Major power company signs on to wind and hydro transmission project through Maine

PORTLAND, Maine — National Grid, one of the region’s largest utilities, has signed on as a partner in a power transmission project that would link Maine wind projects and Canadian hydropower to population centers in New England.

Massachusetts-based Anbaric Transmission and National Grid on Tuesday announced a partnership to pursue electricity transmission projects, including the 1,000-megawatt Maine Green Line transmission project it originally proposed years ago.

The power line project would be buried through parts of eastern and northern Maine, traveling to Greater Boston along the floor of the Gulf of Maine.

The companies called the partnership the Green Line Infrastructure Alliance, which they said would focus on developing transmission projects to bring onshore wind from Maine and hydropower from eastern Canada into Massachusetts.

Ed Krapels, Anbaric’s chief executive, told The Boston Globe on Tuesday that the partnership gives his company the capital and resources to help finish its Maine Green Line project.

“We’re thrilled that National Grid sees working with Anbaric as a way to help them meet the needs of the region’s energy consumers,” said Krapels said in a prepared statement.

The alliance said on its website that it has identified 2,800 megawatts of transmission projects throughout the region that it anticipates could be delivered incrementally through 2028.

The Globe reported the companies plan to submit their proposal for the Maine Green Line project to federal regulators and regional regulators in 2015 and complete the project by 2020.

The companies said they would meet with stakeholders in coming weeks.

Pittsfield-based Cianbro would take on part of the construction of the Maine transmission project, which could be part of a regional effort to procure more natural gas pipeline capacity and hydropower in order to replace retiring power plants and fight rising electricity prices.

Anbaric’s partnership with National Grid comes after the region’s largest utility, Northeast Utilities, in September partnered with pipeline developer Spectra for a $3 billion project that would increase the region’s access to natural gas.

Utilities regulators in Maine are considering whether electricity ratepayers should support one of many proposals to expand gas pipelines and that discussion is expected to restart at the regional level, where a new fee on all electricity customerson the regional grid could be used to support a mix of new transmission projects.

Judge voids ruling by Maine’s Aho in wind farm case, says it ‘had no rational basis’

Portland Press Herald, March 14, 2014,  Colin Woodard  Staff Writer

The court decision adds to criticism that the actions of Patricia Aho, Maine’s environmental chief, frequently benefit her former employer’s clients.

Patricia Aho, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, is the target of renewed criticism over regulatory action that benefited clients of her previous employer, the Pierce Atwood law firm, where she was a longtime industrial lobbyist.

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