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Get Maine Climate Right Supports
New England Clean Energy Connect
IECG strongly supports the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), a 1200 MW HVDC powerline proposed by Central Maine Power Company (“CMP”) from Quebec to Lewiston. IECG’s support is based on years of evaluating energy options for Maine and New England and recognition that NECEC would be the most effective and efficient way to replace retiring and highly inefficient coal and oil generation and reduce New England’s reliance on natural gas for generation. Simply put, NECEC will have the least environmental impact, with the greatest effect on reducing electricity prices and GHG emissions of available projects. NECEC also offers Maine’s first direct access to the largest supply of renewable energy in North America, Hydro-Quebec’s 36,000+ MW of hydroelectric generation, larger than New England’s entire generation fleet.
Through IECG’s extensive participation at ISO-New England, the New England Power Pool, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, IECG is acutely aware that increases in renewable generation are not keeping pace with the retirement of fossil and nuclear generation. ISO New England has warned of rolling electrical brownouts and blackouts possibly affecting New England by 2024. This prospect impairs capital investment in Maine’s economy and the growth of our digital economy. NECEC thus is essential for New England consumers. Although the NECEC electricity will be purchased by Massachusetts utilities and thus have no cost to Maine consumers, Maine is part of the integrated grid that serves New England, so Maine receives the benefits of NECEC, including the energy security benefit.
IECG has actively supported NECEC in Maine permit proceedings at the Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Land Use Planning Commission. IECG believes CMP and Maine’s regulators have eliminated or mitigated many of NECEC’s environmental impacts. IECG’s participation has confirmed that NECEC would meet a large portion of New England’s energy needs with the least impact and at lowest cost.
As IECG’s representatives have stated, NECEC is a critical climate change solution for several reasons. First, NECEC provides Maine with 110 MW (at Maine’s option) of renewable electricity, available to help Maine meet its own climate goals. Second, NECEC provides a package of transmission-related upgrades that will facilitate the development of in-state renewable generation. Third, NECEC will displace fossil fuel generation on a near constant basis, directly reducing regional GHG emissions through incremental hydropower production, while lowering electricity costs for every New England consumer. Lowering electricity costs is an important factor in encouraging consumers to move from fossil fuels for heating and transportation to beneficial electrification. Finally, the benefits package negotiated by IECG, along with Maine Public Advocate Barry Hobbins, will provide Maine (at no cost) with about $250 million of additional benefits, including targeted funds for heat pumps, EVs, offshore wind commercialization, as well as studies related to integrating renewable energy in Maine and decarbonizing the regional economy.
IECG reached these conclusions only by considering lessons learned from decades of active participation in state, regional, and national energy debates, decisions, and non-decisions. NECEC is the product of years of concept development, testing, and competition with other possible solutions. To curb GHG emissions, our society must make effective and efficient choices in a timely manner. NECEC’s approval will be a timely, effective, and efficient climate decision.