January 23, 2020
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Massachusetts taps Northern Pass for hydropower project over CMP bid

Central Maine Power Co. | BDN
Central Maine Power Co. | BDN
Central Maine Power Co.'s New England Clean Energy Connect bid project would have linked hydropower from Quebec to the New England grid. CMP bid with Hydro Quebec on that line and another proposal with NextEra for new wind, solar power and electricity storage in western Maine. Courtesy Central Maine Power Co.

BOSTON — Massachusetts has given preliminary approval to Eversource’s Northern Pass proposal to deliver hydropower to the state from Quebec.

State officials on Thursday said the project from the Manchester, N.H.-based company had been selected from among dozens that had submitted bids under a 2016 state law that called for a significant boost to the supply of renewable energy in Massachusetts.

Central Maine Power submitted a $950 million bid, which it said in a telephone press conference last December that it thought would be lower than other bids, even though bids were sealed.

CMP said in an emailed statement to the Bangor Daily News that it is disappointed, but still believes the proposed New England Clean Energy Connect project will contribute to New England’s long-term need for clean, renewable energy.

CMP has been quietly buying up a corridor of land in western Maine from Canada to the Massachusetts border to tap hydropower from Hydro-Quebec and move it south, and plans to keep that project going.

“The company will keep to its permitting schedule to be ready for a construction start by mid-2019,” CMP spokesman John Carroll wrote.

Eversource plans to build a 192-mile transmission line from hydroelectric plants in Canada that will carry power through New Hampshire.

Massachusetts Commissioner of Energy Resources Judith Judson said Northern Pass was selected because it offered the “greatest overall value” to the state and its utility customers.

State officials said the next step will be to negotiate a final contract with Northern Pass before the project is given final approval by utility regulators.

Reporter Lori Valigra of the Bangor Daily News contributed to this story.

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