As part of the team from Transmission Developers Inc. developing the New England Clean Power Link in Vermont, I am compelled to respond to statements attributed to Tom Carroll from Central Maine Power found in a Waterville Morning Sentinel article shown on the Sun Journal website (Nov. 28). It regarded CMP’s New England Clean Energy Connect project and other transmission proposals in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Carroll implies that TDI’s Vermont Project was not thoughtfully developed. That characterization is not accurate as TDI, from the very beginning, took important community, environmental and aesthetic considerations into account when designing and siting the NECPL. TDI carefully chose underground technology specifically to minimize impacts on the people, viewshed and environment of Vermont. We recognized that the additional expense related to underground construction for NECPL was worth the alleviation of a multitude of genuine community and environmental concerns, and that the cost of any project can’t only be measured in dollars.
The NECPL project in Vermont is fully permitted and enjoys widespread support among all the Vermont host towns, primarily because the impacts are minimal. Benefits that Vermonters will enjoy are the result of Vermont acting as hosts of the NECPL project, which, similar to the CMP proposal, is intended to transport electricity from Canada through a northern New England state to southern New England states.
Unlike the CMP proposal, the NECPL does not require clearing to create a new overhead transmission corridor with the associated visual, community and environmental impacts. By comparison, according to CMP’s regulatory filings, the CMP project will result in more than 1,800 acres of clearing, impact 250 vernal pools and 184 acres of wetlands. The permitted NECPL route will result in 48 acres of clearing, no impacts to vernal pools and a total of 5 acres of wetland impacts.
TDI and Vermonters are proud of the low-impact design of the NECPL. The innovative, buried design is the next generation of transmission solutions. Unlike Southern New England states, Vermont and Maine are not in need of large quantities of new energy. For that reason, TDI determined it was appropriate to completely bury the line and provide a benefits package to the host state of Vermont.
The New England Clean Power Link remains the only transmission solution in New England with all major permits and we stand ready to help the region transition to a clean energy future.
Josh Bagnato, Charlotte, Vermont, vice president, project development, TDI