Library filed under Transmission from Maine
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.
Central Maine Power says it has a severe reliability problem. No doubt it does, but the issue is CMP's credibility, not a failing electrical grid. Yes, the grid always needs improvements and updating. But Maine shouldn't drop all other energy priorities and immediately spend $1.5 billion on CMP's so-called Maine Power Reliability Project (MPRP). And for those grid investments that are necessary, CMP's strategy is entirely backwards: They are proposing to start with the most expensive (and dirtiest) option first.
Central Maine Power Co. is renewing its push to win approval for a controversial $1.5 billion upgrade to its transmission system, arguing that failure to move ahead soon will cost Maine jobs and money and make the state more vulnerable to blackouts. ...The PUC staff concluded that electricity use fell sharply during the recession and won't return to levels CMP was projecting for 2007 until 2018.
Many aspects of the sale of NB Power have both angered and confused people, but none it seems more so than the issue of access to the grid post-sale. The New Brunswick government says nothing will change, while the premiers of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland have said the sale will effectively block their access to New England and others have expressed concerns it will end the province's forays into green energy.
Maine's attempt to create clear rules to guide multibillion-dollar energy corridor projects through the state came up short Wednesday, because of deep philosophical divisions that foreshadow debate next year in the Legislature. The impasse came during the final meeting of a 13-member study panel. The group was formed by the Legislature to recommend rules to give Maine the maximum benefit from proposed electricity, gas and petroleum corridors.
Maine faces two starkly different choices about the future of its electrical system. On one hand is a plan by Central Maine Power to spend $1.5 billion on massive upgrades to the electric grid. This would make CMP's current "dumb grid" even bigger and dumber; ...On the other hand is an alternative proposal by GridSolar to build a smarter grid; one that is based on energy efficiency and clean, renewable power generated right here in Maine.
Supporters of liquefied natural gas terminals have thrown a late snag into what has been an orderly process to create rules for developing multibillion-dollar energy corridors in Maine. LNG representatives want to extend the current moratorium on energy corridors and create a government commission to do more reviews. Their proposal was filed late last week with the special study group already debating policy for energy corridors.
North America's largest utility company Hydro-Quebec has announced it will pay $4.4 billion for transmission lines of New Brunswick Power, a deal that would help the company secure greater access to electricity markets in the U.S. Hydro-Quebec announced Thursday that it expects to spend up to $23 billion over the next decade to boost its hydro electric output by 4,500 megawatts a year. Much of that will be exported to the United States and Ontario.
Maine can have a reliable power grid for substantially less money, and with far fewer transmission towers and substations, than the $1.5 billion project Central Maine Power Co. is proposing, the staff of the Public Utilities Commission has concluded. In an analysis made available late Tuesday, the PUC staff said CMP has overstated and accelerated the need for its Maine Power Reliability Program, in part by using forecasts for growth in electricity use that have become outdated since the recession started. ... the staff concludes that the grid could be upgraded for $667 million under a basic plan, and for $852 million under a more extensive upgrade, depending on what is done.
At the center of the back-and-forth between the Maine Public Utilities Commission and warring energy developers is a question of whether industrial-sized wind farms are feasible in Maine. ...The transmission line issue is not new to the PUC or to state and industry leaders who promote wind-power development in Maine. But it may come as a surprise to much of the public who see wind power as a clean form of energy that comes with little or no environmental cost.