IBEW Supports the New England Clean Energy Connect

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers announce their support for the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) power line from Québec to Maine. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts selected Central Maine Power Company’s proposed NECEC to provide clean, dependable hydroelectric power to Massachusetts consumers in support of the state’s environmental goals under its Global Warming Solutions Act. The IBEW welcomes the opportunities the project will create for its members during construction and for the lasting contribution to economic growth and higher employment throughout the region. 

“Our organization believes everyone benefits from investments in our energy infrastructure,” said Michael Monahan, Vice President of IBEW Second District. “The NECEC will offer good opportunities for our members with nearly 1,600 construction jobs during the peak years of work. With the additional management and professional jobs, plus indirect and induced employment, the project will support more than 3,000 jobs. Those will be especially welcome in the rural towns of western Maine.” 

The New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project was selected from among 46 projects offered to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in response to a 2017 Request for Proposals to provide up to 9.45 terawatt hours of clean energy annually for up to 20 years for Massachusetts utility customers. The NECEC includes the construction of a 150-mile, 230 KV Direct Current transmission line from the western Maine border with Québec to Central Maine Power’s Larrabee Road substation in Lewiston, Maine, and the construction of approximately 50 miles of 115,000 KV and 345,000 KV AC transmission lines in Maine. The project also includes the construction of what will be Maine’s first stations to convert direct current energy to alternating current to tie into the New England grid. 

CMP has filed for all state and federal permits for the $950 million project. The company expects to receive all the necessary permits to allow for a start of construction by third quarter 2019. The project is scheduled for completion by December 2022. The project has strong support from the host communities in Maine due in part to the benefits for Maine workers, communities, and utility consumers. CMP also recently completed the Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP), a $1.4 billion upgrade to the company’s bulk power grid in Maine. The MPRP produced broad benefits for workers and communities in Maine, which contributes to the support for the New England Clean Energy Connect project within the state.

AVANGRID Subsidiary Central Maine Power Chosen in Bid to Deliver Clean Energy to New England Grid

Massachusetts agrees to the company’s New England Clean Energy Connect from among 46 proposals as the sole solution in Commonwealth’s clean energy initiative

AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a diversified energy company, and its subsidiary Central Maine Power Company (CMP) today confirmed that the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) transmission project will advance as the sole clean energy solution in the Massachusetts Green Communities Act Section 83D RFP for long-term contracts for clean energy projects after the Massachusetts electric distribution companies terminated the conditional selection of the Northern Pass Transmission proposal.

“We are grateful to Governor Baker, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, DOER Commissioner Judith Judson, and the Massachusetts legislature for their resourcefulness and vision in passing a clean energy law that will allow every resident in the Commonwealth to benefit from clean renewable energy resources,” said James P. Torgerson, chief executive officer of AVANGRID. “The NECEC will supply renewable energy to Massachusetts for twenty years, and it will continue to deliver benefits for New England consumers for decades beyond. It is another example of how the AVANGRID companies are providing effective solutions to the region’s complex energy challenges. We are committed to investing in clean energy infrastructure, and delivering on the promise of the NECEC proposal.”

CMP proposed the $950 million NECEC in a joint bid with Hydro-Québec for a twenty-year contract to deliver renewable energy from Québec to the New England grid in response to the 83D Clean Energy RFP. Massachusetts invited CMP to begin negotiations with the electric utilities in February as an alternate selection to ensure the state could meet the schedule in the 83D process. The distribution companies require that all necessary agreements be finalized and executed as soon as possible, and will continue contract negotiations with the NECEC project to achieve this conclusion. If acceptable contract terms for the NECEC proposal are agreed upon, those agreements are anticipated to be filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities by the April 25, 2018 date stipulated in the 83D RFP.

“Our applications for state and federal permits continue to move forward with the strong support of communities and stakeholders in Maine,” said Doug Herling, president and chief executive officer of Central Maine Power. “We believe the NECEC is a cost-effective response to Massachusetts’ needs. CMP has successfully built other large scale projects here in our home state, so we’re confident we can meet our commitments to the Commonwealth.”

The New England Clean Energy Connect includes a 1200 megawatt high-voltage direct current transmission line linking the electrical grids in Québec and New England. Host communities in western Maine will see direct economic gains from the investment and share in the regional benefits of lower energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Maine county and municipal officials, business leaders, and policymakers have given strong support for the project. CMP submitted applications for all state and federal permits in mid-2017. The company expects to receive state approvals later this year and final federal permits in early 2019. More information about the NECEC is available on the New England Clean Energy Connect website.

“The NECEC will deliver a reliable, firm supply of clean energy to dampen seasonal price instability when high demand puts pressure on natural gas supplies,” said Bob Kump, president and chief executive officer of Avangrid Networks, Inc., AVANGRID’s utility holding company and parent corporation of CMP. “We appreciate the opportunity to advance cost-effective solutions for the benefit of the Commonwealth’s energy consumers and the region.”

