Boston-based First Wind has announced that its proposed Oakfield Wind project in Aroostook County, Maine, has received unanimous approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The project was originally approved at 51-megawatts (MW) in 2010. But last June First Wind filed an amendment to increase the size of the facility, and the project is now nearly three times its original size.
The final proposal consists of 50 3.0-MW turbines, about 2.5 miles from the center of Oakfield. Once fully operational, the 150-MW project will be First Wind’s fifth and largest wind farm in Maine, and is expected to produce enough electricity to power more than 48,000 homes.
The announcement marks the culmination of four years of collaboration between First Wind and the town of Oakfield, as part of what the company says has been a rigorous local review process. To date, First Wind has invested more than $10 million in completing the review process alone—including lease payments, environmental assessments, engineering studies and lodging.
“The local review process on this project has been unprecedented,” said Matt Kearns, Vice President of Business Development at First Wind. “We provided resources for the Town to hire independent sound experts, engineers, and lawyers and participated in a lengthy and robust review process in which issues of local interest were fully reviewed. We did that both for the originally planned project, and again based on the revised project layout. We’re looking forward to moving ahead with the project soon.”