New Transmission Line to
September 17, 2004
BANGOR, Maine -- Bangor Hydro-Electric Company today announced the "Consolidated Corridors Route" as the preferred route for the Northeast Reliability Interconnect project, a proposed new 345 kV transmission line connecting eastern Maine with New Brunswick, Canada. One of five route options under consideration since Sept. 2003, the Consolidated Corridors Route was chosen based on a matrix of nearly 70 criteria developed with feedback from state and federal environmental review agencies, major landowners and interest groups.
The Consolidated Corridors Route generally parallels the existing MEPCO Transmission Line from Orrington, Maine to the Stud Mill Road. The route then follows the Stud Mill Road and the natural gas pipeline right-of-way to cross the international border at Baileyville, Maine. While neither the shortest nor the least costly route considered, the Consolidated Corridors Route will require the least amount of virgin right-of-way and will impact the fewest number of individual landowners.
The Consolidated Corridors Route is co-located with existing road and utility corridors for 96 percent of its length, minimizing environmental impacts and allowing construction and maintenance access via the Stud Mill Road. This type of co-location is consistent with the regulatory preference to co-locate utility projects wherever feasible. Bangor Hydro selected this route based on feedback from stakeholders and the Natural Resources Council of Maine's intervention and opposition to a previous route that was co-located for only 26 percent of its length.
"We are confident that locating the transmission line along the Consolidated Corridors Route best achieves the project purpose while balancing landowner, environmental and economic considerations," said Rob Bennett, Bangor Hydro's General Manager of Asset Management.
The Consolidated Corridors Route was selected on the basis of evaluation criteria measuring such factors as project purpose, impacts to wetlands, rare plants, wildlife, fisheries, recreational resources, archeological sites and project cost. Bangor Hydro received valuable input on environmental, engineering and cost criteria for the project throughout the year-long analysis and selection process.
"Feedback from stakeholders will continue to be important during the next phase of the project as we refine or 'micro-site' the route, minimizing the impact to sensitive resources," said Bennett. "As we move forward, the exact placement of the line will be carefully refined at each point from Orrington to Baileyville."
Once built, the NRI will improve the reliability and overall stability of the existing transmission system, increase the electric transmission import/export capabilities between Maine, New England and the Maritimes, and improve the efficiency of the existing system by reducing the electric energy lost during transmission. The NRI will also expand economic access to the US electric grid for residents in Washington and Aroostook counties. Furthermore, the benefits of the NRI will be felt across all of New England and the Canadian Maritimes.
"This transmission line is critical not only to Washington County, but to the entire State and region. The blackout on August 14, 2003 clearly demonstrates that we can no longer take for granted the reliability of the regional transmission system," stated Senator Ed Youngblood, member of the Maine Legislature's Utilities and Energy Committee. Although Maine shares over 600 miles of border with Canada, there is only one bulk transmission line linking the two regions and their electrical system operations. Providing a parallel path to the existing aging line, is a prudent measure to address both system reliability issues and economic opportunities.
Public outreach efforts will continue throughout the permitting phase of the project in order to share information and to receive further input that will factor into route adjustment decisions for specific localized concerns. Federal Department of Energy and state Department of Environmental Protection permitting processes will consider public comments as well. Public notice of those sessions will be issued well in advance. Parties interested in more information on the project are invited to contact the Company directly at 1-800-499-6600 extension 2568 or through the website at: www.bhe.com/nri
Bangor Hydro-Electric Company: Bangor Hydro-Electric Company (BHE) is an electric utility wholly-owned by Emera Inc. BHE serves a population of 192,000 in an area encompassing 5,275 square miles in eastern and east coastal Maine and provides electricity transmission and distribution service to 107,000 customers. BHE is a member of the New England Power Pool and is interconnected with other New England utilities to the south and with the New Brunswick Power Corp. to the north. Visit us at www.bhe.com.
Emera Inc. (EMA-TSX) is an energy and services company with 570,000 customers and $4.0 billion in assets. The core business of Emera is electricity and the company has two wholly-owned regulated electric utility subsidiaries, Nova Scotia Power Inc. and Bangor Hydro-Electric Company. Nova Scotia Power supplies over 95% of the electric generation, transmission and distribution in Nova Scotia. Bangor Hydro provides electricity transmission and distribution service to 107,000 customers in eastern Maine. It is a member of the New England Power Pool, and is interconnected with the other New England utilities to the south and with New Brunswick Power to the north. In addition Emera owns a 12.9% interest in the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, which delivers Sable natural gas to markets in Maritime Canada and the northeastern United States; Emera Energy Services which manages energy assets on behalf of third parties and provides related services; and Emera Fuels, which distributes home heating oil and related products to customers in the Maritime provinces. Visit Emera on the web at www.emera.com.
