CMP seeks support to build transmission line

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WILTON — Selectpersons were asked Tuesday to consider signing a letter of support for Central Maine Power’s proposed bids to develop a transmission line from Quebec to Lewiston.

The line would have a small footprint, John Carroll of CMP said, nipping a piece of property off Route 156.

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Towns along a planned CMP corridor, from northern Somerset County southwest to Lewiston, are being asked to endorse the idea as part of CMP’s two bids to transmit power to Massachusetts. The bids are part of 46 being considered, Carroll said. A decision is expected in January.

In response to Massachusetts legislation, An Act Relative to Energy Diversity in 2016, the state put out a request for proposals to bring clean energy power into the state.

CMP’s first bid involves transmissions from Hydro-Quebec, a hydroelectric company. The other involves CMP partnering with NextEra and garnering a collection of wind and solar power from western Somerset and northern Franklin counties, Carroll said.

A nearly 150-mile direct current line follows a corridor from Beattie Township, north of Coburn Gore, down through Farmington and Jay to a new alternating current converter plant built next to the Larrabee Road substation in Lewiston.

“It is good for Maine,” Carroll said. “It will lower energy prices across the region.”

It likely would not lower an electric bill but would keep it less than what it might be as more expensive electric generation sources are pushed out, he said.

Other benefits touted were more jobs over the construction period, about 1,700 jobs per year, over four years; local taxes to host communities, an estimated $18 million in taxes; improvements to the grid and cleaner air, he said.

“Maine would benefit without any costs to CMP ratepayers,” he said. 

Once Massachusetts chooses the proposal, they will pay for it. They want the project completed by the end of 2022, he said.

Some other bids are $1.6 billion to $2 billion. CMP is not revealing its cost to other bidders, but Carroll said it was less than that.

The company had purchased the corridor property before the request for proposals. CMP is also a well-established company that has been around for 120 years, he said.

Carroll was seeking a general letter of support from Wilton to submit with the bids. About 15 towns have already provided similar letters. Both Androscoggin and Franklin County commissioners are supportive, he said.

abryant@sunmediagroup.net

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