EASTBROOK, Maine (AP) — A new, 19-turbine wind farm that has the capacity to supply the equivalent energy needs of 18,000 homes has been completed, developer First Wind said Wednesday.
The Boston-based company said its 34-megawatt Bull Hill project, located in Hancock County on the ridges of Bull Hill and Heifer Hill about 15 miles northeast of Ellsworth, has begun generating electricity.
With the windmills making power, the county and the small town of Eastbrook will receive an average aggregate tax payment of about $100,000 per year for the next two decades, plus $240,000 annually in community benefit payments, for a total of more than $7 million, First Wind said.
First Wind also is providing a communication tower to be used by county public safety and rescue departments.
The utility NSTAR and First Wind have entered into a 15-year fixed-price contract for the project’s electricity. That will help NSTAR meet its goal of providing renewable energy to homes and businesses as outlined by Massachusetts law that encourages energy efficiency, the company said.
‘‘We’re looking forward to delivering clean, renewable wind energy from this project to our customers for years to come,’’ said James Daly, vice president of energy supply at Northeast Utilities, parent company of NSTAR.
The wind farm employs around 10 full-time workers, some of whom were enrolled in the wind-technology course at Northern Maine Community College, First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne said Wednesday.
The project is First Wind’s fifth operating wind farm in Maine. Construction started earlier this year and was completed ahead of schedule. It brings to eight the number of operating, utility-grade wind farms in the state, with two others permitted but not yet operating, according to Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association.