Mainers dig in for a big fight over CMP’s hydro project

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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Similar coverage in the BDN

“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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and also:

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.

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Comment by Dan McKay on October 20, 2018 at 9:06am

Like it or not, Maine is a stakeholder in a regional electric network that includes all six New England States. By consumption, Maine represents 8% of total New England electrical usage.

This regional network ( ISO-NE ) is tasked with the responsibility of assuring generation is available to keep the lights on at every household, business and structure at every moment of time,
The regional network sets market rules to maintain reliability at the least expensive cost to customers. 
In the ideal scenario, the regional market does not favor any type of generation over any other type of generation. 
But. recently, certain groups have influenced the selection of generation sources by lobbying state legislators, regulators,courts and dark money.
These groups overwhelmingly favor the so-called clean generation sources, notably wind and solar. 
These groups notoriously detest natural gas, coal and oil, nuclear and, now, with the NECEC project before the PUC and the DEP, they oppose hydro.
The regional network has no choice but to act upon the reality that intermittent generation without the proper amount of active, dispatchable generation available, creates an electricity shortage. So, against it's own principle of being generation source neutral, it selects a source that can be stored and used during periods of shortage. This is oil and it will be used this winter to cover for wind, solar and the regulated constraints on natural gas. 
These acts by certain groups are socially irresponsible and will have dire consequences on the way the regional network operates and whether the lights will light at all,
The regional network is non-partisan , mercifully trying to accommodate political whims influenced by groups bent to change the energy regime at any cost or suffering it may incur.
Your lawmakers are complicit in this disaster by neglecting the people's will and needs by embracing  these groups and their lack of forward thinking.
Maine is in the center of the cross-hairs. Maine, has, by far the most wind energy generation source, the major culprit to the regional network's mission. If the regional network has to respond by making  rules recognizing the true unmarketable value of wind, will Maine be at the end of the line when electricity is rationed out by value of generation supplied ?  As I recall from the days of pick up baseball games, the poorer players were always the last selected.
Comment by Long Islander on October 20, 2018 at 12:25am

What comes next

PUC commissioners attended Wednesday's hearing along with PUC staff and a transcriptionist. The public witness hearing transcript will be publicly available in the case file (Docket No. 2017-00232), which may be accessed via the PUC's online website here.

The PUC process now moves on to hearings limited to testimony by parties and individuals who've petitioned for formal intervenor status.

Comment by Art Brigades on October 19, 2018 at 10:20am

The three groups that issued this report are all wet, and apparently wishing to return us to the Stone Age.

OK, so let's allow that NRCM, The Wind Lobby, and Sierra actually might be accurate in saying that the power line will NOT reduce emissions. So what????

Massachusetts (and the New England Grid of which Maine is a part) needs this 1200 MW of firm dispatchable electricity at a reasonable price. And New England, which over a decade, is losing at least 5000 MW of retiring power plants needs even more than this one project. That it's 1200 MW of clean - or even somewhat clean - electricity is a bonus.

These three lobbying groups know that the only choices for New England to procure this kind of scalable high-quality electricity would be:

1. Build & continuously run a coal or oil plant bigger than the old oil plant now on Cousins Island.
2. Build a nuke plant bigger than Maine Yankee
3. Build two natural gas plants bigger than the ones in Westbrook and Veazie
4. Build 50 biomass plants like the one in Stratton
5. Build 175 dams like Wyman Dam (on the Kennebec) in Moscow
6. Import the electricity by building an extension cord to someplace where the power is, like Canada

Would these three lobbying groups rather see us lighting our caves by rubbing sticks together? Surely not, but they would welcome 100 wind "farms" the size of the one in Aroostook...that's 2800 thumping blinking skyscrapers (costing many billions before the necessary power lines are built) plastered across hundreds of Maine ridge lines...2800 wind turbines that run effectively just 2 days out of 7, hence requiring one of the six options above as backup to procure 1200 MW of reliable electricity.

Lock the door to The Way Life Should Be on your way out -- no need to turn out the lights, which won't be working anyway.

Comment by arthur qwenk on October 19, 2018 at 9:54am

If wind developers  and pro - corporate wind  enviro-groups like NRCM oppose it, should anti-wind groups support it?

We know their AC wind generators would need to invert at high cost to utilize it, so the question:

A potential new corridor for wind expansion in western Maine, or a mechanism to potentially slow down wind development based on the reality of pricing?

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on October 18, 2018 at 8:00pm

Mills has released a climate plan that includes setting a goal of reducing pollution by 80 percent by 2030, and said she would focus on “prevention and mitigation. Hayes said Maine must use “tax policy to herd behavior in the direction” of mitigating climate change. Caron, who wants to make Maine energy independent within 30 years, said he would “pull people together” on the issue.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

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 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?" 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.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"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."

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