Downeast Wind Project Profile
Apex Clean Energy is developing Downeast Wind, a wind energy project located in rural Washington County, Maine. Downeast Wind has 126 MW of capacity and is expected to generate enough clean, homegrown Maine energy to power more than 37,000 homes per year.
Apex has worked closely with local landowners, residents, community leaders, state agencies, and other stakeholders to design and permit a project that fits well with the surrounding community and sustains the region’s agricultural heritage, specifically wild blueberry operations.
A Clean Economic Opportunity for Washington County that Helps Meet Maine’s Energy Goals
The State of Maine has set a bold course for 80% of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2030. Downeast Wind will help meet that challenge through homegrown renewable energy, reduced emissions, and direct economic benefits for participant landowners and host communities. Representing a private investment well in excess of $235 million, Downeast Wind will benefit Washington County residents through new job creation, local purchasing of materials and services, and an increased tax base for local governments.
Local Economic Benefits
- Close to $20 million in new revenue for Columbia and Washington County from locally approved tax-increment-financing (TIF) and community benefit agreements
- New local revenue from Downeast Wind will support investments in public health, infrastructure, public safety, vocational education, small business grants, economic development, water quality, and environmental stewardship
- Over 300 construction jobs created with an additional 600+ indirect and induced jobs projected in the state of Maine
- 6 full-time local jobs for operations and maintenance
- Over $156 million in direct, indirect, and induced spending in the state of Maine during construction
- 30 years of direct income for local landowners, injecting close to $30 million dollars into Washington County’s economy to support local merchants, contractors, and equipment suppliers
Land and Environmental Stewardship
Downeast Wind has worked with leading engineers and scientists as well as public officials, landowners, residents, and sportsmen to design a project that will make efficient use of the robust wind resource while sustaining existing land uses, maintaining and expanding habitats for native species, and avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating ecological impacts wherever possible. The project will upgrade, improve and maintain roadways to and through the project area, improving access for hunters and trail users; upgraded stream crossings will promote fish passage and healthy stormwater drainage.
Why Washington County?
Washington County was selected, after a thorough examination of many candidate sites, for the following reasons:
- Verified wind resource
- Existing high-voltage power lines
- Expansive tracts of land
- Maine residents support of wind energy
Wind Energy for Rural America
The cost of wind energy has dropped more than 50% over the past five years, providing a cost-competitive source for clean electricity across the nation. Wind powers the equivalent of 32 million American homes each year. Over the past 10 years, wind energy made up about 30% of all new utility-scale generating capacity in America – making it the top source of renewable electricity in the country. Wind energy comes with many benefits, including reduced pollution, increased domestic employment, consumer cost savings, water conservation, nationwide availability, and increased community revenues. American wind energy projects pay over $900 million per year in taxes to state and local governments and over $700 million to local farmers and landowners through lease payments. Wind energy compliments working farms, because they allow for existing agricultural operations to continue around them. They also help farmers by diversifying the rural economy and providing a dependable, drought-resistant source of revenue by harvesting the wind. *
*AWEA, Wind Powers America Annual Report, April 2020
Downeast Wind plans to submit its Site Law Application for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) in 2021, which marks the starting point for several months of review of the project by state agencies and opportunities for public comment. Downeast Wind will continue working closely with state agencies and local leaders in Washington County and the Town of Columbia on various aspects of project planning and permitting before construction can commence. Anticipated start date of commercial operation is expected in 2023.