Maine PUC advances two northern Maine renewable energy projects

Published on February 02, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission determined that two renewable energy projects proposed in northern Maine are in the public interest.

The determination follows conditional approval for the projects in November by the commission as it explored partnership options to help offset costs to Maine ratepayers. In December, Massachusetts formally offered to partner with Maine in the project. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) informed the commission that the two projects would meet their criteria, which would justify procuring up to 40 percent of the project.

With Massachusetts’ 40 percent stake in the project, the estimated net costs to Maine ratepayers would be about $1 billion, or about a dollar per month for an average residential customer. Costs could be reduced further if other partners participate in the project.

“These projects will provide significant benefits to Maine and the region, including jobs during construction, property tax revenue for local communities, and environmental benefits from new renewable energy displacing fossil fuels,” PUC Chair Philip Bartlett II said.

Bartlett added that the influx of renewable energy into the regional grid will put downward pressure on electricity prices, benefitting consumers throughout New England.

The projects include the development of a 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission line to connect the Northern Maine renewable energy resources with the ISO-NE grid. It also includes a renewable energy generation project to transmit power across that transmission line.