Portland, ME – July 6, 2020 – Longroad Energy, a US-based renewable energy developer, owner and operator, and Unity College announced a partnership today through which Longroad’s Three Corners Solar project will provide $100,000 to fund faculty and student research at Unity. The College’s Unity property is located approximately five miles from the project site.
A memorandum of understanding was recently signed by Three Corners Solar and Unity College, under which the project will provide $10,000 per year for the first 10 years of the project’s operation to fund research opportunities to faculty and students in environmental science, natural resources and other related programs. Known as America’s Environmental College, Unity’s educational mission emphasizes the environment and natural resources.
“We are really pleased to be partnering with Unity College,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of Longroad Energy. “This is a great opportunity for us to provide, through the Three Corners Solar project we’re developing, meaningful support to Unity’s educational program and its mission of sustainability. We are delighted that Three Corners Solar will power opportunities for Unity students; one of the many ways this project delivers significant local benefits.”
“As America’s Environmental College, we educate the next generation of environmental leaders, who will go out into the world to change it for the better,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “Being part of such a high-profile solar project like this will not only give students real-world experience with one of the most important sustainability developments of the future, it will also open doors and give them insight into what their career paths might look like.”
Longroad is developing the 109 megawatt (ac) Three Corners Solar project in Benton, Clinton and Unity Townships in Kennebec County, Maine. The $190 million project is currently on track to start construction in 2021 with commercial operation beginning by 2022. Longroad has been in discussions with various power buyers and most recently submitted a bid to sell the output of the project through a long-term contract with Central Maine Power.
Most of the project will be located on property owned by the Bessey family, which manages it for commercial timber production and will continue to do so on the majority of the site.
“Our family has sustainably managed timberland in central Maine for more than five generations,” said Ethan Bessey, president of E D Bessey Lumber Products. “Our philosophy has always been to operate with future generations in mind, and bringing clean, renewable energy to our communities with this solar farm is in keeping with that philosophy. We are impressed with the team at Longroad and their commitment to making sure that this project has wide-reaching and direct benefits to our community.”
Using widely accepted metrics, Longroad has calculated that by reducing reliance on pollution from fossil fuel power, Three Corners Solar will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 140,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent each year over 20 years. This avoided CO2 emissions is equivalent to taking approximately 30,000 cars per year off the road for as long as the project operates.
In addition to generating new property taxes for host communities and the State of Maine, Three Corners Solar has also committed to contributing $100,000 ($5,000 per year) to local programs and charitable organizations during the 20-year operating term of the project. Upon operation, the project will also make a one-time donation of $25,000 to the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust to support funding of their land conservation and stewardship projects.
The construction of Three Corners Solar is expected to support 125 jobs and generate $20 million in direct purchases of goods and services in Maine. Once in service, it will be operated by Longroad’s operations team based in the company’s Portland office.
To date, the Longroad team has developed approximately 5,000 MW of wind and solar energy nationally, including nine wind projects in Maine totaling approximately 700 MW. The Portland office is comprised of 12 employees, most of whom are part of the company’s operations team responsible for 24/7 monitoring and management of hundreds of solar and wind projects. A majority of Longroad’s Portland employees are either Maine Maritime Academy graduates or military veterans.
About Longroad Energy Holdings, LLC
Longroad Energy Holdings, LLC is focused on renewable energy project development, operating assets, and services. Today, Longroad owns 1.1 GW of operational and under construction wind and solar projects across the United States. Its services affiliate, Longroad Energy Services, operates and manages 2.6 GW in total comprised of these projects plus 1.5 GW of wind and solar projects on behalf of third parties. Longroad is owned by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Infratil Limited, and Longroad’s management team.
About Unity College
The first institution of higher education in the nation to divest from fossil fuel investments, Unity College is changing the face of higher education. Sustainability science lies at the heart of its educational mission, offering environmentally-focused degrees on campus and online. For more information, visit unity.edu.
Heather Robb Communications
For Unity College: