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Maine Supreme Court upholds PUC approval of energy corridor 

Credit:  By David Sharp | AP | March 18, 2020 | apnews.com ~~

The state supreme court has rejected a challenge of utility regulators’ approval of a 145-mile (230-kilometer) power transmission corridor that would serve as a conduit for hydropower from Canada.

NextEra Energy Resources appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court after the Public Utilities Commission granted its approval to the $1 billion New England Clean Energy Connect.

In its unanimous ruling, the panel brushed aside NextEra’s complaint that the PUC made a number of errors on its decision.

“The commission followed the proper procedure and there is sufficient evidence in the record to support the findings it made. In short, the commission reasonably interpreted and applied the relevant statutory mandates in arriving at its decision,” the court wrote Tuesday.

A message left for NextEra wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect would allow up to 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to reach the regional power grid to meet Massachusetts’ green energy goals.

Under the proposal, most of the transmission line would follow an established utility corridor, but a new path would be cut through 53 miles (85 kilometers) of wilderness that the power company owns.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Land Use Planning Commissio n already signed off on the project, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection staff last week recommended approval of the project with some stipulations.

Critics say the project creates an unacceptable environmental harm and fails to take into account the potential harm to homegrown solar, wind and biomass projects in Maine. CMP, meanwhile, contends Maine and the region will benefit from lower carbon emissions, reduced fossil fuel usage and stabilized electricity costs.

Mainers could have the final say, however. Opponents of the project collected enough signatures to put the project on the November ballot so state residents could have the final say.

Source:  By David Sharp | AP | March 18, 2020 | apnews.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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