Maine Public Service Co. (MPS) and Central Maine Power Co. (CMP) announced plans to construct a 345-kV transmission line from central Maine to Northern Aroostook County.

The Maine Power Connection (MPC), a joint project of MPS and CMP, will connect Northern Maine to the CMP and New England electric grid to provide MPS customers with access to competitive electric power markets and to support the development of proposed wind generation projects in Aroostook County. Presently, MPS does not have a connection to the New England grid or adequate capacity to handle burgeoning requests for transmission connections from wind developers.

Brent Boyles, CEO of Maine Public Co., said “We plan to invest $625 million to build a 200-mile 345kV transmission line and related substations from the Detroit area to Northern Aroostook County. The Maine Power Connection will enable the development of wind generation projects estimated at $1.6 billion, providing tremendous economic and environmental benefits to Northern Maine and the entire region.”

“We are excited to be working with Maine Public Service on such an important project,” said Sara Burns, president of Central Maine Power Co. “Creating access to renewable resources is critical to gaining control of our electricity costs here in Maine, and it’s essential to reaching our environmental goals. Through this partnership, northern Maine can be a leader in those efforts, while expanding their local employment and tax base.”

Boyles described important public benefits of the Maine Power Connection, including:

  • Provides competitive regional electricity costs for customers in northern Maine;
  • Enhances market access for renewable energy sources, enabling 800 MW of wind development;
  • Improves system reliability for northern Maine, Maine and New England;
  • Reduces carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants;
  • Reduces dependency on fossil fuels and foreign oil;
  • Adds $25 to $30 million annually to local property tax revenues;
  • Creates green jobs and stimulates new R&D initiatives in Aroostook County.

The companies plan to file the project this week with the Maine Public Utilities Commission.