Maine Public Utilities Commission to Receive Bids for Northern Maine Transmission and Renewable Generation Projects
On or before May 2, 2022, the Maine Public Utilities Commission has requested bids for proposed transmission and generation resources that would boost energy exports from northern Maine. The northern Maine region has long been viewed as having significant untapped potential renewable energy resources, including wind and wood biomass generation.
The limited extent of investment in potential energy exports from the Maine’s northernmost region stems primarily from the lack of a direct connection between the New England and northern Maine electric grids. Currently, a northern Maine generator’s only pathway to send power to southern Maine or other northeast states is up through the Canadian transmission system in New Brunswick and then down into the New England grid. As a result, exporting power from northern Maine has faced cost prohibitive layers of transmission service charges from the northern Maine, Canadian and New England independent system operators.
In November 2021, the Commission issued a request for proposals (RFP) to help address those current limitations and connect northern Maine with the rest of Maine and New England’s transmission and distribution system. The RFP seeks project bids to construct (1) at least one transmission line of 345-kV capacity or greater and (2) renewable energy resource(s) that will export supply into New England on the proposed transmission line. This RFP resulted from legislation passed in 2021, An Act To Require Prompt and Effective Use of the Renewable Energy Resources of Northern Maine, P.L. 2021, Ch. 380 (Act).