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SunEdison, Summit gas investor get OK to buy Passadumkeag Wind project

PORTLAND, Maine – Developers of a 14-turbine wind farm that cleared multiple court and regulatory appeals have won approval to sell the project to renewable energy giant SunEdison and an investment group that backed Summit Natural Gas’ expansion in Maine.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the sale Tuesday.

The 40-megawatt wind project in Grand Falls Township is scheduled to begin operation in December, delivering power to the New England grid through a long-term contract with the Western Massachusetts Electric Co.

It is owned and was developed by a subsidiary of Quantum Funding LLC, which is controlled by the Houston-based Quantum Energy Partners.

FERC’s approval issued Monday would allow Quantum to transfer its interest to Passadumkeag Wind Holdings LLC, which would either be wholly owned by SunEdison or in which SunEdison would own all of the voting securities. In the second arrangement, a subsidiary of JPMorgan’s Infrastructure Investment Fund or other equity investors could indirectly own a majority stake of the project.

The Infrastructure Investment Fund, or IIF, owns the Colorado-based Summit Utilities Inc., the parent company of Summit Natural Gas of Maine.

The FERC application states neither IIF or its affiliates own other inputs to electric generation or interest in electric transmission, aside from its natural gas distribution lines operated by Summit Natural Gas of Maine in the Kennebec Valley and in the southern Maine towns of Cumberland, Yarmouth and Falmouth.

SunEdison bought First Wind for $2.4 billion in January. First Wind’s former chief development officer and past chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Kurt Adams, became the CEO of Summit Natural Gas of Maine in early October.

The Quantum Energy subsidiary said in its application for the sale submitted in late September that the deal would give SunEdison a total of 719 megawatts of generation capacity in the ISO-New England market, which amounts to about 2.3 percent of the region’s generation capacity.

The wind project was the first to be denied a permit by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, whose commissioner at the time, Patricia Aho, decided it would negatively affect the scenic character of the area, specifically around Saponac Pond.

The decision was overturned by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection. In a second appeal, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld the board’s authority to overturn the DEP denial in late October, clearing the project for development.