The letter from Thorn Dickinson, President & CEO of New England Clean Energy Connect Transmission, LLC, that appeared in the January 15, 2021 issue of the Daily Bulldog, began with a reasonable salutation. But is the content accurate?
The name “Clean Energy Corridor” is a fictional creation of CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola meant to sell the NECEC project to Maine people. In its application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola refers to it as the “transmission line”, “electric transmission line” and “transmission corridor.” Click on:
Hydro power is not clean energy, as proven by research from the Washington State University and the testimony of Dr. Bradford Hager, professor of Earth Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), at the hearing before the Army Corp of Engineers. Nowhere in the application from CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola is reference made to a “Clean Energy Corridor.”
The NECEC project began as a for profit venture in response to a bid solicitation from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. When strong opposition emerged, CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola transformed the NECEC project into a clean energy undertaking that allegedly would benefit Mainers by reducing greenhouse gas missions. That strategy has had some success, as certain press and news media in Maine refer to the NECEC project as the “Clean Energy Corridor.” “Tell a lie often enough and the people will believe it.” (Source: Vladimir Lenin)
The $320 million in contracts awarded for the NECEC project have gone mostly to out-of-state companies: Irby Corporation in Mississippi; Northern Clearing in Wisconsin; and, Sargent Electric in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If you believe that these companies will hire Maine workers rather than bring their own skilled workforce, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I will sell you.
The 500,000-megawatt hours of electricity that Hydro-Quebec will supply to Maine from the transmission line at a discounted rate will reduce monthly electric rates for CMP customers by 12 cents, according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine. The $170 million in benefits that were part of the stipulation agreement with the Maine Public Utilities Commission will be spread over 20 to 40 years and, thus, only reduce monthly electric rates for CMP customers between 35 cents and 68 cents. Financial support for electric heat pumps and electric car charging stations in the stipulation agreement already are being provided by other private and public entities.
Opposition to the NECEC project is being led by volunteers from Maine, who are committed to saving the environment and scenic beauty of the western Maine mountains. The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently granted a temporary injunction, ordering CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola to stop work on the first 53.5 miles of the project until the legal claim brought by the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Appalachian Mountain Club can be reviewed by the justices regarding the type of environmental review undertaken by the Army Corp of Engineers in support of its permit award. A complaint in Maine Superior Court is currently in process, challenging the lease agreement between CMP and the Bureau of Parks and Lands that allows CMP/Avangrid/Iberdrola to use a one mile long by 300-foot-wide swath of public reserved land in Johnson Mountain Township and West Forks Plantation for the transmission line corridor without legislative approval.