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February 20, 2018

CMP's $950M proposal selected as 'alternative' clean energy bid by Massachusetts

Courtesy / CMP
Courtesy / CMP
Map showing Central Maine Power's New England Clean Energy Connect transmission proposal to connect Hydro-Quebec power to the New England power grid.

Central Maine Power Co.'s $950 million New England Clean Energy Connect proposal has been selected to replace the Northern Pass transmission project should Eversource Energy fail to secure its New Hampshire permit next month.

AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a diversified energy company that is parent company of CMP, confirmed on Feb. 16 that the NECEC transmission project has been selected by the Massachusetts electric utilities and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources in the Bay State's Clean Energy RFP to move forward as the alternative if the Northern Pass transmission project fails to win approval from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee by March 27.

Northern Pass, the 192-mile transmission project proposed by Eversource Energy, (NYSE: ES) to deliver Hydro-Quebec power to Massachusetts, had been the only project selected by Massachusetts on Jan. 25 out of 50 proposals that had been submitted to help it meet ambitious clean energy goals. But a week later, New Hampshire state regulators unanimously rejected Eversource Energy's application for its Northern Pass project in a 7-0 vote, citing "concerns about its impact on local business, tourism and development in the region, especially in the northern part of the state."

In a Feb. 1 statement, Eversource said it was "shocked and outraged," by the New Hampshire SEC's decision, adding that it would seek "reconsideration" of its $1.6 billion proposal to deliver 1,000 megawatts of renewable power from Hydro-Quebec to Massachusetts.

If Eversource's appeal proves unsuccessful, CMP President and CEO Doug Herling said Maine's largest utility is poised to step in and deliver 1,200 megawatts of clean power to Massachusetts via its NECEC 145-mile transmission line linking electric grids in Quebec and New England.

"Our applications for state and federal permits are moving forward with the strong support of communities and stakeholders in Maine," Herling said. "We believe the NECEC is a cost-effective response to Massachusetts' needs, and given our experience building projects of greater scale and complexity here in our home state, we're confident we can meet our commitments to the Commonwealth."

CMP submitted applications for all state and federal permits in mid-2017. The company expects to receive state approvals later this year and final federal permits in early 2019.

"A new transmission link between Maine and Québec would deliver a reliable, firm supply of clean energy to help dampen seasonal price instability when high demand puts pressure on natural gas supplies," said Bob Kump, president and chief executive officer of Avangrid Networks, Inc., AVANGRID's utility holding company and parent corporation of CMP. "We appreciate the opportunity to advance reliable, cost-effective solutions for the benefit of the Commonwealth's energy consumers and the region. We also thank Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, DOER Commissioner Judith Judson, and the Massachusetts legislature for their resourcefulness and vision in passing a clean energy law that will allow every resident in the Commonwealth to benefit from clean renewable energy resources."

Read more

Three companies seek to block CMP's Hydro Quebec transmission project

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