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Energy corridor bill receives unanimous support

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.

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. It was co-chaired by Sens. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, and John Martin, D-Eagle Lake.

"We're going to pass something that's meaningful and significant," said Hobbins of the committee's bill Friday.

As voted, the bill would establish a panel to review proposed energy transmission lines -- both for electricity, as well as fossil fuels. This panel will require that projects must agree to reduce energy costs and increase capacity for energy generation in the state.

Developers will be encouraged to build on designated corridors -- the interstate highway system, and a corridor that runs from Searsport to the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.

The prospective merger of Canadian utilities New Brunswick Power and Hydro-Quebec has made designating corridors crucial, as this new venture eyes supplying... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

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. It was co-chaired by Sens. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, and John Martin, D-Eagle Lake.

"We're going to pass something that's meaningful and significant," said Hobbins of the committee's bill Friday.

As voted, the bill would establish a panel to review proposed energy transmission lines -- both for electricity, as well as fossil fuels. This panel will require that projects must agree to reduce energy costs and increase capacity for energy generation in the state.

Developers will be encouraged to build on designated corridors -- the interstate highway system, and a corridor that runs from Searsport to the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.

The prospective merger of Canadian utilities New Brunswick Power and Hydro-Quebec has made designating corridors crucial, as this new venture eyes supplying energy to the lucrative markets of southern New England.

Revenue from leases of land for construction of corridors will flow into the new Efficiency Maine Trust to promote efficiency projects.

Some also will reimburse the Maine Turnpike Authority for costs related to determining the engineering standards of the transmission lines, or reviewing construction plans.

The MTA also told the committee that transmission projects along its route could violate its commitment to its bond holders. It initially asked for 50 percent of all revenue and veto power on projects.

Under the approved legislation, however, the state will reimburse the MTA's costs and pay it as much as 10 percent of its bonded debt service as profit for hosting transmission corridors.

Industrial interests also raised a concern that a simplified permitting process for these corridors might not be enough incentive for developers to use them, and, therefore, defeat the ability of the state to oversee -- and collect revenue -- for the projects.

The committee has since supported an amendment to give the state authority to review projects on private land within 50 miles of these corridors.

Central Maine Power and some wind developers maintain this is too restrictive and could hurt renewable energy projects by making the approval process more bureaucratic, Hobbins said. They want to see this limit raised to 75 miles.

The committee will review this final question as part of its language review of the bill Tuesday.


Source: http://www.kjonline.com/new...

MAR 22 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/25318-energy-corridor-bill-receives-unanimous-support
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