PPL to sell six Maine hydro projects to U.S. investment firm

PPL Corp. has agreed to sell the majority of its PPL Maine hydroelectric generation business to Black Bear Hydro Partners LLC, an affiliate of Boston-based energy investment firm Arclight Capital Partners LLC.

The Pennsylvania utility said July 1, 2009, that the definitive agreement calls for it to sell five wholly owned hydro projects in Maine totaling 25 MW: 8.9-MW Ellsworth (No. 2727), 2.78-MW Orono (No. 2710), 3.44-MW Medway (No. 2666), 8-MW Milford (No. 2534), and 1.95-MW Stillwater (No. 2712). It also is to sell its 50 percent ownership in the 13-MW West Enfield project (No. 2600), whose other half already is owned by Arclight affiliate Black Bear Power LLC.

The $95 million purchase price includes certain contingent consideration to be realized upon completion of PPL’s previously announced sale of three other hydro projects to Penobscot River Restoration Trust. The trust raised $25 million to acquire and remove 8-MW Veazie (No. 2403) and 8-MW Great Works (No. 2312) dams and bypass 2-MW Howland (No. 2721) to open hundreds of miles of the Penobscot River system to Atlantic salmon and other fish. The sale is pending approval by federal and state agencies. (HydroWorld 4/14/09)

PPL Corp. operates more than 12,000 MW of generating capacity of which 1,221 MW comes from hydropower in three states. (HydroWorld 6/17/09) The utility said the Maine projects have been good assets but are not core to its concentrated generation positions in the PJM (Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland) Interconnection and in the Northwest.

The sale is expected to close later this year following regulatory approvals and consents.

PPL Maine recently completed a $5.2 million project to renovate and recommission Orono, which sat idle since a 1996 penstock failure. In 2006, the company increased output of Medway, West Enfield, and Stillwater by adding flashboards to the three dams.

PPL had agreed to sell the three projects to Penobscot River Restoration Trust in exchange for agreements letting it improve its remaining hydropower projects on the river in order to retain more than 90 percent of its original generation.

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