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First Wind, Algonquin combine forces  

Credit:  By Andrew Poole, The Evening Tribune, www.steubencourier.com 12 May 2011 ~~

Cohocton, NY – Financial and partnership changes for First Wind won’t impact turbines in Cohocton, according to First Wind and town officials.
First Wind announced Saturday they entered an agreement with Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. and Emera Inc. to joint construct, own and operate wind energy projects in New York and the New England states.
Canada-based Algonquin owns and operates $1.1 billion in renewable and thermal power. Emera, based in Nova Scotia, invests in electricity generation, transmission and distribution and gas transmission.
According to a release from the three companies, the agreement requires state and federal regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.
First Wind, who developed turbines in Cohocton and began a 20-year project with the town starting in 2008, will maintain 51 percent of the operating company. Emera and Algonquin entered into a separate venture titled Northeast Wind, according to the release. Northeast Wind will control the other 49 percent.
According to the release, Northeast Wind will invest $333 million to secure the 49 percent.
John Lamontagne, director of corporate communications at First Wind, said the $333 million will go toward projects in different stages of development.
He added First Wind will continue to serve as the managing branch of the operating company, and that the changes shouldn’t impact Cohocton.
“It doesn’t impact Cohocton at all. Anything new or in operation should see no difference. Everything will continue to operate as it has in the past,” he said.
Cohocton Supervisor Jack Zigenfus was notified Monday about the changes with First Wind.
“They didn’t want the town to be alarmed,” he said. “They called me so I wouldn’t hear about it second-hand.”
The only change for the town will be in the insurance bonds regarding agreement with First Wind. Zigenfus said the insurance company will have to issue new bonds, worth $300,000, after the agreement between the companies.
Zigenfus pointed to First Wind depositing $100,000 in the town’s bank account Saturday as an example of business continuing as usual with the wind energy company.
The $100,000 is payment as part of a six-year road use agreement between the town and company. The agreement is now in its fifth year, said the supervisor.
Projects started and completed by First Wind that are transferring to the operating company include the Cohocton Wind and Steel Winds I in Lackawanna, as well as a project in Vermont and four projects in Maine, according to the release.

Source:  By Andrew Poole, The Evening Tribune, www.steubencourier.com 12 May 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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