Downeast Campus of Seacoast Mission, area non-profits among recipients of Downeast Wind Community Grants

COLUMBIA, ME – May 14, 2020 – Downeast Wind and Apex Clean Energy are pleased to announce the recipients of the first round of 2020 Downeast Wind Community Grant Program funds. These funds are designed to support community organizations in the following areas: Building Healthy Communities, Economic Development, Environmental Sustainability, and Promoting Education. “Several of these organizations are moving quickly to help communities impacted by the coronavirus and adjust their operations to better serve the community safely,” said Brian O'Shea, Public Engagement Manager with Apex Clean Energy. “We are thankful to each of them for their efforts and proud to support them as they support Downeast Maine residents during this difficult time.” The Downeast Campus of the Maine Seacoast Mission received a grant in support of the organization’s Mission 2020 COVID-19 Response Project. The funds raised for this effort provide direct support to families and households in maintaining housing, transportation, and other basic needs, as well as allowing the Mission to expand services, such as offering extra days at the Weald Bethel food pantry in Cherryfield. Continue reading

Tax Increment Financing and Community Benefit Agreements Approved

In late February residents of the Town of Columbia and Washington County Commissioners each approved Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Community Benefit Agreements between the localities and Downeast Wind. These agreements not only guarantee specific amounts of revenue to local governments over the lifetime of the project, but also guard against tax shift losses, preserving state aid levels for the respective communities. Continue reading

Apex Clean Energy Announces Launch of Downeast Wind Community Grant Program

Grants will support programs and organizations serving the Town of Columbia and Washington County in the areas of public health, economic development, sustainability, and education Continue reading

County Wide News: Columbia meeting focuses on Downeast Wind project

Paul Williamson, a senior development manager with Apex Clean Energy, opens his presentation about the Downeast Wind project during a public-information meeting held at the Columbia Town Office on Wednesday, February 5. Williamson and two other specialists discussed various aspects of the $240-million, 30-turbine project proposed for Columbia and the Unorganized Territories farther north. Approximately 50 people attended the meeting. (County Wide News Photo by Brian F. Swartz) By Brian SwartzCounty Wide Free Press COLUMBIA — Their parked vehicles filling the parking lot, approximately 50 people attended a February 5 public-information meeting at the Columbia Town Office to learn the latest updates on the wind-farm proposed for central Washington County. Downeast Wind officials hosted the meeting, required by Maine law as planning proceeds on the $240-million project being undertaken by Apex Clean Energy, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The company has studied for several years the wind potential on the uplands stretching from Cherryfield and Columbia into the unorganized territories.  Downeast Wind representative Robert Gee opened the meeting at the advertised 6 p.m. and introduced Paul Williamson, a senior development manager responsible for Apex Clean Energy projects in New England and upstate New York. The Washington County project is the company’s first in Maine. Continue reading

Machias Valley News Observer: Downeast Wind TIF hearing draws crowds to county courthouse

Washington County Sheriff Barry Curtis looks on as Larry Balchen speaks in opposition to the Downeast Wind project. Balchen showed a wide-angle photo taken from Route 1 to demonstrate how far the towers might be visible on what Balchen called the “last 100 miles of undeveloped land on the eastern seaboard.” Photo by Sarah Craighead Dedmon by Sarah Craighead Dedmon Washington County Commissioner Chris Gardner opened a public hearing last week explaining what the hearing was — and was not — for. “I understand the large number of people in this room tonight is because there are some strong feelings on this subject. I want to make it clear that the commissioners are not the committee of jurisdiction for approving or disapproving this project,” said Gardner. “It’s approved or disapproved by the DEP and the LUPC.” The project in question is a 30-turbine wind farm proposed by Apex Clean Energy, to be located in Columbia and unorganized townships 18, 19 and 24. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) are responsible for permitting the project, but the commissioners called the hearing to gauge interest in creating a Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) for the portions of the farm which will stand in the unorganized territories. The town of Columbia, where Apex plans to locate eight of its 30 turbines, is considering a TIF, too. Continue reading

