The events set the stage for the first of four meetings starting Friday at the Maine Public Utilities Commission, one of the regulators that must approve the New England Clean Energy Connect project.
“The hearings that start Friday are to hear from and ask questions of the witnesses from the parties in the case,” said Harry Lanphear, the commission’s administrative director. The witnesses and intervenors formally applied for standing to comment during the case and present information for the commissioners to consider as they weigh whether to approve the $950 million project.
CMP to bury proposed transmission line under Kennebec Gorge
Avoiding an aerial crossing of the river addresses the concerns of Maine’s environmental regulators, local communities and other stakeholders, CMP said. The company says it plans to use horizontal directional drilling to “preserve the scenic and recreational value” of the gorge.
In June, CMP said burying the line would add $37 million to the $950 million project. It’s unclear what kind of regulatory approvals would be needed to bury the line under the riverbed.
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“Maine and the region will benefit immensely from the New England Clean Energy Connect, so we are changing our proposal to address a key concern of state environmental regulators,” said Doug Herling, president and CEO of Central Maine Power. “This has always been under consideration. We believe this change may also encourage stronger support from those who appreciate the project’s benefits, but want to preserve the commercial and aesthetic value of the river as well.”
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Maine wind developers' supporters say CMP power line wouldn’t help environment
An analysis concludes the transmission line through western Maine would only redirect existing hydroelectricity, not reduce carbon emissions......The analysis was conducted by the consulting firm Energyzt Advisors of Boston, on behalf of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Sierra Club and the Maine Renewable Energy Association.