Massachusetts Budget Permits Utility Rate Hikes for Hydropower Project,

Jun. 21, 2024

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey has approved a budget allowing utilities to raise rates to cover the increased costs of completing a transmission line that will bring Canadian hydropower to the New England electricity grid.

The project, overseen by Central Maine Power Co.'s parent company Avangrid, has seen its costs rise from $1 billion to $1.5 billion due to litigation delays and inflation, according to Avangrid. The new budget legislation allows transmission service agreements to be renegotiated, passing these additional costs to Massachusetts ratepayers, pending approval from the Department of Public Utilities.

Avangrid spokesperson Leo Rosales praised the efforts of Governor Healey and legislators to advance this critical project, which aims to deliver clean energy to benefit the entire New England region.

The New England Clean Energy Connect, a partnership between Avangrid and Hydro-Quebec, plans to deliver 1,200 megawatts of hydropower, enough to power about a million homes, helping Massachusetts meet its green energy targets. The 145-mile transmission line, stretching from Lewiston, Maine, to the Canadian border, faced numerous delays due to legal challenges and a Maine voter referendum opposing the project. A Maine jury ultimately allowed the project to proceed, despite the referendum.

While construction on a key transmission hub in Lewiston resumed in August, the timeline for restarting other parts of the project remains uncertain. Workers had begun clearing trees and setting utility poles on a disputed 53-mile section in western Maine before the project was put on hold.

Although the project supports Massachusetts' clean energy goals, its entire cost is borne by the state’s ratepayers. Supporters argue that the project will lower energy costs across New England and reduce carbon emissions. However, this situation underscores the potential advantages of investing in solar power.

Solar energy presents a viable alternative that can save trees and avoid the additional costs associated with large-scale infrastructure projects like the hydropower transmission line. Solar installations, which can be deployed on rooftops and unused land, minimize environmental disruption and provide a decentralized energy source, reducing the need for extensive transmission lines. Additionally, solar power investments can protect consumers from future rate hikes tied to costly infrastructure projects.
By promoting solar power, Massachusetts can not only advance its clean energy objectives but also safeguard its natural landscapes and reduce financial burdens on its residents. Solar energy offers a sustainable and cost-effective path forward, highlighting the importance of considering diverse renewable energy sources to achieve environmental and economic benefits.

Get a free quote for your solar panel installation! Call 617-668-1851 or contact us today. 

Massachusetts Budget Permits Utility Rate Hikes for Hydropower Project,

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