The Ellsworth American: Columbia wind project proposed

Columbia Wind Project Proposed January 8, 2020 by Johanna Billings, The Ellsworth American A Virginia company proposes to build 30 wind turbines on land in Columbia and the Unorganized Territory. APEX CLEAN ENERGY PHOTO COLUMBIA — The wind may be blowing a new source of power into Washington County. Apex Clean Energy, based in Charlottesville, Va., is developing plans for a wind farm in Columbia and land nearby in the Unorganized Territory, with hopes of completing the project in October 2022, said Paul Williamson, a senior development manager with the company. The project, known as Downeast Wind, is proposed for 22,000 acres in Columbia and townships 18 and 24 in the Unorganized Territory. A total of 30 wind turbines would be spread out over that area on tracts of private land for which Apex has obtained 30-year leases. The turbine hubs will stand 410 feet tall and will be 656 feet total from base to the turbine tip. Approximately eight of the turbines will be in Columbia on land located off Route 1 in the 4 Corners area. “This is a valuable investment opportunity for the area,” said Williamson, a Scarborough resident, as he sat in the company’s Columbia office last week. He said the completed project will create 10 permanent full-time jobs along with many jobs related to construction. “It’s just a huge amount of economic activity.” Continue reading

Machias Valley News Observer: Apex presents plans for $85M windmill project in Columbia, Township 19

Apex presents plans for $85M windmill project in Columbia, Township 19 by Tanya Rucosky, Machias Valley News Observer Apex Clean Energy presented its proposed Downeast Wind Project at the Columbia Town Office on December 19. Apex Energy staff made presentations regarding the environmental and economic impact the proposed turbines will have on the local communities. Senior development manager Paul Williamson explained the 130-megawatt project in Columbia and Township 19 will include 30 wind turbines. He said it will provide enough clean electricity to power 36,000 homes. Williamson gave a general overview of the project’s economic impact on Columbia and the surrounding communities. The 35 landowners who hope to host the windmills will receive over $1 million annual income from the project.  Further, the project will support the Unorganized Territory and Columbia with tax revenues of over $11.5 million during the 20-year life of the project.  All told, Apex projected over $15 million in taxes and tangible benefits will flow into the community. Another $85 million will come into the county in construction investment. Anticipating concerns about the project’s decommissioning, Williamson explained the project will be bonded from the outset to cover the cost of removal of the windmills when they reach the end of their projected operations. Continue reading

Fourth Annual Clean AIR Ball

MEDIA ADVISORY    WHO:              Downeast Wind WHAT:            Fourth Annual Clean AIR Ball WHERE:         Narraguagus Jr./Sr. High School Gym, 1611 Main Street, Harrington, Maine WHEN:            Friday, March 15, 4:00–7:45 p.m. and Saturday, March 16, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. Continue reading

Bringing economic prosperity to communities

It’s no secret that many Americans live in communities that need new economic development—we saw this play a huge role in the last election. Americans on both sides of the aisle agree that everyone should have an opportunity for economic prosperity. The path to achieving this, though, has been widely debated. Politicians have suggested increasing the minimum wage, instituting a more progressive tax code, and investing in education, to name a few ideas. Yet, most overlook the role of energy.  Read more here.  

Wind Energy Takes Flight In The Heart Of Texas Oil Country

By Ari Shapiro and Matt Ozug Heard on All Things Considered Georgetown, Texas, is a conservative town in a conservative state. So it may come as something of a surprise that it's one of the first cities in America to be entirely powered by renewable energy. Mayor Dale Ross, a staunch Republican who attended President Trump's inauguration, says that decision came down to a love of green energy and "green rectangles" — cash. When Georgetown's old power contract was up in 2012, city managers looked at all their options. They realized wind and solar power are more predictable; the prices don't fluctuate like oil and gas. So, a municipality can sign a contract today and know what the bill is going to be for the next 25 years. That's especially appealing in a place like Georgetown, where a lot of retirees live on fixed incomes. "First and foremost it was a business decision," Ross says. City leaders say the debate over renewables never even mentioned climate change, a wedge issue in Texas politics. Continue reading