Central Maine Power (CMP) is forging ahead with plans to build a major transmission line in western Maine to bring wind and hydro power from Canada into New England's electricity grid. This is despite losing its bid for a big renewable energy contract from Massachusetts this week, which was instead provisionally awarded to a New Hampshire-based transmission project, called Northern Pass.
CMP project spokesman John Carroll says Massachusetts' decision makers appear to have given strong weight to the timeline presented by Northern Pass developer Eversource, which would put that line in service two years ahead of the CMP proposal.
"One thing that's pretty clear with this exercise is, the closer you are to being able to provide timely delivery, the more valuable or the better your prospects when these opportunities come along,” says Carroll. “So we think it makes sense to keep moving ahead."
At $950 million dollars, the CMP project is actually cheaper than the New Hampshire line.
Carroll says the company is confident that new transmission through Maine will be needed as the region continues to ramp up its use of renewable power sources. The company has already secured ownership or rights of way to the 145 mile corridor, stretching from Lewiston north through the forks and over to the border at Beattie Township. Final state and federal permits should be in hand by early 2019, he says, and construction could begin that spring.