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March 28, 2018

CMP's $950M New England Clean Energy Connect bid emerges the winner

Courtesy / CMP Central Maine Power Co. President and CEO Doug Herling got some good news today, with Massachusetts announcing it was selecting CMP's $950 million New England Clean Energy Connect proposal after the Northern Pass Hydro transmission failed to meet a March 27 deadline.
Courtesy / CMP
Map showing Central Maine Power's New England Clean Energy Connect transmission proposal to connect Hydro-Quebec power to the New England power grid.

Central Maine Power is in and Eversource Energy is out, as Massachusetts announced today it was terminating its conditional selection of the Northern Pass Hydro transmission project in New Hampshire and instead selecting CMP’s $950 million New England Clean Energy Connect proposal.

The announcement, posted on the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP’s website, stated that the electric distribution companies that put out the RFP “are in the process of concluding contract negotiations with the New England Clean Energy Connect 100% Hydro project (“NECEC Hydro”) and intend to execute agreements with NECEC Hydro for submittal to the Department of Public Utilities, assuming negotiations are concluded successfully.”

Today’s announcement is the latest twist in the Bay State’s efforts to secure 20-year power purchase agreements to meet ambitious clean energy goals. The Massachusetts Clean Energy consortium — which included Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil — initially had selected Eversource Energy’s Northern Pass project on Jan. 25 as the only winner out of of the 50 proposals responding to its Clean Energy RFP. 

But the Northern Pass project to deliver hydro power from Hydro Quebec hit a roadblock on Feb. 1 when the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee voted 7-0 to reject the 192-mile Northern Pass proposal by Eversource. Shortly after, CMP’s NECEC proposal to deliver 1,200 megawatts of power from Hydro Quebec via a 145-mile transmission line in Maine was selected as the alternative winning bid should Northern Pass fail to meet a March 27 deadline set by the Bay State.

That deadline passed on Tuesday with no decision being made by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee to reverse its earlier rejection.

When NECEC was named as the Bay State’s alternative winning bidder, CMP President and CEO Doug Herling said Maine's largest utility was poised to step in and deliver 1,200 megawatts of clean power to Massachusetts.

"Our applications for state and federal permits are moving forward with the strong support of communities and stakeholders in Maine," Herling said. "We believe the NECEC is a cost-effective response to Massachusetts' needs, and given our experience building projects of greater scale and complexity here in our home state, we're confident we can meet our commitments to the Commonwealth."

CMP submitted applications for all state and federal permits in mid-2017. The company expects to receive state approvals later this year and final federal permits in early 2019.

Conservation Law Foundation issues statement

Conservation Law Foundation released the following statement today in response to Massachusetts’ decision to drop Northern Pass as its clean energy bid winner:

“Taking Northern Pass off the table is the right call for Massachusetts and New Hampshire,” said Greg Cunningham, vice president and director of CLF’s Clean Energy and Climate Change program. “Having been rejected now by two states, the writing is on the wall for Northern Pass — Eversource should pull its plug once and for all.”

Read more

CMP, Hydro Quebec sign 20-year power contract with Massachusetts utilities

Opponents and advocates make their final arguments on CMP's New England Clean Energy Connect

PUC won't decide CMP's $950M transmission line project until March

Sportsman's Alliance of Maine withdraws support for CMP transmission project

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