americas Securities, LLC.
“The commitment from these banks is evidence of both the strength of this project and the promise of the wind industry,” said Steve Schauer, Senior Vice President of Finance for First Wind. “We sincerely appreciate their commitment to both the Milford I and now the Milford II projects and to renewable energy. We look forward to building our relationship with each of them.”
“RBS is very pleased to have played a leading role in First Wind’s financing of the Milford II project,” said Richard Randall, RBS Managing Director. “We applaud First Wind’s dedication and the Joint Lead Arrangers’ commitment in successfully closing this financing. The financing of the Milford II project, following the success of the first Milford project last year demonstrates the tremendous vision of the Milford Wind project and First Wind to bring low cost renewable power to southern California.”
When completed, the combined phases of the Milford Wind project will have the capacity to generate enough to power the equivalent of more than 65,000 homes annually. With an aggregate of 306 MW of clean, wind energy between the two projects, the power produced by Milford Wind will be the equivalent of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions by over 310,000 tons annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (E-GRID).