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Central Maine Power Transmission Proposal Selected as Solution for Massachusetts Clean Energy Initiative

The New England Clean Energy Connect will advance as the alternative if the Northern Pass Transmission project fails to secure its New Hampshire permit by March 27

AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a diversified energy company, and its subsidiary Central Maine Power Company (CMP) today confirmed that the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) transmission project has been selected by the Massachusetts electric utilities and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources in the Commonwealth’s 83D clean energy Request for Proposal (RFP) to move forward as the alternative if the Northern Pass Transmission project fails to win approval from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee by March 27, 2018.

CMP proposed the $950 million NECEC in a joint bid with Hydro-Québec to deliver renewable energy from Québec to the New England grid in response to the RFP.  CMP intends to continue all aspects of permitting and planning for the NECEC to meet our proposed in-service date. CMP will also immediately begin negotiation of long-term contracts with the state’s electric distribution companies to prepare for a submission to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in April 2018.

“Our applications for state and federal permits are moving forward with the strong support of communities and stakeholders in Maine,” said Doug Herling, president and chief executive officer of Central Maine Power. “We believe the NECEC is a cost-effective response to Massachusetts’ needs, and given our experience building projects of greater scale and complexity here in our home state, we’re confident we can meet our commitments to the Commonwealth.”

CMP’s proposed NECEC includes a 145-mile transmission line linking the electrical grids in Québec and New England. The project will add 1,200 megawatts of transmission capacity to supply New England with power from reliable hydroelectric generation. Host communities in western Maine will see direct economic gains from the investment and share in the regional benefits of lower energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Maine county and municipal officials, business leaders, and policymakers have given strong support for the project. CMP submitted applications for all state and federal permits in mid-2017. The company expects to receive state approvals later this year and final federal permits in early 2019. More information about the NECEC is provided in the attached materials.

“CMP proposed a cost effective transmission solution, and paired it with a strong proposal for clean energy from Hydro-Québec," said Jim Torgerson, chief executive officer of AVANGRID. “This project is another example of how the AVANGRID companies are providing effective solutions to timely and complex regional energy challenges. AVANGRID is committed to investing in the region’s clean energy infrastructure, and delivering on the promise of the NECEC proposal.”

 “A new transmission link between Maine and Québec would deliver a reliable, firm supply of clean energy to help dampen seasonal price instability when high demand puts pressure on natural gas supplies,” said Bob Kump, president and chief executive officer of Avangrid Networks, Inc., AVANGRID’s utility holding company and parent corporation of CMP. “We appreciate the opportunity to advance reliable, cost-effective solutions for the benefit of the Commonwealth’s energy consumers and the region. We also thank Governor Baker, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, DOER Commissioner Judith Judson, and the Massachusetts legislature for their resourcefulness and vision in passing a clean energy law that will allow every resident in the Commonwealth to benefit from clean renewable energy resources.”

 

Doug Herling Named President and CEO of Central Maine Power

Central Maine Power Co. (CMP), an indirect subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a diversified energy and utility company, has announced that Douglas Herling, formerly vice president of Electric Operations, has been selected to replace Sara Burns as President and Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Burns retired from the company at the end of 2017.

Herling joined CMP in 1985, and has held various executive management positions at Avangrid Networks and CMP, including vice president, Special Projects, where he oversaw construction of the Maine Power Reliability Program, a $1.4 billion transmission and substation upgrade program in Maine. Prior to that, he served as vice president, Engineering & Asset Management (2009 - 2010); and vice president, Field Operations (2001 - 2009).

Herling is a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering. 

“Doug has a tremendous wealth of experience in all aspects of utility operations, including engineering, customer service, construction, and safety,” said Robert Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks. “I am confident he will provide strong leadership in his new role as Central Maine Power’s president and CEO.”

“As a lifelong Mainer, I am both thrilled and honored to assume leadership of this great company. We have some of the best, hardest working, and highly respected employees in the industry, and I couldn’t be more proud to lead this team,” said Herling. “I look forward to continuing our mission to deliver safe, reliable energy to customers and to build upon the many successes CMP has already achieved in more than a century of service to Maine consumers.”

Clean energy collaboration to include Avangrid, UMass Lowell

Read the full article here.

A new research partnership between Avangrid (NYSE:AGR), its subsidiary Central Maine Power and UMass Lowell will expand the use of clean-energy technology, benefitting consumers, students and the environment.

The collaboration, announced today, will bring together researchers from the company and the university to advance the development and implementation of clean energy technologies over the next decade. This includes hydropower, wind energy, power grids, energy storage and data sciences, as well as other technology innovations.

UMass Lowell students – from those seeking bachelor’s degrees all the way to doctoral candidates – will also benefit from the partnership, which calls for them to participate in on-campus research and for CMP to explore opportunities for co-ops, internships and fellowships. The partners will also present joint conferences and workshops for researchers from across the clean-energy field.

“Through this new partnership, UMass Lowell’s world-class faculty will be able to lend their expertise to an important effort to expand clean energy in the Commonwealth and beyond. This project will also create new opportunities for UMass Lowell students at all levels to gain valuable experience to complement what they learn in the classroom,” said Julie Chen, UMass Lowell vice chancellor for research and innovation.

“Our companies are deeply invested in finding and delivering solutions to environmental challenges linked to the way we generate and distribute energy,” said Bob Kump, president and CEO of Avangrid Networks, CMP’s parent company. “Our collaboration with UMass Lowell is one more way we can accelerate innovation and the development of technology to expand the range of solutions to today’s environmental challenges.”

