Con Ed subsidiary submits proposal for northern Maine transmission project
A subsidiary of national energy company Con Edison Inc. is proposing a major new transmission line in northern Maine.
Con Ed is calling it the Maine Power Link. Plans call for a 1,200 megawatt, high-voltage alternating current transmission line that could connect to the regional grid and unlock the potential for solar, wind and biomass energy projects in the state's vast northern interior.
"We think it's very advantageous and helps Maine to become in essence a clean energy hub for Maine and for the rest of New England," says Stuart Nachmias, the CEO of Con Edison Transmission, which has worked on several energy projects in Maine.
Nachmias says the company was immediately interested when the state Public Utilities Commission sent out its a request for bids last year. He says the company has been engaging stakeholders for several months now.
Eliza Donoghue, advocacy director for Maine Audubon, says the group isn't making judgments yet. But she says that Con Ed's willlingess to talk before securing a specific route contrasts with the way Central Maine Power handled outreach for its big transmission project in western Maine.
"And that's really encouraging," she says. "We need a lot more transmission capacity if we're going to build out renewable energy the way that we need to. And we need to be really mindful about where we're going to put that transmission."
The PUC declined to say how many bids it's received. Responses to a second solicitation — this one to produce the actual electricity the new power line would carry — are due in May.