Articles filed under Transmission from Maine
New England’s most populous states are looking to tap Canadian dams and rivers for more of their electricity, a change that officials say would help cut greenhouse-gas emissions and help keep some of the nation’s highest power prices in check.
With the decision Tuesday, the commissioners decided to move into a second phase in the case, considering the longer-term questions about the northern Maine regional grid. That includes whether there’s any benefit to ratepayers from connecting transmission lines in the area to the New England power grid, something that wind developers in the area might seek in order to reach the regional ISO-New England market.
Huskilson told analysts that Emera Maine is working with Central Maine Power Co. on a proposed transmission upgrade that would allow more wind power and other energy to be transported from northern Maine and Canada.
Building more electricity transmission into New England isn't about an "energy crisis." It's about economics, jobs, corporate profit, failure to make the small fixes that add up, failure to do detailed analysis, failure to resist stampede crisis mentality, and lots of other things.
The six New England governors, working with the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCO) and regional grid operators, have launched a process under which Northern Pass partners may be able to acquire substantial ratepayer funding and eminent domain powers for the controversial plan to bring hydroelectricity from Quebec into New England.
When those customers are generating power from their own energy sources, they’re not buying power from CMP, thereby reducing the company’s revenue. CMP wants to charge those customers a special rate to reflect the fact that even though they aren’t buying power all the time, they expect CMP to provide them with reliable distribution service. It’s an issue in other states, too, as power companies adapt to increasing power generation “behind the meter,” on-site by small-scale producers.
Federal regulators are being asked to resolve a regional rift over who should pay for new power lines needed to carry renewable electricity to southern New England. Vermont has joined New Hampshire and Rhode Island to oppose the cost-sharing formula being promoted by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. ...the more populated states are trying to offload much of the cost of the new power projects on other states in New England.
"We think that it is likely there will be significant additional transmission investment needed to maintain reliability and improve access to these clean, intermittent power sources," Lee Olivier, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in an earnings call Friday. "But it is too early to estimate how much that additional investment will be and exactly when it will occur."
Aroostook County becomes a major hub for wind power development.
Wind companies knew about these constraints when they built the plants. Upgrading transmission lines will take money, and that will come from ratepayers. It's too soon to say how much the upgrades would cost. But the investors in wind farms still make money, even if the power isn't sold on the grid, because of how these projects are financed and the rates companies have negotiated for their energy.
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.