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.