Facing referendum, CMP corridor backer offers to sell discounted power to Mainers

CMP contends the project would benefit Maine and the region by lowering carbon emissions, reducing fossil fuel usage and stabilizing electricity costs. But opponents say it would create environmental damage and hurt homegrown solar, wind and biomass projects in Maine.

If supported by voters in November, the referendum would order the Maine Public Utilities Commission to reverse its 2019 finding that NECEC is in the state’s best interests, with the goal of derailing the project.

A successful referendum to overturn the decision of an apolitical regulatory body would be unprecedented in Maine, and it is unclear whether such an outcome could withstand a legal challenge. Regardless of its legal standing, the question will be a strong indicator of whether Mainers feel that, all things considered, the project truly would benefit them and the state of Maine.

Staff Writer Tux Turkel contributed to this story.

Read the full article here:

https://www.pressherald.com/2020/07/10/facing-referendum-cmp-corrid...

Janet Mills signs deal with Hydro-Quebec to provide corridor electricity to Maine

“I have heard people say that the NECEC will deliver power directly to Massachusetts but not to Maine,” Mills said in a Friday statement. “With this new commitment, we ensure that Maine consumers access power directly from the line at a discounted price.”

The Democratic governor emerged last year as one of the highest-profile backers of the project, which has polled as widely unpopular in Maine and is facing a November referendum that aims to kill the corridor but is being challenged as unconstitutional by Central Maine Power and allies..........................

Friday’s announcement was praised by business, energy and labor officials who back the project. Barry Hobbins, Maine’s public advocate, said Friday that while he was occasionally asked for input, most of the negotiations were handled by Mills’ office.

He said the deal was finalized about a week ago and “ensures that Maine ratepayers will receive lower cost electricity as a result of this project” and see those benefits sooner. But skeptics of the project said the deal would do little to benefit residential ratepayers.

Read the full article here:
Governor Mills Secures Discounted Electricity for Maine from Hydro-Québec
July 10, 2020

$170 million in payments to Maine for rate relief, broadband expansion, electric vehicles, and heat pumps are also accelerated

Governor Janet Mills announced today that Hydro-Québec has signed a formal binding commitment to sell electricity directly into Maine at a discounted price via the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). The commitment will result in enough clean energy to power approximately 70,000 homes or 10,000 businesses in Maine. Additionally, as part of the commitment, Hydro-Québec will accelerate $170 million in benefits negotiated last year, including rate relief for Maine consumers and incentives for broadband, electric vehicle charging stations, and heat pumps.

Other benefits negotiated in the 2019 Stipulation approved by the Public Utilities Commission include scholarships for Maine youth, host community funds, electric grid stability and improvement, and a preference for Maine workers, among other benefits.

“I have heard people say that the NECEC will deliver power directly to Massachusetts but not to Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “With this new commitment, we ensure that Maine consumers access power directly from the line at a discounted price.”

“From supporting Maine-based union labor to contracting with Maine businesses for construction materials, the NECEC project has always been a good deal for Maine. With this new announcement, it just got even better,” said Tim Burgess, Assistant Business Manager for IBEW Local 104. “The expanded agreement doubles down on longstanding efforts to ensure this project benefits Maine. We're proud of the significant role union workers will have in building new infrastructure that will deliver discounted clean electricity to Maine’s homes and businesses, a huge win for Maine rate payers.”

“This new agreement between Governor Mills and Hydro-Québec ensures that Maine will see increased benefits from this project and all of the benefits will reach Mainers several years earlier,” said Emily Green, Senior Attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “It also reinforces the importance of coupling climate action with relief for Maine families and businesses. We look forward to working with the Administration to deliver the project’s many benefits to those who need them most.”

“I commend Governor Mills for her continued leadership and ability to secure these additional benefits for the state,” said Barry Hobbins, Maine Public Advocate. “This commitment adds to the already significant stipulation that was negotiated for this project and ensures that Maine ratepayers will receive lower cost electricity as a result of this project. Maine ratepayers will also begin to see these benefits sooner which is crucial during these challenging times.”

“The Maine State Chamber of Commerce thanks Governor Mills and Hydro-Québec for delivering energy savings for Maine’s business community and the timing of this agreement couldn’t be better for Maine as we prepare for our economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Dana Connors, President and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “Energy costs drive economic development, and this will put Maine in the driver’s seat for years to come.”