CMP has proposed to construct and operate the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), a transmission project in Maine that is poised to deliver abundant supplies of clean, large-scale hydropower energy from eastern Canada into the New England region while saving Massachusetts consumers more than $2 billion in costs over the 20-year contract for energy.

CMP and the university will explore a number of funding and collaboration opportunities. These include, should the NECEC project move forward, annual grants to the university of at least $200,000 per year to support the initiatives pursued by the research partnership and an additional $300,000 to match research funding from the state or federal government, industry, nonprofits or private donors.

CMP serves more than 600,000 customers in central and southern Maine. The research partnership with UMass Lowell is the first for the company in Massachusetts and could be expanded to other campuses in the UMass system.

“We look forward to expanding our relationships with new partners in New England,” said Doug Herling, president and CEO of Central Maine Power, a subsidiary of Avangrid. “Our companies in Maine and across the U.S. depend on colleges and universities to help shape the workforce and the technology we need for our industry.”

“We are excited to collaborate with CMP to develop new and emerging technologies that will help drive down the cost of energy while making it cleaner and more accessible than ever before,” said Prof. Christopher Niezrecki, chairman of UMass Lowell’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of the National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Center on Wind Energy.

 

Maine Voices: Maine will win when New England Clean Energy Connect comes online

The CMP project is a well-designed and cost-effective path to New England's clean-energy future.

Read the full article here.

Maine has a longstanding and deserved reputation for both industrial innovation and for natural beauty. We have long been known for integrity, creative minds and hard work, high-quality goods, great customer service and outstanding natural resource management. Today, we are on the threshold of yet another, exceptional contribution to Maine’s and the region’s well-being. It is known as Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect, a well-designed and cost-effective path to New England’s clean-energy future.

Over the course of some years, CMP has assembled a strategic transmission corridor from the Canadian border down to Lewiston, the major energy hub for our state and our gateway to the New England electric grid. CMP’s proposed corridor would be a resource from which all of Maine may benefit, as it provides a steady supply of clean, reliable hydropower from Quebec to all New England. This power will displace older and soon-to-retire fossil fuel generation, making the air cleaner for everyone and helping to stabilize our energy prices.

As former Maine commissioners of conservation, concerned with both Maine’s economy and environment, we are struck by three things about this project:

 It is a cost-effective transmission solution.

 It is thoughtfully sited and environmentally responsible, as it runs through commercial forest before hooking into an existing transmission corridor.

 It offers needed benefits to Maine and the rest of New England.

New England Clean Energy Connect will tap into existing infrastructure and leverage recent investments in Lewiston for which ratepayers from all across New England have paid. It diversifies the use of Maine’s working forest west of The Forks before it connects to the existing transmission corridor from The Forks to Lewiston, where it in turns connects to the New England power grid. Unlike similar and much more costly proposals in New Hampshire and Vermont, New England Clean Energy Connect avoids environmentally sensitive areas such as a national forest or one of the region’s largest water bodies. And it is projected to cost much less to build than other transmission proposals.

The cost advantage of New England Clean Energy Connect is important. If cleaner, greener energy options are to succeed in today’s world, they must be cost-competitive and affordable to utility customers. With such careful siting and the use of infrastructure already in place, this project will allow the region’s clean-energy priority to be realized both affordably and efficiently.

Beyond its regional promise, the benefits specific to Maine from New England Clean Energy Connect will be substantial. As the result of careful negotiation with local industry leaders, the project will boost the economy of western Maine and help the state’s nature-based tourism industry. It will support thousands of jobs over a five-year permitting and construction period and contribute millions of dollars in new, annual tax revenue to many of the rural towns in Somerset, Franklin and Androscoggin counties.

It will result in more than $40 million in savings each year in electric rates for Maine households and businesses. And there are the very real environmental benefits associated with a major project like this one. Not only will the New England region breathe cleaner air, but the CMP project will have less environmental impact than other proposed projects.

Energy is the backbone of the modern economy, and electric power is essential to our daily lives. When without it, as many of us have been of late, we are quickly reminded of its critical importance. The addition of new, clean generation capacity – whether it’s hydropower, wind and solar, or battery storage – is an essential step in securing a brighter future for our children and grandchildren, for all our cities and towns.

Maine has valuable energy resources to contribute to a cleaner energy future, including the New England Clean Energy Connect proposal to link the vast hydro resources of nearby Canada with the New England energy market. Maine, Massachusetts, and all of New England will win when New England Clean Energy Connect comes online and delivers needed, clean energy to our region.

Let’s add to Maine’s reputation for industrial invention and wise natural resource management.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Richard Anderson and Richard Barringer are both former Maine conservation commissioners and residents of Portland.

Central Maine Power and the New England Clean Energy Connect Reach Milestone in Support from Maine host communities

County and municipal officials in communities hosting 95% of the corridor and related facilities have provided letters of support

Central Maine Power (CMP), a subsidiary of diversified energy and utility company AVANGRID (NYSE: AGR), recently received a resounding vote of support for the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) from the Somerset County Board of Commissioners, key stakeholders who represent 16 towns, townships, and plantations in western Maine that would host 90 miles of transmission line for the project.

