Maine Public Utilities Commission approves New England Clean Energy connect

The New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) received a key state approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The Commission voted to grant Central Maine Power’s petition for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for its proposal to build an electric transmission line from the Maine/Quebec border to Lewiston, Maine.

“We are thrilled that the Commission has voted in favor of this project.  This approval marks a major milestone for the NECEC and for the region’s efforts to secure a future of clean, reliable energy,” said Doug Herling, president and CEO of Central Maine Power. “Today’s decision confirms the New England Clean Energy Connect will deliver environmental, economic, energy security, and other benefits for Maine and for consumers throughout New England.”

The NECEC is planned to provide 1,200 megawatts of transmission capacity and deliver clean, renewable electricity to the New England Grid from hydro-power resources in Québec.  The Commission’s decision comes at the end of an in-depth 18-month analysis weighing the impacts and benefits of the project for Maine consumers.

Central Maine Power proposed the NECEC in response to a solicitation by Massachusetts utilities in response to that state’s Global Warming Solutions Act, which set goals to increase supplies of electricity from clean, renewable sources for Massachusetts consumers. The Commission’s decision comes at the end of an in-depth analysis by the Commission staff and consultants to weigh the impacts and benefits of the project for Maine consumers. The Commission’s findings directly rebut arguments from parties representing the electricity generation industry that oppose policymakers’ efforts to address climate change and the region’s heavy dependence on costly fossil fuel energy supplies.

“Addressing the twin challenges of climate change and energy affordability will require a sustained, regional commitment to action,” said Herling. “The need for progress should always be weighed against the impacts and benefits of every project, and the NECEC is no exception. In this case, we believe the Commission gave due consideration to all perspectives, and as this decision shows, the balance strongly favors our project. ”