The Maine Public Utilities Commission dismissed Central Maine Power Co.'s and Maine Public Service Co.'s major electric transmission project that would have linked Aroostook County with the New England power grid and enabled Aroostook Wind Energy to build an 800-megawatt wind farm in the County.
The $625 million project, referred to as the Maine Power Connection, would have consisted of a 345 kV transmission line stretching 25 miles between Limestone and a CMP interconnection near Detroit, Maine. However, studies done last year uncovered a technical glitch in how the electricity from the wind farm would enter the grid that could generate blackouts in southern New England, according to the Portland Press Herald. The revelation, in addition to a poor wholesale electricity market, led Aroostook Wind Energy to stop funding for the studies and left the project's fate in question.
The motion to dismiss, which the PUC granted, was filed by four groups that oppose the project as originally proposed -- Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative Inc., Houlton Water Co., Van Buren Light and Power District and the Industrial Energy Consumer Group. The groups filed a similar motion last November, which at the time the PUC denied. The PUC, in its order to dismiss, said conditions surrounding the project had changed and that "the underlying rationale for the [Maine Power Connection] project has evaporated and there is in fact no project before the commission to approve."
The order to dismiss doesn't mean the Maine Power Connection is dead. Because the PUC dismissed the case "without prejudice," CMP and MPS can file a new application if it develops a new proposal. CMP and MPS said they are considering revisions to the project, including changing its physical scope and investigating alternative ways to pay for the project.