“To date, Central Maine Power has received letters of support from the overwhelming majority of communities that will host the New England Clean Energy Connect,” said Bob Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks. “We selected a route that would be compatible with surrounding land uses from the outset to minimize impacts on communities and sensitive environmental resources. Massachusetts utility customers can be confident Maine communities support the NECEC for the economic and environmental benefits it will provide to all New England utility customers. With their support, we can keep the NECEC more affordable, and it will help the project move expeditiously through permitting and construction.”

Central Maine Power has now received endorsements from the Androscoggin, Franklin, and Somerset county commissions plus municipal boards representing towns that would host 95% of the corridor and facilities for the NECEC.

In their letter of support, the Somerset County commissioners noted that “…the NECEC will provide a boost to the region’s tax base while reducing energy prices. This makes it an extremely important project for both residents and businesses alike in the region. It is for these factors that we are pleased to lend our support and make this endorsement of the New England Clean Energy Connect. No other project comes close to minimizing the environmental impact on our land while maximizing economic benefits for the region.”

CMP proposed the New England Clean Energy Connect in response to a Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP. Since unveiling the plan last summer, the company’s proposal has also received wide support from business leaders and economic development agencies representing western Maine communities.

“CMP has been a great partner in the collaborative development of NECEC,” said Heather Johnson, director of Somerset Economic Development Corporation.

The company continues its outreach to communities and stakeholders about the benefits of the project. A complete list of communities and organizations supporting the project is available on the project website at www.necleanenergyconnect.org. The NECEC is on track to complete most state and federal permitting reviews this year.

The 1,200 MW NECEC would provide the largest transmission capacity among three competing proposals to tap the Canadian hydropower resources of Hydro Québec and offer a substantial savings over the competitors’ reported costs of $1.6 billion compared to $950 million for the NECEC.

“With Central Maine Power as their clean energy transmission partner, Massachusetts utilities would get the maximum environmental and energy benefits for their customers at the lowest cost,” said Kump. “We can provide a clean energy solution that is good for consumers and the economy, too.

NECEC proposal will deliver a larger volume of clean renewable energy at lower costs in part by leveraging the Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP), a $1.4 billion power grid infrastructure investment completed in 2015. CMP is the only proponent in the Massachusetts RFP process that has recently completed a transmission project of the scale and complexity of the MPRP on-time and on-budget.

The Massachusetts’ Clean Energy RFP is part of a broader effort to reduce the state’s energy costs, ensure a reliable electricity grid, and meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) requirements. Under the terms of the RFP, projects will only be considered if they include “significant cost containment features” to protect Massachusetts ratepayers and if they “ensure that transmission cost overruns, if any, are not borne by ratepayers.” To address this, NECEC will provide transmission services at a long-term fixed price providing much needed market certainty.

CMP touts $950M bid as best deal among clean energy bidders

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Central Maine Power revealed Wednesday its previously undisclosed bid price for delivering 1,200 megawatts of clean energy to Massachusetts, stating the $950 million New England Clean Energy Connect project would save Bay State ratepayers more than $600 million in construction and related costs compared to the reported costs of competing projects.

"The NECEC is the only proposal capable of firm delivery of 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy that provides maximum environmental and energy benefits at less cost than any competing proposal," CMP stated in its news release. "The transmission project has received wide support from host communities and business leaders in Maine, and is on track to receive necessary state and federal permitting reviews in 2018."

Bob Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks (NYSE: AGR), said NECEC would deliver "up to 20% more clean energy for the region's utility customers with lower construction costs than any of the competing proposals that are interconnecting with Hydro-Quebec."

In a Q&A with Mainebiz earlier this fall, CMP President and CEO Sara Burns said the company's proposal to tap more than 1,000MW of hydropower from Hydro-Quebec was one of three bids submitted to the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP involving Hydro-Quebec.

Central Maine Power Clean Energy RFP transmission proposal will save Bay State ratepayers more than $600 million in construction costs over competing proposals

 The 1,200 megawatt New England Clean Energy Connect would deliver more renewable energy and more clean air benefits for Massachusetts than any other project in the Clean Energy RFP

AUGUSTA, Maine, December 6, 2017 – Central Maine Power (CMP), a subsidiary of diversified energy and utility company AVANGRID (NYSE: AGR), today announced that the $950 million New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), would save Massachusetts utility customers more than $600 million dollars in construction and related costs over the reported costs of competing projects, which are as much as 60 percent higher. 

The NECEC is the only proposal capable of firm delivery of 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy that provides maximum environmental and energy benefits at less cost than any competing proposal. The transmission project has received wide support from host communities and business leaders in Maine, and is on track to receive necessary state and federal permitting reviews in 2018. 

“The New England Clean Energy Connect will deliver up to 20% more clean energy for the region’s utility customers with lower construction costs than any of the competing proposals that are interconnecting with Hydro-Québec,” said Bob Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks. 

NECEC (1200 MW) is 20% larger than TDI New England’s New England Clean Power Link through Vermont (1,000MWs) and 10% larger than Eversource’s proposed Northern Pass project in New Hampshire (1090MW). 

