Healey Admin Celebrates Maine Clean Energy Project Advancement
(Source: State House News Service)
Two clean energy projects in the northern reaches of Maine were cleared Tuesday by that state's utilities commission to move ahead, and officials there cited Massachusetts' willingness to shoulder 40 percent of the costs as a key reason why.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission selected the two projects -- Longroad Energy's King Pine 1,000 megawatt land-based wind generation project and LS Power Base's 345 kilovolt transmission line project -- in October to fulfill that state's clean energy law requirements and on Tuesday deemed the projects to be in the public interest, noting that Massachusetts will help to partially offset increases to Mainers's utility bills.
The anticipated net cost of the two projects is $1.7 billion. In late December, arguing that the projects "would provide benefits to Massachusetts and the region," the Baker administration said it would direct Bay State utility companies to enter into long-term contracts to cover 40 percent of the costs, which it said would be "in general proportion to the expected regional benefit to Massachusetts."
On Tuesday night, the Healey administration cheered the Maine PUC's latest project approvals and said it will continue to look for other ways that Massachusetts can team up with neighboring states "to reduce New England's overreliance on expensive, imported natural gas."
"We are pleased that the Northern Maine renewable energy projects will move forward. These critical projects will deliver clean, reliable, and affordable energy to Massachusetts and cut costs for our residents and businesses," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper said.
Massachusetts' newest climate law authorized the Department of Energy Resources to "coordinate with one or more New England states undertaking competitive solicitations to consider projects for long-term clean energy generation, transmission or capacity for the benefit of residents of the commonwealth and the region."
The land-based wind project, which the Portland Press Herald said would be the largest such development east of the Mississippi River, and the transmission corridor necessary to connect the turbines to the ISO-New England grid are not done deals just yet. Both still require various federal and Maine permit approvals, and approval of the Maine Legislature is required as a result of the 2021 referendum that put another transmission project on which Massachusetts was relying, the New England Clean Energy Connect project, on hold.
The Mass. DOER said in December that its willingness to join forces with Maine will terminate if "the Projects do not have sufficient contracting commitments to support project viability by February 28." - Colin A. Young/SHNS | 2/1/23 11:22 AM