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.