Multinational corporations Avangrid and Iberdrola have proposed a corridor for Canadian hydropower through Maine. It is called Central Maine Power (CMP) and New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). This is a profit making venture and has nothing to do with its supposed purpose, which is to address climate change by delivering clean energy to Massachusetts. The project is a greenwash. These massive multinational corporations are out for profits and not interested in promoting or supporting local renewable energy projects. Like other proposed corridors, CMPs uses rural areas as a long extension cord to take hydropower from its source 1,000 miles away in remote areas of Canada to metropolitan cities. The CMP was proposed in response to a 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.
In April 2019, Gov. Baker approved a wind proposal contract but has not approved the CMP project. https://www.mass.gov/news/department-of-public-utilities-approves-offshore-wind-energy-contracts
The CMP project is locked in political and legal battles and has ignited a firestorm of opposition. For more on the legal challenges, see below. Sixty-five percent of Maine residents oppose CMP. www.nrcm.org/maine environmental-news/statewide-poll-shows-strong-opposition-cmp-corridor. Opposition continues to mount, with Town’s along the corridor route even renouncing prior support. Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) outlines four reasons why the CMP corridor is a bad deal for Maine. www.nrcm.org/projects/climate/proposed-cmp-transmission-line-bad-deal-maine/
False claims about carbon-free energy
In lock step with Massachusetts Governor Baker and Governor Mills of Maine, Hydro-Quebec is promoting lies 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: Facebook pages: Stop the Corridor, Say NO to NECEC.
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 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 is 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.
Additional permits are needed and there is legislation pending that would require a greenhouse gas accounting to attempt to verify false claims by CMP that the project will delivery “carbon-free” electricity.
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.