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Are wind firm, Bangor Hydro parent talking joint venture?  

Credit:  By Tux Turkel, Staff Writer, The Portland Press Herald, www.pressherald.com 29 March 2011 ~~

The parent company of Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. and Maine’s most active wind power developer are both declining to comment on published reports that the two energy firms are negotiating a possible joint venture in the region.

Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Emera Inc. is looking to buy a stake in Northeast wind farms operated by First Wind Holdings, according to Power Finance & Risk, a trade publication that follows mergers and acquisitions in the industry.

The publication attributes the information to unnamed bankers who reference investment banks working on a possible deal involving 270 megawatts of capacity in the Northeast.

The speculation comes five months after First Wind abruptly canceled plans to go public after its stock failed to gain the price the company was seeking.

The Boston-based company had hoped to raise as much as $312 million from its initial public offering. It wanted the money to pay debt and fund future growth.

In Maine, First Wind operates two of New England’s largest wind farms, in Aroostook and Washington counties. It’s currently building another large project near Lincoln and is preparing to seek permits for a site in Somerset County.

In a written statement Monday, First Wind wouldn’t say if it’s talking to Emera as a way to raise capital privately.

“First Wind has been actively exploring several options to fully finance the company’s growth,” said John Lamontagne, a company spokesman. “We will not disclose details of any of the options until the financing has been completed.”

A partnership with First Wind could make strategic sense for Emera, which has been expanding into New England. It bought the parent company of Maine Public Service Co. in Aroostook County last year, Maine & Maritimes Corp.

Most significantly, Emera recently entered into a $6.2 billion joint venture with Nalcor Energy, the Newfoundland crown corporation, to develop a massive hydroelectric project in Labrador and move energy to Nova Scotia and New England.

A spokeswoman for Emera, Sasha King, said large companies such as Emera have discussions with businesses in the energy sector, but declined to be specific. “When Emera is ready to announce anything in any of our businesses, we will do so,” she said.

Source:  By Tux Turkel, Staff Writer, The Portland Press Herald, www.pressherald.com 29 March 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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