- New England governors will issue requests for proposals in the next few months for 1,200 to 3,600 MW of transmission capacity to bring wind and hydropower from Canada and northern Maine to their region, where natural gas shortages and prices this winter brought home a desire to beef up supply with renewable power from the northern neighbor that has a lot of it.
- Proposals have been on the table for a long time, but “urgency has probably increased as a result of the events in January,” said Tom Dunn, the president of VELCO, which manages the transmission grid in Vermont.
- Among the existing transmission proposals is the Green Line, a 300-mile project featuring buried cable under land in Maine that would then run on the ocean floor to the Boston area. Another is the Northeast Energy Link, led by Nova Scotia-based Emera, whose project would also go through Maine. Other projects would go through New Hampshire and Vermont.
Proponents of transmission development see a new level of interest and unity in the New England governors group, spurred by the fact that tight gas pipeline capacity to the region continued to create cold-weather power price pain. Adding to future supply and price worries is the prospective shutdown of Entergy's Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. But building transmission in New England is challenging because of landowner and environmental opposition. Conventional generators in the region have also fought big power imports, seeing a massive influx of northern supply as a serious blow to their business.