FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
By choosing Maine project, Commonwealth can save ratepayers more than $2 billion over high-cost clean energy projects in Vermont or New Hampshire that would significantly increase consumers bills for 20 years
AUGUSTA, Maine, January 11, 2018 Central Maine Power (CMP), a subsidiary of diversified energy and utility company AVANGRID (NYSE: AGR), today released an advertisement questioning why Massachusetts electric ratepayers should pay over $2 billion more over a 20-year period for clean energy transmission projects in Vermont or New Hampshire when Central Maine Power's lower-cost transmission project in Maine, the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), carries substantially lower construction expenses while delivering more clean, large-scale hydropower energy for New England than competing projects.
The cost differential includes $650 million in construction savings and hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidy savings payments that provide no benefits to Bay State utility customers, but are needed to finance higher cost proposals for large-scale hydropower transmission projects in New Hampshire or Vermont.
Central Maine Power's transmission project in Maine, the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), is poised to deliver more clean, large-scale hydropower energy for New England than competing proposals, and its lower construction cost in comparison to competing proposals would save consumers more than $2 billion in costs over the 20-year contract for energy. The NECEC would cost $950 million to build, while competing projects to deliver hydropower from Qubec have reported costs of $1.6 billion. Expenses related to the $650 million difference in upfront costs will mount to more than $2 billion in overall costs to utility customers over the life of the contract.
"We planned carefully to ensure control of a suitable project right-of-way while leveraging more than $1 billion in recent investments into the New England electricity grid, said Thorn Dickinson, vice president, Business Development for Avangrid Networks. "Where you build can make a huge difference in what it costs to secure corridor rights and the approvals for a transmission line. The NECEC delivers the same supply from Canada as similar projects, but our lower cost would mean savings of $2 billion or more for customers over the 20-year agreement."
CMP was able to propose a more economical project by selecting a route that avoids expensive payments to build under public roads or waters, while earning overwhelming community support for its economic and environmental benefits. Central Maine Power's project, which largely takes advantage of existing utility corridors and working woodlands in western Maine, has received letters of support from county and municipal agencies representing communities that would host more than 95 percent of the transmission corridor and substation facilities. Numerous elected officials and economic development agencies have supported the project as well. NECEC remains on track to receive necessary state and federal permitting reviews this year.
"Any of the transmission projects competing to deliver firm hydropower from Qubec will deliver the same greenhouse gas reduction benefits to Massachusetts over the course of a 20-year power purchase contract, so the question facing Bay State utility customers could not be clearer: "Why select a project that will add billions of dollars to consumers" energy bills over 20 years, when there's a lower-cost option in Maine?" " said Dickinson.
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About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a diversified energy and utility company with more than $31 billion in assets and operations in 27 states. The company owns regulated utilities and electricity generation assets through two primary lines of business, Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks is comprised of eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving approximately 3.2 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables operates more than 6 gigawatts of owned and controlled renewable generation capacity, primarily through wind and solar, in 22 states across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,800 people. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
About CMP: Central Maine Power Company (CMP) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR). As Maine's largest electricity transmission and distribution utility, CMP serves 618,000 homes and businesses, representing about 80% of Maine's customer base. J.D. Power and Associates has ranked the company #1 in customer satisfaction seven times. For more information, visit www.cmpco.com.
NECEC Project Spokesman