Transmission and Maine
Lawmakers on the Legislature's Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee heard testimony on a bill that would require lines transmitting 5,000 volts of power or more to be at least 300 feet from homes, schools, churches and licensed day care centers, among other places.
CMP may have promoted wind power benefits as a way to encourage then-Gov. John Baldacci to support the project and neutralize environmental critics, according to Andrew Landry, who represents some renewable power producers.
"For the Baldacci administration, renewables was a hot-button topic," he said. "But in hindsight, the benefits weren't there."
A federal order issued last fall is intended to make it easier to construct transmission lines, costly and controversial projects that are notoriously tough to build.
Thursday's move to condemn the property brings to a head the disagreement between Tonbridge and landowners along the southern end of the 214-mile project from Cut Bank to Great Falls.
"CMP has not met its burden of proof in this case," PUC Commission Chairman Jack Cashman said in a written statement. "The utility has not shown to my satisfaction through comprehensive testing or analysis that construction of the Lewiston Loop project is the most cost-effective means of addressing power reliability needs in the Lewiston area."
Although the line won approval from the United States Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the State of California after the utility submitted an 11,000-page environmental impact statement, neighbors and wilderness advocates have filed lawsuits challenging those decisions.
Opponents argue that the transmission line is not mainly about renewable energy.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has conditionally approved Central Maine Power's proposed $14 million upgrade of transmission lines to handle electricity from incoming wind farms.
The developer of a proposed underwater transmission line from Searsport to Boston is pressing the need for the New England Region to tap the full wind power potential of Northern Maine.
The so-called Greenline project would include the installation of a 140 mile undersea cable carrying electricity from Maine down to the high demand markets to the south.
If a community feels strongly enough about burying lines in a certain area, then Central Maine Power Co. representatives will talk with them -- if they are willing to pay for the additional cost.
That was one of the messages from CMP officials during a Planning Board meeting Tuesday evening in front of an overflow crowd at Town Hall.
Many residents, even those who do not own property abutting the golf course, were upset the Planning Board did not hold a public meeting and invite CMP representatives to discuss the plan. Carroll said many of the towns where CMP has had to apply for construction permits held meetings so people could ask questions and find out more about the project.
Spanish electricity producer Iberdrola SA said Tuesday it agreed to sell three U.S. natural-gas subsidiaries, in a deal valued at $1.3 billion, to help finance a major project to improve New England's power infrastructure. ...
State utility regulators have approved Central Maine Power Company's scaled-back plans for a massive transmission upgrade. The three-member Maine Public Utilities Commission today unanimously approved the settlement agreement, which includes much of CMP's originally-proposed expanded high-voltage transmission line.
The so-called Maine Power Reliability Project is estimated to cost $1.4 billion, PUC officials say.
The $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Project is considered the largest transmission project ever proposed in Maine. ...It's also a major windfall for CMP, which makes money by operating transmission lines.
Some opponents, as well as staff experts at the PUC, had recommended scaling back the project and cutting its cost from $1.5 billion to $1 billion. That idea was mostly rejected in the pending deal.
Central Maine Power Co. has reached an agreement in principle to settle the landmark transmission line case that's now before Maine's Public Utilities Commission, according to documents made available Wednesday.
The tentative agreement, which remains confidential, indicates that CMP is willing to move forward with a scaled-back project that will cost less than $1.5 billion.
Central Maine Power Co. should be allowed to upgrade the core of its high-voltage transmission system from the Bangor area to the New Hampshire border, but not various spurs around the state, experts at the Public Utilities Commission are recommending in a much-anticipated report. The scaled-back approach could cut the project's cost from $1.5 billion to $1 billion.
Central Maine Power Co.'s proposal to upgrade the reliability of its transmission system faces a new threat: wetlands.
The Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club says the $1.6 billion project would destroy 385 acres of wetlands and 1,200 linear feet of streams. In a letter dated March 15, it told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the agency can't approve construction if there are alternatives that reduce the impact on the environment.
A bill to designate energy corridors in Maine has earned the unanimous support of the Utilities and Energy Committee.
The legislation aims to strike a balance between promoting local electricity production and controlling the rising costs of energy.
The bill, L.D. 1786, emerged from recommendations by a special commission on energy infrastructure set up last summer.
Two of Maine's larger electric utilities would merge under an agreement announced Friday, increasing the impetus for a north-south power transmission line for wind farms.
In a deal valued at about $108 million, BHE Holdings Inc., parent company of the state's second-largest electric utility, Bangor Hydro Electric Co., plans to buy Maine & Maritimes Corp., which owns Maine Public Service Co., the state's third-largest electricity provider.
Maine shouldn't expect lower-cost, Canadian hydroelectricity to flow through the state via new transmission lines in the near future, a top Hydro-Quebec executive said here Thursday.
One of the world's largest producers of hydro power, Hydro-Quebec plans to concentrate first on expanding its exports to New England with a line through New Hampshire, according to Christian Brosseau, president of subsidiary HQ Energy Services US.
The majority of the testimony was against the $13 million to $14 million project that would widen the current 34.5-kilovolt power line corridor between Rumford and Roxbury by 150 feet and install 8 miles of utility poles topped with 115-kilovolt transmission line.
The power company says the upgrade and a new substation in Roxbury is necessary to channel electricity to be generated next year when the $120 million Record Hill Wind LLC wind farm is built atop Roxbury ridges.