“Given our unique advantages to control costs and to leverage recent investments in the New England grid, we can deliver the largest infusion of Canadian energy into the region’s energy supply for everyone to share in the environmental and economic benefits,” said Sara Burns, President and CEO of Central Maine Power. 

The NECEC proposal will deliver a larger volume of clean renewable energy at lower costs in part by leveraging the recently completed Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP), a $1.4 billion power grid infrastructure investment paid for by ratepayers from across New England. 

CMP is the only proponent in the Massachusetts RFP process that has recently completed a transmission project of the scale and complexity of the Maine Power Reliability Program on-time and on-budget. 

The Massachusetts’ Clean Energy RFP is part of a broader effort to reduce the state’s energy costs, ensure a reliable electricity grid, and meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) requirements. Under the terms of the RFP, projects will only be considered if they include “significant cost containment features” to protect Massachusetts ratepayers and if they “ensure that transmission cost overruns, if any, are not borne by ratepayers.” To address this, NECEC will provide transmission services at a long-term fixed price providing much needed market certainty. 

Acting as “battery storage” for New England, NECEC will deliver firm power from Hydro-Québec, even during peak winter months when energy supply prices are most volatile and intermittent resources are not as reliable. 

NECEC also released a project video detailing all of the benefits the project provides for Massachusetts and Maine electricity customers. Go to: www.necleanenergyconnect.com for more information. 

About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a diversified energy and utility company with more than $31 billion in assets and operations in 27 states. The company owns regulated utilities and electricity generation assets through two primary lines of business, Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks is comprised of eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving approximately 3.2 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables operates more than 6 gigawatts of owned and controlled renewable generation capacity, primarily through wind and solar, in 22 states across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,800 people. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com. 

About CMP: Central Maine Power Company (CMP) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR). As Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility, CMP serves 619,000 homes and businesses, representing about 80% of Maine’s customer base. J.D. Power and Associates has ranked the company #1 in customer satisfaction seven times. For more information, visit www.cmpco.com.

CMP ready to flow: New England Clean Energy Connect bid includes 1,200 MW of power from Hydro-Quebec

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For the second time in as many years, southern New England's ambitious renewable energy goals are driving a slew of proposals from wind, solar and hydropower projects — many of them with ties to Maine.

This time it's Massachusetts that put out an RFP on March 31 seeking bids for approximately 1,200 megawatts of clean energy. Almost 50 bids were submitted, with at least 14 involving projects located in or passing through Maine.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP, issued by Massachusetts utilities and the Department of Energy Resources, calls for 20-year power purchase agreements for delivered renewable energy to meet the state's ambitious clean energy goals. Projects are expected to be selected in January 2018.

Central Maine Power, whose bids in the earlier New England Clean Power RFP were passed over, is taking a different tack this time: Instead of linking its proposal primarily to wind power, CMP submitted several proposals — in effect, offering a "cafeteria plan" of options that could include wind, solar and, significantly, hydroelectric power from Hydro-Quebec.

Mainebiz sat down with CMP President and CEO Sara Burns to discuss CMP's New England Clean Energy Connect proposals. The following is an edited transcript.

Mainebiz: Tell us about the proposals you've submitted in response to an RFP from Massachusetts. What's behind the state's RFP for clean energy? How might that impact Maine?

Sara Burns: ISO-New England's dependence on natural gas is of concern to all ratepayers in New England. One of the issues that people don't pay attention to is that we're one common market. We're not a 'Maine' market and a 'Rhode Island' market, etc. We're one common market. So natural gas is the fuel that's being used predominantly to produce electricity in this market as we speak: It's right now at 55% for natural gas and 29% nuclear.

MB: And we know Vermont Yankee has shut down, leaving only Seabrook, Millstone and Pilgrim nuclear power plants for New England's market.

SB: You're going right to my point. All of those nuclear power units have a life cycle. Seabrook has a long life cycle, but Pilgrim already announced it will shut down by mid-2019. So I think for all of us, as we look at the challenge of our current fuel mix, with natural gas being more than half, the question becomes: Does this make you feel comfortable over the long term?

MB: In effect, if the fuel mix continues the trend of relying even more heavily on natural gas, we'd be putting all our eggs in one basket?

SB: Exactly right. And if the price of natural gas goes up there's going to be a great sucking sound out of New England's pocketbooks. It will raise the cost of electricity. So I think what Massachusetts and the governor of Massachusetts are doing is taking a responsible, longer-term look at this challenge.

MB: In other words, diversify the mix?

SB: Yes. And they have a particular interest in clean energy.

If you do a little research you can go back and look at what the grid's fuel mix was in 2000, compared to, say, 2016. In 2000, natural gas was 15%. And in 2016 it was 49%. In 2000, nuclear was 31%, and in 2016 it was 31%. In 2000, hydro was 7% and in 2016 it was 7%. Coal in 2000 was 18% and in 2016 it was 2% and oil was 2% and it's now 1%.

What becomes evident is that the coal and oil percentages have moved over to natural gas. But the one that is most interesting to me is that in 2000 renewables were 8% and today they're 10%.

So even though we've talked about it enormously over the past decade we've moved renewable energy only 2 percentage points since 2000.

MB: CMP's role, as a transmission provider, is to get that clean power to the market? 

