AUGUSTA – Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage on Tuesday applauded a regional effort that seeks to bring Canada’s competitively priced hydroelectric power to Maine and New England.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont have launched an initiative to secure cleaner, cheaper power options by importing large amounts of hydro into New England. According to a statement from the Governor’s Office, the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) will evaluate the expansion of large hydro and create a strategic plan to be presented to New England Governors later this year.
Gov. LePage has long said he would like to lift the 100-megawatt limit on renewable sources of energy, which would allow Maine to import significantly more hydro from Quebec.
Canadian representatives have expressed a desire to sell electricity into Maine, but the renewable energy requirements mean doing so is not financially viable.
“Lowering the cost of energy is vital to making our business climate more competitive,” said LePage. “I continue to push for energy policies that will allow Maine to import clean, renewable and affordable hydro power, which will provide our businesses with electricity at lower rates. The plan by NESCOE will allow us to partner with the entire region and get for the most affordable prices for the Maine ratepayer.”
According to the LePage Administration, hydropower is a win-win for Maine. The benefits they tout include reducing and stabilizing electricity prices; enhancing fuel diversity; increasing electric grid reliability; reducing environmental impact from the energy sector; and encouraging energy resources from within the region.
Other New England governors have also given positive reviews to the regional effort.
“It makes sense to work with our regional partners to bring more of this clean energy resource to New England,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
“Vermont has long worked to have a diverse mix of green, clean sources of electricity that can address climate change in a way that is affordable for ratepayers, and hydropower is an important part of furthering those goals,” said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.
Patrick Woodcock, director of the governor’s Energy Office, said the new initiative is something LePage has envisioned since he first took office.
“This is a critical step in moving forward with this objective,” said Woodcock. “Maine welcomes this leadership from the State of Massachusetts, as well as our regional partners, and looks forward to collaborating to bring additional hydroelectricity to New England and ultimately developing a true regional renewable energy market.”