BANGOR (AP) – Evergreen Wind Power, which hopes to develop an energy facility in Mars Hill, has signed a deal to supply power to nearby Big Rock Ski area, the companies announced Thursday.

The ski area was sold to the nonprofit Maine Winter Sports Center in October 2000, with the assistance of Libra Foundation Grants. Maine Winter Sports Center President Andy Shepard said buying power from Evergreen could mean a savings of $25,000 to $30,000 annually.

“There are a lot of financial pressures on that mountain,” Shepard said. “Anything that can reduce the overhead makes it more likely that this is going to work.”

The Mars Hill wind farm would produce an estimated 50 megawatts of power. The project, including 33 wind turbines atop Mars Hill Mountain, would be Maine’s first wind power development.

Last week, the Board of Environmental Protection decided to allow the project, with 400-foot-high turbines, if the effects on wildlife such as birds and bats were monitored.

The company said Thursday that an application with the Maine Public Utilities Commission will be filed later this month. The company has said it intends to sell power locally and perhaps in Canada.

“As far as we know, this will be the first time that a ski area will be hard-wired to a commercial scale wind project,” Peter Gish of Evergreen Wind Power said in a statement. “This partnership will demonstrate the many benefits wind power will bring to industry in Maine.”

The company said underground cables would carry electricity from General Electric wind turbine generators atop Mars Hill Mountain to the ski area. Power would be used to operate ski lifts, snowmaking equipment and related operations, the company said.

Evergreen Wind Power, LLC was formed by the principals of UPC Wind Partners, LLC to pursue projects in Maine.

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