Related Historical Information:
Enlarged View from their Site
From MEPCO (CMP & Emera Maine)
Spanish and Canadian Based Corporations
Maine’s transmission lines are essential energy infrastructure. They move bulk power across the system and help deliver electricity to thousands of businesses and households. As with any type of infrastructure, it is important to maintain and upgrade the system, prepare for future growth and ensure the availability of safe and reliable power at the lowest possible price.
The region needs a new transmission line from the Keene Road substation in Chester, Maine to a new substation in Pittsfield, Maine. This project will relieve congestion, reduce line losses, boost reliability and accommodate new generation from renewable resources.
As a Corridor this would not only allow for a future Gas or Oil Pipeline, but in a nearer future a Nestlé water extraction line from a “proposed” Lincoln location to connect to a St. Albans extraction facility.
It is a collaborative effort of Central Maine Power and Emera Maine and will be developed as a MEPCO project.
The two utilities currently own some land in the towns where this line will be built, but they will need to purchase additional easements to finalize a route for this new transmission line.
RIGHT OF WAY ACQUISITION
Most of the acquisition for this project will take place through easements. An easement is a permanent right granted to another party to use land for a specific purpose. The easements we seek would be for the construction, use, access to and maintenance of transmission lines. The landowner usually retains all other rights. In some circumstances, and if the owner has a preference to sell the land, a purchase “in fee simple” is possible. Unlike an easement, a fee-simple or outright purchase is an actual transfer of ownership and rights to the land.
When we approach an owner, we respect how important that land is to an individual or family. Therefore we work with the owner to decide on a location on their land that works for them. We are also committed to paying fair market value.
When an agreement is reached, we usually seek to first acquire an “option” for the easement or land. An option is an agreement through which the owner commits to sell at an agreed-upon price for a stated period of time (usually two years). If the buyer decides to complete the purchase - or “exercise” the option - the option payment is applied to the total purchase price. If the option is not exercised, the landowner keeps the option payment.
MEPCO covers the cost of most surveying, title work, and legal documentation for both types of right-of-way acquisitions.
Small Interconnect needed from SMR to the MEPCO corridor.
It is surmised that Wind Power proposed projects from Aroostook County are awaiting approval of a competitive bid from ISO-NE prior to construction.
An alternative route is to feed back through Canada and interconnect with the underwater Atlantic Link. This would save thousands of acres of Maine’s forests.
Some resistance has formed in Corinna with a Moratorium effort to allow time for the Planning Board to update the Community’s plans for its future.
LePage wants to develop a new gas pipeline from Quebec
The governor says a new gas line could lower prices in Maine, but it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and some people at a conference in Falmouth say the idea is unrealistic.
Existing Line - or - New line
If Atlantic Bridge is stalled into 2019, Silkman said, Appalachian gas could be routed through Ontario and Quebec and into western Maine on the Portland National Gas Transmission System pipeline, which connects with the Maritimes line in Westbrook. That roundabout path has been used in recent years but increases the cost of gas, according to Silkman, an economist and national expert on gas markets.
Atlantic Bridge customers on the Maritimes line are distribution companies, power plants and a paper mill. They include Bangor Gas, Casco Bay Energy, Maine Natural Gas, Summit Natural Gas of Maine, Woodland Pulp and Unitil, which is an “anchor” participant in the project. PPH Link
Would this new Gas Line sought by LePage travel the same ROW as the proposed CMP transmission line?
Since the CMP transmission line is designated as a Corridor, this may be the ultimate intent.
Why is this new CMP ROW width nearing 1,400 feet wide in some locations? Why through Maine at all other than interconnect more Wind along the way.
WCHS6 Video link
that suggests Maine will be used again for Southern New England
CMP unveils plan that could quench LePage’s thirst for
Maine Power Express
CLEAN ENERGY TRANSMISSION FROM MAINE UNDERGROUND/UNDERWATER DIRECTLY TO BOSTON
The Maine Power Express (MPX), is a proposed 1,040 MW HVDC transmission line to be 100% buried underground in an existing energy corridor and underwater, direct to Boston, MA. MPX is a partnership of Maine Power Express, LLC, and Con Edison Transmission, Inc.
MPX has partnered with County Line Wind to bid clean energy from Maine into the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP at www.macleanenergy.com. County Line Wind is a 630 MW wind facility located on forestry lands in Penobscot and Aroostook Counties in northern Maine. These significant wind resources will be delivered directly to Boston on the MPX. Read more here.
- A 1,040 MW (± 320kV) AC/DC Converter Station in Southern Aroostook County, ME
- A 103-mile underground HVDC transmission line, buried in an existing energy corridor to Searsport, ME
- A 200-mile submarine HVDC transmission line, under the ocean to Boston, MA
- A DC/AC Converter Station at the east end of Massport Conley Terminal
- A 1.5-mile 345kV AC transmission line buried between the Converter Station and the existing 345kV K Street Substation in Downtown Boston, MA
- ISO-NE Queue position #506 with Draft System Impact Study issued