“Governor Mills has seized a tremendous opportunity for Maine to obtain far greater benefits from Hydro-Quebec,” said Robert Dorko, President of Industrial Energy Consumers Group. “Most importantly, Governor Mills has obtained a huge amount of non-fossil fuel hydroelectric energy for Maine at very low rates for a long time. This will lower costs for all while reducing climate emissions significantly. This agreement assures that NECEC will have the greatest possible benefit to Maine. Now it’s like we have our own Maine line to the largest source of carbon free electricity in North America.”

Under the commitment, Hydro-Québec will sell 500,000 megawatt (MWh) hours per year of hydroelectricity to Maine via NECEC, if permitted, at a discount of four dollars per MWh (US$4.00/MWh). To implement the commitment, the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) and Hydro-Québec will finalize either: 1) a 20 year power purchase agreement with one or more Maine Buyer(s) at the discounted price; or 2) if a power purchase agreement is not entered into, Hydro-Québec will pay a total of $40 million in installments over 20 years to an entity designated by the GEO that ensures benefits to Maine retail energy customers. The formal commitment from Hydro-Québec to the GEO is attached.

In addition to the commitment to sell power to Maine, and pending review by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Hydro-Québec has agreed to accelerate the start of payments to begin upon the issuance of final permits rather than the commercial operation date. The following are the funds to be provided by Hydro-Québec:

  • Rate Relief: $140 million in installments over forty years, which includes $90 million of rate relief for retail electricity customers within Central Maine Power service territory and $50 million for the Low-Income Customer Benefits Fund to reduce energy costs for low income customers.
  • Broadband: $10 million to capitalize a Broadband Fund to provide grants that support the implementation and maintenance of high-speed broadband infrastructure in the communities that host the transmission facilities. Payments will be made in installments over five years.
  • Heat Pumps: $10 million for the installation of high efficiency air source heat pumps, that may include targeted initiatives to reach low-and moderate-income individuals in Maine. Payments will be made in installments over five years.
  • Electric Vehicles: $10 million for the Hydro-Québec EV Fund to fund the deployment of fast charging infrastructure in Maine. Payments will be made in installments over five years.

The commitment comes after Governor Mills wrote to the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Québec on March 6, 2020, to convey that, despite NECEC’s benefits, many Maine people have expressed concern that the power to be transmitted across western Maine will go to Massachusetts and not directly to Maine consumers. The Governor expressed her desire to secure NECEC’s uncontracted power at a rate that is advantageous to Maine people. A copy of the letter is attached.

The new commitment from Hydro-Québec builds on the strong $258 million stipulation negotiated last year with several parties, including the Office of the Public Advocate and the Industrial Energy Consumer Group with the assistance of the Mills Administration, and will enhance the benefits inherent in NECEC, the construction and operation of which will:

  • provide economic development, educational scholarships, property tax payments, and the creation of more than a thousand jobs during development;
  • suppress electricity prices, deliver rate relief for Maine consumers, and strengthen the New England electric grid to avoid blackouts and brownouts, and;
  • reduce carbon emissions by as much as 3.6 million metric tons per year, or the equivalent of taking 700,000 cars off the road, according to a study commissioned by the PUC.

Furthermore, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection – through its independent permitting process – has required an unprecedented level of environmental protection and com... for the construction of NECEC, including the permanent conservation of 40,000 acres in western Maine and limiting the corridor’s width from 150 to 54 feet at its widest point in Segment 1.

Governor Mills directed the Governor’s Energy Office to sign onto the initial NECEC Stipulation in February of 2019.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEGOV/bulletins/2950a5d

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Comment by Willem Post on August 17, 2020 at 12:09pm
  • Heat Pumps: $10 million for the installation of high efficiency air source heat pumps, that may include targeted initiatives to reach low-and moderate-income individuals in Maine. Payments will be made in installments over five years.

Disgusta folks love those heat pumps

AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS IN MY HOUSE

 

Heat Pumps in Average Vermont Houses: According to the 2017 CADMUS survey:

 

- Owners of average Vermont houses typically had one heat pump with one head

- Fuel energy displaced was about 27.6%

- CO2 reduction was about 21%; including CO2 of upstream energy

- Owners had average energy cost savings of about $200/y

- Owners would have an average financial loss of about $200/y, if amortizing were included; not counting any maintenance contracts, service calls and parts. See URL and tables 5 and 6

https://publicservice.vermont.gov/sites/dps/files/documents/Energy_...

 

My House

 

I designed my house in 1986

It is well-sealed and well-insulated.

The basement is wrapped in 2” of blue board, including under the basement floor slab.