SB: Exactly right. There were a lot of ideas renewable companies presented to us, some of them far more thought out than others. We ended up choosing two partners and we've put in two bids: One with Hydro-Quebec and one with NextEra, which is the parent company of Florida Power and Light.

 

Part of our strategy was based on the observation that if you look at a map of the transmission system in Maine, you'll notice that there are two major lines into New Brunswick, and we've had them there for a long time, but none into Quebec.

About three years ago we started strategically to buy a right-of-way up to the Quebec border. We did it quietly, we did it with our engineers looking at what would be the most efficient way to get there, we had our environmental team looking at what route would have the least impact. And we had our financial team looking at price. We acquired about a 54-mile right-of-way from what we already owned and we did it with four landowners.

We did it thinking that if you look long-term we would need a line into Quebec one day. So we are positioned now to do that.

MB: Hydro-Quebec is also part of other proposals to Massachusetts' RFP, isn't it? 

SB: Hydro-Quebec is bidding with three partners in this RFP: They're bidding through Maine with us, through New Hampshire with EverSource and through Vermont with TDI New England.

MB: Are they mutually exclusive bids? 

SB: Yes.

MB: So it will be one of you three, if Massachusetts sees Hydro-Quebec as the way to go. 

SB: Correct.

Our Hydro-Quebec bid consists of two parts: We did one pure hydro bid of about 1,090 megawatts of power and we did a second bid that was 700 megawatts of hydro and 300 megawatts of wind.

We did that because we want to offer Massachusetts choices. We did the same thing with NextEra.

MB: Tell us about the NextEra bid. 

SB: The NextEra bid actually has three parts: The first bid was for 450 megawatts of wind. The second bid adds to that 150 megawatts of solar and two battery storage projects: One will be at the solar farm and one will be at the wind farm, and each will be 25 megawatts. The third bid, and again this is a building block bid: The third bid is to take all of that and on top of that we've partnered with a Canadian wind developer that's literally parked right on the other side of the border, and that is another 450 megawatts of wind.

And again, we did this in the spirit of saying to Massachusetts: These are the two best partners that we could choose and we give you a group of ideas that you can choose from.

MB: NextEra's wind projects are roughly located in western Maine? 

SB: Yes.

MB: Can you share your thoughts on how CMP's bids might compare to the other proposals? 

SB: I can. In order to give you a perspective of what we're competing against:

  • There are three Hydro-Quebec bids and we're one of them.
  • There are six other large bids, one of which is ours with NextEra. Some combine wind with hydro, or wind with solar.
  • There are two very small hydro bids.
  • There are 19 solar bids.
  • There are six single, smaller wind bids.
  • And one offshore wind bid.

That's the competition.

The good news for ratepayers is: This is the future of trying to get them the best energy source at the lowest cost, and Massachusetts has received a robust response.

Here's how we see our proposal in relation to the competition:

  • It's the shortest transmission route under control. We're not out acquiring anything to make our proposal happen.
  • I think one of the biggest messages in our favor is that we're using what ratepayers have already paid for. Up to this new 54-mile acquisition, we're in an existing right-of-way and we're going to use it. We're going to deliver into Larrabee Road, which is part of the Maine Power Reliability Project that New England ratepayers have already paid for. So we're using what's already been built and paid for.
  • We're not underground, we're not sub-sea.
  • We are the only group that can say, 'We recently delivered a major transmission project on time and under budget.' So when you ask the question, 'Can you get it done?' We can answer, 'Just in 2015, we finished a $1.4 billion upgrade. There are not a lot of other big transmission projects that can make that claim they completed the job on schedule and under budget.' We have the team that can do it.

MB: Can you comment on your proposal's cost and power pricing? 

SB: No. When you submit bids to an RFP, no one is talking about their price. We're not speaking to our price and that's because here's one scenario we think could develop: The decision is supposed to be made in January. They could get down to two major projects and come back to us and say, 'You are the two we're looking at. Give us your best and final price.'

So I don't want to be out telling people what our bid is. But I believe, based on what I know about all these projects, that we are the lowest-priced project.

I would also say that our parent company, Iberdrola, had a huge impact. As we went out to price this, we used an Iberdrola sourcing team, an experienced team. The scale of Iberdrola's capital spend and their power in the market is reflected in our price.

MB: If your bid is accepted what are the next steps for CMP? 

SB: Massachusetts starts a negotiation process to lock it down. I think they put in June 2018 as the deadline for that stage of the process.

So, right after I clap and say, 'Hurrah' for our team,' then you've got to get on these schedules. You are committing to a time-frame. On the Hydro-Quebec project, we're committing to 2022. On the NextEra project, we've have put forward three different time-frames and they would be saying which one they would buy. But if you are the winner, you've got a schedule on which you must deliver what you've said you would.

MB: If you are successful, it's obviously a project that will benefit Maine's economy. Can you talk to what kind of work would be part of this? 

SB: We took the project and we gave it to Daymark Energy Advisors and they put it through their economic modeling. Right now they're saying it has about $40 million per year for Maine in annual electricity cost savings to ratepayers over the 20-year forecast period (2023-42).

The other benefit is that a firm load of hydropower reduces our dependence on natural gas. Our dependence on natural gas is a risk, and the risk is that the price will go up.

