Maine utilities to strengthen grid

Maine’s two largest electric utilities have agreed to develop joint transmission projects to enhance the grid’s ability to transmit bulk power, and to provide access for wind and other new generation resources.

Central Maine Power (CMP) and Emera Maine have identified a number of potential projects that would improve links between southern New England and northern Maine, where private developers are proposing more than 2.1GW of new wind generation capacity.

The utilities, which serve more than 95% of Maine’s homes and businesses, signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines two initial phases of work.

The first will the feasibility of each project including technical feasibility, public policy, regulatory considerations and outreach to other potential parties to the project. Phase two will include all development activities from design, engineering, siting, through construction bidding.

The partnership comes in response to a call by the six state governors in New England for investments in the region’s energy infrastructure to diversify the energy portfolio, now heavily dependent on expensive imported fossil fuels.

Iberdrola acquired CMP in 2008. The utility has operated in the southern third of Maine since 1898.

Emera Maine, which includes the former Bangor Hydro Electric and Maine Public Service, serves in eastern and northern Maine. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nova Scotia based Emera.

“Electric transmission can be a significant challenge to new low/no-emitting generation sources seeking to enter our New England market,” says Emera Maine president Gerard Chasse.