It has a Viessmann condensing furnace, wall-hung, 85 to 95% efficient.

Propane for space heating and domestic hot water is about 1200 gallon/y

 

Heat Pump System and Turnkey Capital Cost

 

The system includes 3 Mitsubishi Hyperheat heat pumps, each with 2 heads, each rated 24,000 Btu/h at 47F

These are high-quality, high-performance units

Kitchen: 1 head @ 15,000 Btu/h,

Upstairs master bedroom: 1 head @ 9,000 Btu/h
Living/dining room: 2 heads @ 18,000 Btu/h;

Upstairs bedrooms: 1 head each @ 6,000 Btu/h

 

The quote for the turnkey system was $24,300, or $8,100 per 2-head heat pump.

GMP and EV provided total subsidies of about $3,000; net capital cost $21,300

It was a total sticker shock!

The prices were much higher than on the VT-DPS, VPIRG, GMP and EV websites

 

NOTE: Average turnkey costs of one-head heat pumps are about $6,100/heat pump in South Burlington, Winooski and Colchester, Vermont. That cost is greater than mentioned on VT-DPS, VPIRG, GMP and EV websites. See URL

https://www.manta.com/cost-heat-pump-burlington-vt

 

Annual Energy Cost Savings

 

The heat pumps use an additional 8,000 kWh/y, at a cost of about $1,600/y
GMP loves me for buying all that electricity, some of it expensively generated with solar panels in Vermont. 

Displaced propane is about 800 gallon/y, costing about $1,600/y (at present), i.e., no energy cost savings.
The other 400 gallon is used by the furnace to provide heat for:

 

1) Domestic hot water, about 150 gallon
2) Space heating during the colder days of the year, say -10 to 10 F, about 250 gallon:

 

- Heat pump output would be about 3 x 12,000 = 36,000 Btu/h, which would be inadequate to heat my house.

- The COP would be about 1.1 or 1.2 (adjusted downward for defrost cycles).

- That would be similar to heating my house with electric heat

- I turn off the heat pumps at about 10 to 15F, and use my traditional propane system.

 

CO2 Reduction Much Less Than 4.111 Mt/y Claimed by EAN

 

CO2 from propane = 800 gallon x 12.69 lb CO2e/gal, combustion = 10,152 lb CO2/y; upstream not included

CO2 of electricity, NE grid = 8000 kWh x 276 g CO2/kWh x 1/454 g/lb = 4,863 lb CO2/y; upstream not included

CO2 reduction due to heat pumps = 5,289 lb/y, or 2.400 Mt/y. See table A

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/response-to-energy-acti...

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-03/documents/emissi...

 

Heat Pumps Financial Losers for Almost all Vermonters

 

Heat pumps are expected to have a useful service life of about 15 years
Amortizing $24,300 at 3.5% for 15 year would require payments of $2,058.86 per year

That is equal to about 75% of my current annual propane cost!

 

Heat pumps, even in my energy-efficient house, make no financial sense, if amortizing is included.

However, my wife, 77, has heart issues; she can’t take the heat.

Now, I have two heating systems, each being amortized, and each with an annual service contract, and no energy cost savings.

 

BTW, I also have two propane stoves in the basement. They require no electricity and prevent the house from freezing, in case of a power failure.

 

NOTE: VPIRG, EV, GMP, VT-DPS, VT-PUC, EAN, VELCO, VEIC, and especially Legislators and Vermonters, and folks in Maine, should note these numbers, because tens of thousands of Vermont households will be mandated to do the same, per beyond-rational GWSA.

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on July 13, 2020 at 9:42pm

It seems the one thing no one is talking about is in fact 7/8ths of this power line corridor already exists, there is only 53 miles that is new and a good portion of that is in Canada. There is no reason when/if we get a sane governor and legislature that wants to help all Mainers that the deal can be renegotiated for greater amount of low cost electricity.

Comment by Willem Post on July 13, 2020 at 6:13am

The capacity of the new 1200 MW transmission line, NECEC, is about 9.45 million MWh per year.

Massachusetts contracted to buy that quantity of STEADY electricity from HQ for about 4.5 to 5 c/kWh.

 

STEADY HQ electricity is about 98% hydro, which has about 10 to 20 gr. of CO2/kWh.

VARIABLE, INTERMITTENT wind electricity has more CO2/kWh and costs at least 2.5 times as much.

The NE wholesale price of electricity has averaged less than 5 c/kWh, starting in 2009, 11 years.