The third benefit for all of New England is that it lowers greenhouse gas emissions. I think New England number is 3 million metric tons annually. So that's a benefit for all of us.

Now, in Maine, we'll get the construction jobs — with total number of jobs averaging 1,700 per year during project development and construction and more than 3,000 jobs supported by the project during the peak years of construction.

I think the project has a great benefit for both Maine and New England.

There are two other interesting benefits to Maine in terms of reliability. If we win and we build this line, there are two major portions of this project: We have to put the line in and then there are all the upgrades we have to do with the new system to move the energy out of Maine. All of those upgrades make the Maine system more reliable. So Maine gets a stronger, more reliable grid.

The other point I'd like to make is this: If we want to deal with Hydro-Quebec, there's no better way than to do it through an RFP. They are bidding three different times [i.e. CMP's New England Clean Energy Connect, Northern Pass and New England Clean Power Link.] I'm sure they could figure out that this was going to be a robust response to Massachusetts' RFP. So if you want to be the winner you've got to come in with the best price.

Central Maine Power – HydroQuébec Transmission Line Reaches Milestone in Environmental Review

Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of AVANGRID INC. (NYSE:AGR), a diversified energy and utility company,  reports continued progress on the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) as it advances toward state and federal approvals. In September, the company completed filings for all state and federal permits. Last week, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) accepted CMP’s application for several state environmental permits as complete, starting a 185-day timetable for review unless extended by agreement. The Maine Public Utilities Commission also recently issued a formal Notice of Proceeding in response to CMP’s petition for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. By statute, the Commission must make its determination within nine months unless extended in accordance with Commission rules.

“We have the clear advantage of using our existing corridor network and overhead construction. The New England Clean Energy Connect is a straightforward, cost effective project in comparison to others in the bidding,” said Sara J. Burns, president and CEO of Central Maine Power. “We are confident in our schedule for local, state, and federal permitting to meet the 2022 in-service date, and we continue to find strong support for the project from key stakeholders and host communities.”

The NECEC is a high-voltage electricity transmission line to deliver renewable energy from Canada to New England in response to a request for proposals from Massachusetts electric utilities. The project would lower New England’s future electricity costs by $3.8 billion over the first 20 years in operation and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the region by 3.1 million metric tons annually compared to current projections.

CMP’s proposal for the 145-mile transmission line offers many advantages in the bidding.  The NECEC is the shortest link to Quebec and, unlike some of its key competitiors, includes cost-effective, overhead lines built largely in CMP’s existing corridor to reduce project costs and impacts to sensitive resources. CMP also has a proven track record of effective project permitting and construction management in its home state. The company can tap the resources of its parent companies, AVANGRID and Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest, multi-national energy companies, for global sourcing of expertise and materials.

CMP continues its planning and public outreach to ensure the NECEC can be completed in accordance with the requirements of the RFP. The company hosted three public information meetings in September in preparation for filing with the MDEP. Additional outreach has included public briefings to municipal and county officials, economic development organizations, and business groups. The project has received support from Maine Governor Paul R. LePage, Maine communities, and the state’s leading business and economic development organizations. Municipal officials from many host communities have provided strong statements of support for the project.

“Wiscasset has a history of being an energy hub for Maine. We are proud and pleased to think that we will continue in this capacity, and be an important part of this clean energy proposal,” said Marian Anderson, town manager in Wiscasset, Maine. “We hope to help in offering a solution to New England’s need to tap into clean, renewable power.”

“Not only is Central Maine Power a strong leader in the State of Maine, it is part of a global leader with solid financial backing. When they decide to do something, our experience has been they do it well,” said Robert E. Macdonald, mayor of Lewiston, Maine. “CMP has embraced modernization and innovation, and is ready to respond to the call for a cleaner energy future. It is in this spirit that CMP proposed the New England Clean Energy Connect in response to the Clean Energy RFP. The City of Lewiston is in full support of this proposal.”

Last March, utilities in Massachusetts issued a Request for Proposals for clean energy projects to support the goals of the State’s Global Warming Solutions Act. The Canadian energy company Hydro-Québec and CMP submitted joint bids in July proposing a 20-year agreement for energy and transmission service to the Massachusetts utilities. Massachusetts expects to make its selection in January 2018.

Central Maine Power Offers Range of New Cost-Effective Clean Energy Solutions In MA Clean Energy RFP

New choice of clean energy options could deliver up to $1.7 billion in electricity cost savings for Massachusetts ratepayers through large-scale hydropower transmission project

Central Maine Power (CMP), Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility, today announced that it submitted several proposals for transmission line investments to deliver energy from hydro, wind, and solar resources onto the New England grid in response to the Massachusetts Request for Proposals (RFP) for delivery of clean energy.

The proposed projects offer new choices for the Commonwealth’s electric utility customers and policymakers with a range of cost-effective, clean energy solutions that will help stabilize electricity costs, protect consumers, and reduce carbon emissions by1.4 million metric tons equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 280,000 vehicles. Among the options, a new transmission line between Maine and Québec could provide $150 million in annual electricity cost savings through expanded access to the vast hydro power resources of Hydro-Québec.

