The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) does not currently support this project because of significant concerns about the environmental impact of both the line itself and of the sources of power the line may serve. Some of our concerns stem from the fact that Central Maine Power (CMP) has not disclosed the sources of power the transmission line would serve, raising questions about whether or not the proposal would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as claimed.
In March 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and Massachusetts utilities issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for long-term contracts for clean energy generation from hydropower and/or wind or solar energy projects. A total of 46 different proposals were submitted for wind, solar, and hydropower projects. There were also bids for lengthy transmission lines from Quebec through Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire as well as some for buried transmission cables from Searsport, Maine; New Brunswick, Canada; and under Lake Champlain.
Two proposals came from Central Maine Power, including the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) transmission line, a 145-mile, high-voltage, direct current (DC) line from the Quebec-Maine border to an interconnection with the existing New England grid in Lewiston. CMP has heavily promoted the NECEC, claiming that it “provides maximum environmental and energy benefits at less cost than any competing proposal.” The company has told the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that all of the costs would be borne by Massachusetts ratepayers.
In January 2018, Massachusetts announced it had selected the Northern Pass transmission line, which would carry power from Hydro-Québec through New Hampshire. (NRCM does not have a position on the Northern Pass project; however, a wide range of environmental organizations in New Hampshire oppose it.) Given the decision by Massachusetts to select Northern Pass, it is not clear who would pay for CMP’s NECEC project if it goes forward.
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