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Maine PUC approves New England Clean Energy Connect project [free access]

April 18, 2019

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC), as recently recommended by its staff, has granted approval to the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project, being developed by Central Maine Power (CMP)—a subsidiary of Avangrid, to connect the New England grid with Canadian Hydro-Québec’s network.


The proposed project will provide a new link through a ±320 kV, high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between Hydro-Québec and the New England grid. In Maine, the line will begin at the Canadian border in western Somerset County and run 145 miles (234 km) to a new alternating current (AC)/direct current (DC) converter station in Lewiston. The new line, in combination with additional smaller improvements at various facilities in Maine, will have the capacity to deliver up to 1,200 MW of power from Hydro-Québec to Massachusetts.


Earlier this month, the staff recommended the approval of the project, despite the rising concerns of local authorities over its likely environmental and economic impacts. Recently, Franklin County in western Maine withdrew its support for the project. However, as per the staff, the project will reduce the reliance on fossil fuels in New England, and will help in boosting rural economy in the region.


The NECEC project is slated to become operational by 2022.