 

Massachusetts relinquished 500,000 MWh of its contracted supply, 5.3%, so HQ could offer it as a political bribe to Maine at 4 c/kWh in addition to $170 million for various state government purposes.

 

Rate relief $140 million; $90 million for retailers who are Central Maine Power customers (other retailers get nothing), $50 million for  weatherizing for low-income folks; regular-income Mainers will not see one penny

 

Broadband expansion $10 million for nearby communities impacted by NECEC

 

Subsidies for heat pumps, $10 million for low-income folks. Such folks usually live in energy-hog houses and heat pumps are MONEY LOSERS in energy-hog houses, as proven by a survey in Vermont.

 

Subsidies for electric vehicles, $10 million for fast chargers

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/electric-vehicles-compa...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-o...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/vermont-co2-reduction-o...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-proper-basis-for-ca...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/comparison-of-tesla-mod...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-savings-of-air-sou...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-na...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-more-wind-and-solar...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-demand-and-low-win...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/analysis-of-a-6-day-lul...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/electric-cars-lose-rang...

Comment by Art Brigades on July 12, 2020 at 11:15pm

Mr. Littlefield, you are correct.  

It's ok to be anti-wind, anti-nuke, anti-solar, etc.  But if you are a normal person living in the 21st century, you cannot be anti-electricity.

The Stratton biomass plant that NRCM denounces because it burns stuff?  You'd need approximately 50 more Strattons to deliver what NECEC will deliver. 

The dam on the Penobscot River in Veazie (that NRCM fought so hard to remove) would need to be replicated 700 times. 

Listen to James Labrecque here where he says if NRCM wants to buy solar panels instead of NECEC, they'll get power only 15% of the time at best, they'll spend $19 billion, and the panels lined up end-to-end would stretch clear around the globe...some 25,000 miles. A bit more "destruction" than a 150 mile tree cutting. 

https://www.wvomfm.com/episode/ghrt-rewind-07-08-jim-labrecque-cms-...

Comment by Willem Post on July 12, 2020 at 6:42pm

Dan McKay,

The 225 MW, HVDC line stops just inside the border of Vermont, at a DC to AC conversion station, then connected to the existing NE grid.

Vermont utilities buy from HQ about 1.4 million MWh per year, at about 5.6 c/kWh, for 20 years.

I am very much in favor of HQ electricity 

Maine should have contracted for 50% of that line, at say 5.5 c/kWh

That would have been a major, long term, boost for the Maine economy, instead of screwing around with expensive wind at 10 c/kWh, and even more expensive midday solar at 18 to 20 c/kWh, and EVs, heat pumps, etc.

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on July 11, 2020 at 3:05pm

Those that talk about the destruction of wilderness, when compared to the blight of hundreds to thousands of wind turbines it is miniscule. And supplies hundreds of times more power. I can't comprehend the angst about this powerline as we watch Maine's mountains being destroyed for so little value. Has the big oil and big wind money clouded judgement? Please clarify if I missed something, I try to look at both sides and the amount of power may be less than you want but it could save countless mountains from being forever scarred by wind turbines.

Comment by Art Brigades on July 11, 2020 at 9:12am

A small power line like this one comes with very little environmental damage, and nearly imperceptible visual damage, especially compared to massive lighted kinetic wind turbines. In terms of electricity delivery, it's equivalent to 2300 of the turbines you see at Rollins, Mars Hill, Stetson, etc. 

Comment by Dan McKay on July 11, 2020 at 7:23am

Willem Post, doesn't Vermont have a transmission line delivering Hydro-Quebec power to the New England grid through Vermont lands under a power purchase contract for a set price which is settled up in the New England ISO-NE wholesale market ?

Didn't you commend this agreement as cost effective for Vermont customers ?

The amount of land in Maine dedicated for NECEC could proportionally be about the same as the Vermont land for contracted Hydro-Quebec energy.

How much does Vermont pay for H-Q power ?

Who pays the wholesale settlement difference when the wholesale prices are lower than the VT/H-Q contracted price ?

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on July 10, 2020 at 9:52pm
I am with mr post.. ruin Maine for pitiful little energy
Comment by Willem Post on July 10, 2020 at 3:38pm

The line capacity is 1200 MW

It will deliver 700,000 MWh/y to Maine, and about 8,700,000 MWh/y to Massachusetts 

Maine is getting less than 10% of the electricity, but 100% of the environmental/visual damage

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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

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

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(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 https://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?" https://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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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