Officials at Maine Public Service Co. and Central Maine Power Co. have requested that the Maine Public Utilities Commission defer further action in the Maine Power Connection case for 90 days while they consider various options for formulating the transmission line project. MPS and CMP originally requested authorization on July 1, 2008 (Docket No. 2008-256) to build a 200-mile 345-kV transmission line and related substations to enable development of wind generation projects and connect northern Maine to the New England electricity transmission grid. Based on recent developments and preliminary system impact studies results, the Project Sponsors are now considering several alternatives, which include:

  • Revisiting the physical scope of the MPC Project; and
  • Pursuing alternatives to the market efficiency transmission upgrade model which might include a participant-funded approach such as has recently been proposed by Northeast Utilities and NSTAR, FERC Docket No. EL09-20-000

The Project Sponsors intend to file a report with the MPUC on or before March 31, 2009, describing their efforts.

In addition, Aroostook Wind Energy, LLC, a developer of a wind energy project expected to interconnect to the MPC transmission line, filed a letter with the MPUC, reporting that AWE wished to stop further system impact studies associated with its interconnection request and indicating that changes in the wholesale power market have rendered it uneconomic for them to invest in transmission infrastructure. However, the letter also states that AWE intends to continue its efforts to develop a wind generating facility in Maine.

According to Brent Boyles, president and CEO of MAM, "We continue to seek authorization to build the MPC transmission line in order to promote the development of renewable generation in northern Maine. We are particularly optimistic about the number of developers siting wind projects in our area and throughout Maine, and AWE's stated commitment to continue its development efforts. We are also encouraged by President-elect Obama's call for the development of new transmission infrastructure which promotes the development of renewable resources."