Letter to the editor: Maine’s highest court should allow power line to proceed

Article Republished By Javier Troconis

The Law Court will soon hear Avangrid’s appeal of the New England Clean Energy Connect ban. Let’s look at what’s at stake.

Central Maine Power utility lines are seen in Pownal. Construction work on CMP’s New England Clean Energy Connect line has been halted as the result of a voter-approved ban that’s being challenged in Maine’s highest court. Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press, File

NECEC’s contract with Massachusetts utilities requires it to deliver 1.2 megawatts of clean, secure hydropower at a fixed price of 5.1 cents per kilowatt-hour for 20 years. In March, average New England wholesale electricity prices were 6.6 cents per kWh.

If the NECEC line were in service today, it would deliver power at a cost that’s 22 percent below current wholesale rates. That is just the direct price comparison, and doesn’t reflect the market price reduction if NECEC bumps costly gas generators out of the market, further lowering overall prices. Maine is part of the New England grid, and Mainers would benefit from these price reductions as they flow through the system.

And who knows how much higher power prices will go, driven by the cost of natural gas? Natural gas provides 53 percent of the power in the New England grid, and the wholesale cost of electricity in New England is closely linked to the cost of natural gas. The cost of natural gas in New England is up 96 percent over the past 12 months. Natural gas prices are spiking all over the world because of war, supply disruptions and a host of other factors.

We need NECEC to reduce our dependence on natural gas, reduce energy prices and limit our exposure to the dangerous world we live in. It’s that simple.

Let’s hope the Law Court will allow NECEC to proceed, for all our benefit.

Dan Amory

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