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Updated: October 20, 2023

CMP awarded $30M federal grant to upgrade power grid, will add jobs

File photo / Courtesy, CMP With a $30 million federal grant, Central Maine Power will make technology upgrades aimed at minimizing power outages.

Central Maine Power Co. has been awarded $30 million in federal money to make the state's power grid less susceptible to outages.

The funding will help CMP add intelligent, "self-healing" technologies that reduce the frequency of service disruptions and speed restoration when they occur, according to a news release.

The grant will also allow deployment of a transmission switch program to help prevent electricity system faults, particularly those that could affect disadvantaged communities.

The company said it expects to create 100 jobs during the buildout.

portrait of a man
File photo
Joe Purington

“As Mainers continue to change the way they use electricity, CMP is committed to strengthening our state’s electrical system so it can handle increased threats from climate change,” said Joe Purington, president and CEO. “Our work to build a strong, modern, and clean electric grid is for our customers.”

The project comes weeks before Maine voters are asked to decide whether the state buys out CMP and Versant Power and replaces them with a customer-owned nonprofit utility, dubbed Pine Tree Power.

Gov. Janet Mills is urging voters to reject the proposal, which will appear as Question 3 on the Nov. 7 statewide ballot.

$3.5 billion for projects in 48 states

The $30 million grant for CMP is among $3.46 billion in total funding announced Wednesday for 58 projects in 48 states. The projects aim to improve the delivery of affordable, clean electricity and ensure that communities nationwide have a grid that is prepared for extreme weather worsened by the climate crisis.

Grant funding, established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, comes from the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships Program, managed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office.

“Extreme weather events fueled by climate change will continue to strain the nation’s aging transmission systems, but President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will ensure America’s power grid can provide reliable, affordable power,” said U.S Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

“Today’s announcement represents the largest-ever direct investment in critical grid infrastructure, supporting projects that will harden systems, improve energy reliability and affordability — all while generating union jobs for highly skilled workers.”   

In Maine, CMP said the grant will boost the flexibility, efficiency, reliability and resilience of its electric grid while also better integrating energy resources like solar power.

CMP, a subsidiary of Connecticut-based Avangrid Inc. (NYSE: AGR), is Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution utility. The Augusta-based company serves around 646,000 customers across 346 communities in central and southern Maine with some 23,500 miles of distribution lines and 2,900 miles of transmission lines. 

Over the last decade, the company said, it has invested around $3.5 billion in system infrastructure across the state.

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