Hydro-Quebec faces pressure to make CMP transmission line a better deal for Maine

By Fred Bever, Maine Public • November 1, 2018 7:37 pm

Some supporters of Central Maine Power’s billion dollar transmission project are looking to Canada’s Hydro-Quebec to shore up prospects for a key permit in Maine. They want the Canadian utility to contribute cash to benefit Maine electricity consumers. Governor Paul LePage’s administration may be pushing Hydro-Quebec on the point, although details of the effort are murky.

The 145-mile, high-voltage transmission line would bring electricity produced by Canada’s vast dam systems through western Maine to serve Massachusetts customers. The project needs several permits from Maine regulators, including a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

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If Mass wants to have this transmission line run through Maine, how can they refuse to allow new NATURAL GAS PIPELINES to come through their state delivering natural gas to Maine?

As Willem Post recently noted:

Importing LNG into New England, as advocated by renewable energy (RE) proponents, would be extremely unwise. Natural Gas (NG) from Pennsylvania (via pipeline) is preferred over LNG, because it:


- Requires much less source energy than LNG

- Emits much less CO2 than LNG per cubic foot, on a source energy basis

- Is domestic. Its use would not adversely affect the US trade balance

- Has 1/3 the cost of Russian/Middle East LNG, which are undesirable /unsafe suppliers 

- Requires much less capital cost to have more NG than having more LNG

- NE already has the highest electric rates in the US.

- Importing expensive LNG to generate NE electricity would worsen that condition and be a headwind against NE economic growth for decades.


Foreign nations want to move the US towards high-cost energy to make the US relatively less competitive. They want to move the US towards:


1) High-cost offshore wind (they have the most expertise in that sector and would get most of the projects)

2) High-cost solar (China has 50% of the world PV panel market) 

3) Importing LNG (mainly from Russia and the Middle East). They likely would make contributions to RE entities that advocate more LNG imports.


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Comment by John F. Hussey on November 2, 2018 at 10:11am

Be careful what you wish for!  If they bury the ENTIRE transmission lines, all would be OK. Hydro Quebec is having problems with "restless natives" that is causing problems with their expansion plans so things may not be OK with them!     

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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