So-Called New England Clean Energy Connect Not New Clean Energy
NRCM news release
Today, Massachusetts utilities announced agreement on a contract with Central Maine Power (CMP) for its proposed transmission project with Hydro-Quebec. The contract is subject to review and approval by the MA Dept. of Public Utilities and the project still requires approval by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Public Utilities Commission, and Land Use Planning Commission. The contract terms will not be revealed to the public and will still be subject to additional negotiation.
“Climate change is perhaps the greatest environmental threat facing Maine, Massachusetts, and the rest of the region. It is imperative that we accelerate a transition to clean energy (including the more efficient use of energy) to reduce the carbon pollution causing climate change.
“The Natural Resources Council of Maine and many other organizations are deeply concerned that the proposed New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) will not result in a reduction in carbon emissions and may even contribute to an increase.
“Since the proposal was made, evidence has continued to accumulate indicating that the project could shift existing generation of power from one market to another, requiring new generation outside of Quebec to offset sales to Massachusetts along the NECEC. That generation would have additional costs and could have additional greenhouse gas emissions depending on the energy generation choices made to offset the shift.
“We have sought information and evidence from CMP or Hydro-Quebec to allay this concern but have received none. During the multi-year application process for a similar transmission line through New Hampshire (the “Northern Pass” proposal), the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee also asked Hydro-Quebec for evidence of carbon reductions and received none.
“We strongly support the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act and its mandate to reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. However Massachusetts should not participate in an expensive atmospheric accounting trick, removing greenhouse gas emissions from the Massachusetts ledger simply by moving power supply from one market to another.
“We urge decision-makers in Maine and Massachusetts not to approve any project that does not provide strong evidence of an overall reduction in climate-changing pollutants.
“We have many additional concerns about this project, those stemming from a brand new, 53-mile-long corridor cut across Maine’s western mountains, harming forests, streams, wetlands, wildlife, and scenic beauty.
“This project is carefully designed to maximize profits for CMP and Hydro-Quebec, but it is a bad deal for Maine.”
 Cite Bodell testimony
 The New Hampshire Committee concluded that: “no actual greenhouse gas emission reductions would be realized if no new source of hydropower is introduced and the power delivered by the Project to New England is simply diverted from Ontario or New York. The record is unclear as to whether the hydropower is new or will be diverted from another region.” New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee. 2018. Decision and Order Denying Application for Certificate of Site and Facility. March 30. P. 161. Accessed at https://www.nhsec.nh.gov/projects/2015-06/orders-notices/2015-06_2018-03-30_order_deny_app_cert_site_facility.pdf