Gov LePage: Maine Has an Exciting Opportunity To Reduce Energy Costs

Radio Address: Maine Has an Exciting Opportunity To Reduce Energy Costs

May 17, 2018

I have been talking about the need to reduce energy prices for nearly eight years. Maine is a manufacturing state, and high energy prices have a direct and negative affect on the cost of doing business and the ability to create good-paying jobs.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

Central Maine Power Company won the proposal to create a transmission line to deliver electricity from renewal energy sources from Quebec to the State of Massachusetts. So my administration is now seeking input from experts on how we can benefit from this new era in Maine energy policy and options.

CMP’s transmission line is Maine’s first direct high-voltage electric interconnection with Quebec, which is good news. But the selection process that chose CMP’s transmission line also included several other transmission and energy supply proposals within or close to Maine.

These proposals could also benefit our state.

Maine already exports more electricity than we consume, and our state is easily self-reliant when it comes to electricity. Nearly all of our electricity is produced from renewable and lower-carbon sources. But other New England states have yet to achieve these results.

As states to our south increasingly look to Maine and Canada to meet their renewable energy and low-carbon needs, Maine’s opportunities and responsibilities increase, along with energy prices.

We need to find ways to lower energy costs for Mainers.

So I am directing the Governor’s Energy Office to work with the Public Utilities Commission and the Public Advocate to report on the issues Maine should consider in this changing energy world and look toward ways to make Maine’s energy competitive.

I also ask Maine’s electric utilities, gas companies and consumer electricity groups to identify how we can reduce our energy costs and improve the lives of Maine citizens. Our goal is to reduce the costs of electricity for our ratepayers.

We are inviting input from regional, state and international organizations that deal with electricity and energy supply and reliability. These entities include ISO-New England, Northern Maine Transmission Corporation and North American Electric Regulatory Council.

We want to determine the possible efficiencies and benefits, especially reduced cost to ratepayers, that can be gained by a greater electrical integration of Maine with our neighboring Canadian provinces.

We also want to identify any obstacles to creating a more integrated electricity system between Maine and our neighboring Canadian provinces. For instance, there may be existing cross-border institutions, trade agreements or other mechanisms that could facilitate such improved integration.

We also need to determine how Canada can assist in the supply of natural gas to Maine. Massachusetts is blocking our ability to increase natural gas capacity to Maine.

If we cannot get more natural gas from the south, we should look to our neighbors to the north and the ocean to the east.

Thank you for listening.

http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Gov_Radio_Addre...

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Comment by Eskutassis on May 19, 2018 at 7:02am

Our primary energy bill we have to reduce is heat for our homes and businesses, and that can not be achieved with electricity. It's obvious we will not get a gas line through Mass with their insane energy policies, so bringing NG from Canada would be a plus, even if it would be a little more expensive than Pennsylvania NG. Certainly it would be a shorter run. And as far as cutting a swath of trees for a Transmission Line from Quebec Hydro to Massachusetts? Forget it. Our trees are more important to Mainers than Massachusetts is. ISONE is a cooperative between the New England states, and thus far we have seen no cooperation from Mass. 

I believe they need the same treatment we get from them. NH and VT have turned them down and we should too.

Comment by Penny Gray on May 18, 2018 at 7:03am

If we can't get natural gas through Massachusetts, why give them hydro through Maine?

Comment by Dan McKay on May 18, 2018 at 5:18am

Right on !

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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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