Maine: NECEC – CMP Corridor

Overview:

Multinational corporation Avangrid has proposed a transmission corridor for Canadian hydropower running through Maine. This corridor is commonly known as the CMP corridor or New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). This 145-mile transmission line will run through Maine to send electricity generated from hydropower from Quebec to customers in Massachusetts at an estimated cost of $950 million.

Proposed CMP Corridor Route
Photo Courtesy of Portland Press Herald

Like other similar projects, this corridor will cut through miles of wilderness and undeveloped forests, disturbing wildlife habitat and threatening local clean energy production in Maine. This project will not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions or create long-term jobs for Maine residents.

The CMP transmission line was proposed in response to misguided energy policy in Massachusetts – a bidding process set in motion by the 2016 Energy Diversity Act in which power producers submitted proposals to the state to bring “clean” energy to the state.

The CMP project is locked in political and legal battles and has ignited a firestorm of opposition and according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, 65% of Maine residents oppose the corridor. Opposition continues to mount, with towns along the corridor route renouncing prior support.

False claims about carbon-free energy

In step with Massachusetts Governor Baker and Governor Mills of Maine, Hydro-Quebec is promoting misinformation that the CMP will deliver “carbon free” electricity to Massachusetts. Here’s what NECEC says on its website:

In the NECEC application to Massachusetts for the CMP contract, most of the information about greenhouse gas emissions is redacted. Here’s one example:

Grassroots groups are pursuing a wide range of strategies to stop the project. To connect with them, checkout their Facebook pages: Stop the Corridor, Say NO to NECEC.

Legal challenges

Legal challenges continue to mount for the Maine corridor. On May 7, another power producer, NextEra Energy Resources filed a legal appeal of the permit issued by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. NextEra claims in part that the PUC failed adequately consider alternatives to the 145-mile power corridor, and the PUC’s conclusion that the power line will provide benefits to Maine was not supported by substantial evidence. On May 6, 2019, the U.S. EPA and Sierra Club wrote comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the Clean Water Act and environmental review process for CMP are flawed and needs to start over. Sierra Club says a full environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is required before the project can proceed.

NAMRA supporters submitted comments to the PUC on this project, highlighting the GHG impacts and showing that the project will actually increase regional GHG emissions.

The Grand Riverkeeper from Labrador, Canada urged Maine regulators to deny the CMP transmission corridor.

Articles:

Maine Voices: Little inquiry into hydro project’s effect on marine ecosystems

CMP’s hydroelectricity plan powers forth even as scientists warn such efforts can hurt oceans.

STANDISH — As regulators consider a proposed transmission corridor carrying hydroelectricity from Quebec to Massachusetts through Maine, they should keep in mind that hydroelectric dams with large reservoirs and unnatural flow regulation comprise one of the most destructive forms of energy generation on Earth.

Thirty-seven years ago, in 1982, Hans Neu, a senior marine scientist with the Canadian government, warned in a column for the Marine Pollution Bulletin that Canadian reservoir hydro development might not only wreck freshwater ecosystems but also starve marine life. These large hydro projects, according to Neu, could have dire consequences for marine fisheries and our climate, and this required immediate scientific attention. Read more:

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/02/08/maine-voices-little-inquiry-into-hydro-projects-effect-on-marine-ecosystems/

Commentary: Hydro-Quebec offers misleading claims about power’s climate impact

BY BRADFORD H. HAGER

Pressherald.com (Jan. 5, 2019)

Hydro-Quebec’s claim that – as paraphrased by Portland Press Herald Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy – the electricity they would send south is “produced with none of the carbon emissions blamed for global warming” is dead wrong, directly contradicted by scientific research sponsored by Hydro-Quebec itself. I care deeply about aggressively addressing climate change, and I agree with the Press Herald Editorial Board (Our View, Dec. 9) that the most important question in evaluating the proposed transmission line to Massachusetts is whether it will reduce total greenhouse-gas emissions.

https://www.pressherald.com/2019/01/05/commentary-hydro-quebec-offers-misleading-claims-about-their-powers-climate-impact/