“We’re pleased to offer Massachusetts a new choice of highly competitive, clean energy projects in full confidence that we can deliver tremendous value to consumers in the Commonwealth, Maine and other New England states,” said Sara J. Burns, president and CEO of Central Maine Power. “The clean electricity options we offer are good for the environment and consumers. CMP has the advantage of owning all the transmission corridors to minimize distance to the market, development costs and impacts to communities and the environment,” said Burns. “Central Maine Power has the proven experience and resources to deliver large-scale projects on-time and on-budget in New England”, she added.

The proposed New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) will provide a new link by high-voltage (320 kV) direct current (HVDC) transmission between Hydro-Québec and the New England grid. In Maine, the line will begin at the Canadian border in northern Franklin County and run 145 miles to a new AC/DC converter station in Lewiston. The new line, in combination with additional smaller improvements at various facilities in Maine, will have the capacity to deliver up to 1,200 megawatts of power from Hydro-Québec to Massachusetts consumers through the existing regional grid. The NECEC is slated to become operational by 2022.

The proposed Maine Clean Power Connection (MCPC) will provide a new high-voltage (345 kV) transmission connection from western Maine to the high voltage New England grid. The line will begin at a new substation to be built in Skinner Township in northern Franklin County near the Canadian border and run 140 miles to the company’s Larrabee Road substation in Lewiston. The new MCPC transmission line, in combination with various additional improvements and new facilities in Maine, will offer a range of new capacity options from 460 MW up to 1,110 MW to deliver clean energy along with Renewable Energy Credits (REC) and other environmental attributes, from varying combinations of wind, solar, and storage facilities in eastern Canada and far western Maine. The MCPC is slated to become operational by 2022.

The Massachusetts’ RFP comes less than a year after passage of An Act Relative to Energy Diversity in 2016, which is part of a broader effort to reduce the state’s energy costs, ensure a reliable electricity grid, and meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) requirements. Under terms of the Energy Diversity law, Massachusetts seeks contracts for up to 9.45 TWh of clean energy comprised of hydroelectric generation and Class 1 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) clean energy such as solar, wind and geothermal resources.

The NECEC offers state and regional benefits in the form of wholesale electric cost savings for New England of $3.9 billion over the 20-year life of the project and $406 million annually in increased gross domestic product. The NECEC will benefit Maine in multiple ways, including providing average annual wholesale energy cost savings of over $40 million per year for twenty years and reduce carbon emissions by an average of 285,000 metric tons annually.

The MCPC project is projected to save New England customers between $655 million – $1.45 billion over the 20-year life of the project. Both projects will support growth in employment in Massachusetts and Maine through the benefits of lower energy prices and during project construction.

Central Maine Power proposes transmission line for hydropower from Quebec

Read the full article here.

Central Maine Power has submitted several proposals for transmission line investments to deliver energy from hydro and other resources to the New England grid.

CMP took this action in response to the Massachusetts Request for Proposals for delivery of clean energy, according to a press release. This RFP comes less than a year after passage of An Act Relative to Energy Diversity in 2016, which is part of a broader effort to reduce the state’s energy costs, ensure a reliable electricity grid and meet long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Among the proposed projects is construction of a new transmission line between Maine and the Canadian province of Quebec, which could provide $150 million in annual electricity cost savings through expanded access to “the vast hydro power resources of Hydro-Quebec,” CMP says.

The New England Clean Energy Connect, or NECEC, is a 320-kV HVDC transmission line between Hydro-Quebec and the New England grid. In Maine, the line will begin at the Canadian border in western Somerset County and run 145 miles to a new AC/DC converter station in Lewiston. The line will have the capacity to deliver up to 1,200 MW of power and is slated to become operational by 2022.

The proposed Maine Clean Power Connection, or MCPC, will provide a new 345-kV transmission connection from western Maine to the high-voltage New England grid. The line will begin at a new substation to be built in Skinner Township in western Somerset County near the Canadian border and run 140 miles to the company’s Larrabee Road substation in Lewiston. The new MCPC line will offer a range of capacity options from 460 MW to 1,100 MW to deliver energy, along with renewable energy credits and other environmental attributes, from varying combinations of wind, solar and storage facilities in eastern Canada and far western Maine. The MCPC is slated to become operational by 2022.

CMP says the NECEC offers state and regional benefits in the form of wholesale electric cost savings of $3.9 billion over the 20-year life of the project and $406 million annually in increased gross domestic product. In Maine, the benefit from NECEC includes providing average annual wholesale energy cost savings of more than $40 million per year for 20 years and reducing carbon emissions by an average of 285,000 metric tons annually.

“We’re pleased to offer Massachusetts a new choice of highly competitive, clean energy projects in full confidence that we can deliver tremendous value to consumers in the Commonwealth, Maine and other New England states,” said Sara J. Burns, president and chief executive officer of CMP. “The clean electricity options we offer are good for the environment and consumers. CMP has the advantage of owning all the transmission corridors to minimize distance to the market, development costs and impacts to communities and the environment.”

The MCPC line is projected to save New England customers $655 million to $1.45 billion over the 20-year life of the project.

On the other side of the border, Hydro-Quebec is proposing six options, either 100% hydropower or a hydro-wind power supply blend, to be delivered for the next 20 years.