Maine utility regulators on Tuesday gave last approval to a wind energy undertaking that would supply sufficient electrical energy for no less than 450,000 New England properties together with building of a brand new transmission hall in northern Maine to get the electrical energy to the regional energy grid.
The unanimous vote by the Maine Public Utilities Fee on two tasks bearing a internet price of $1.eight billion comes after Massachusetts endorsed the proposal, turning into a companion on the 1,000-megawatt undertaking and permitting the prices to be shared by a bigger pool of ratepayers.
Below the plan, Maine ratepayers can be liable for 60%, or about $1 billion of the prices, officers stated. The typical ratepayer would pay an additional $1 per 30 days over the primary decade, officers stated.
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“Creating renewable assets in northern Maine is an incredible alternative, and one that’s essential to reaching decarbonization targets in Maine and New England. With assist from each Maine and Massachusetts, I’m assured the chosen tasks are viable and provides us one of the best probability to realize a profitable consequence,” PUC Chair Phillip Bartlett stated.
However commissioners nonetheless had reservations over the associated fee. They inspired the participation of extra events to additional scale back prices for Maine ratepayers. Though Commissioner Patrick Scully supported the undertaking, he prompt common income or bonds needs to be used to fund such tasks to ease the affect on ratepayers.
The northern Maine undertaking is separate to a $1 billion proposal totally funded by Massachusetts ratepayers that requires a proposed 145-mile (230-kilometer) transmission line in western Maine that might be a conduit for 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to succeed in the New England energy grid.
Maine voters rebuked that undertaking, known as the New England Clear Vitality Join, and it stays mired in a authorized battle.
For the brand new proposal, state lawmakers directed Maine utility regulators to decide on the tasks to spice up transmission capability and renewable power in Aroostook County.
Final fall, the PUC selected LS Energy Base for a 345-kilovolt transmission undertaking and Longroad Vitality’s King Pine for a wind technology undertaking. It requires about 179 wind generators west of Houlton.
Collectively, the tasks would profit the state by reducing electrical energy charges, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions, officers stated. The undertaking additionally permits far northern Maine to be linked to the New England regional grid for the primary time.
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“Maine is within the midst of an power disaster and the important thing to significant power reduction is in our personal yard,” stated Senate President Troy Jackson, who’s from the northern Maine group of Allagash.
Dan Burgess, who leads the Governor’s Vitality Workplace, stated the tasks would “scale back our dependence on risky fossil fuels and ship vital new job and financial alternatives to communities in northern Maine.”
The undertaking may produce 1,000 megawatts of energy when the generators are working at peak effectivity — sufficient energy for as many as 900,000 properties. Longroad Vitality tasks that the electrical energy will probably be satisfactory for 450,000 properties on common annual foundation.
The Pure Sources Council of Maine vehemently opposed the New England Clear Vitality Join however praised the northern Maine undertaking as a result of it helps home-grown wind energy.
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“Infusing our electrical grid with wind power sourced from Aroostook County is an financial enhance to native communities, a win for New England electrical energy customers, and a promising instance of regional collaboration on our power future,” stated Jack Shapiro, NRCM’s local weather and clear power director.
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