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.