Hydro Quebec has been promoting “clean energy” via the NECEC corridor relentlessly for the past 3 years while climate change is a global concern best handled locally. Constructing an 800- mile corridor chasing money is not a local remedy. New Brunswick generates 1,964 MW annually from fossil fuel and Nova Scotia generates 1,752 MW from more fossil fuel. These sources are coal, diesel, heavy oil and gas. These provinces are already connected to the Hydro Quebec Grid. Some power from New Brunswick is sold to the ISO New England grid. HQ could and should, replace these fossil plants with the stated extra hydro capacity, and in doing so would put power on the New England grid, without any new corridor. The absence of Hydro Quebec from any Maine regulatory testimony regarding actual ‘Clean Energy” which HQ continues to promote is telling. The same energy could be delivered to New England via New Brunswick, on existing lines. Replacing fossil generated power with water-generated power would clean up Canadian carbon emissions and allow HQ to deliver “clean energy’ through Maine on existing lines. (Check the power source on the standard offer on your CMP bill) The issue is Money- not clean energy.
The Provincial Government of Quebec (sole owners of Hydro Quebec) has flooded Maine with propaganda attempting to influence Maine voters regarding the NECEC corridor. Interestingly, Quebec passed a law in 2018 prohibiting similar influence to flow into the province. A likely topic ripe for exposure from Americans is the United Nations ruling regarding displacement of native populations. This has been front line in the news from Manitoba to Quebec and no mention is made regarding the impacts of the HQ power to be routed through Maine to the New England Grid. Another prime topic is warming effects of large hydroelectric dams on cold water as evidenced by Russian dams at similar latitude. Approving NECEC makes Maine and Massachusetts complicit. Not only complicit in flaunting international agreement, warming of the Gulf of Maine, but also in blatant disregard of our own State laws. Neither Maine nor Massachusetts could build a hydro generating facility of this type due to environmental laws. For governors of these two states to pursue importation of power generated via large dams disrespects work done by previous lawmakers. It is disappointing, and wrong for politicians to actively circumvent their own states laws.
Our DEP and PUC are hearing plans for CMP to transfer permits granted to CMP to a new company owned by Avangrid (Iberdrola). The new business is NECEC Transmission LLC. This company has no business record as it has not existed, and the request is being made to take on a billion dollar project allowed by permits it did not receive. The reason is that the first Stipulation, approved by the Governor and Public Advocate, removed any involvement by CMP in the construction or maintenance of the new corridor, thus introduction of a new company. Within the transfer documents, CMP is listed as a contractor in the project, and as was pointed out in a recent Sentinel article, CMP is losing money on contracts it signed with a Wisconsin clearing company. The separation is far from clear. The purpose of distancing CMP from this project was to protect current rate payers from a dilution of service under the state authorized monopoly agreement of long ago.
Democracy -not Spanish or Canadian money will determine the fate of this controversial issue. Spanish money? Yes, Iberdrola owns Avangrid and Central Maine Power. Partners of Iberdrola include countries and large banks from around the world looking forward to gaining 60 million dollars annually from Canadian power transmission along a line paid for by Massachusetts. Hydro Quebec will earn 41 million a month – all to placate the Massachusetts mandate. Maine is a geographic obstacle. New England needs to export value added products- not hard-earned dollars. It is time for all of us Maine voters to step up again to be heard on this “bad deal for Maine” project. Volunteers in the hundreds, and some paid support, are out all across the state every day making it possible to have your voice heard. Please sign the petition to make a loud democratic statement in Augusta, and Massachusetts!