The Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has been forced to delay development of the Aroostook Renewable Energy Gateway because the developers cannot work for the agreed upon price.
“LS Power made clear in its submission that it can no longer hold to its price, though nowhere in its brief or proposed transmission agreement did LS power indicate what the new price would need to be,” said Chairman Philip Bartlett of the MPUC at a meeting on Thursday.
LS Power was initially set to develop a 160-mile-long power transmission line, which would connect a massive proposed Aroostook County wind power farm to central and southern Maine.
But now the MPUC is delaying the project in order to find another company to develop the line.
The MPUC will now allow other development companies to bid for the contract.
The collapse of the LS Power transmission line plan is just a latest in a series of failed or abandoned “green” energy projects attributed to untenable payment agreements.
In October, wind power giant Orsted scrapped plans for an offshore wind power facility off the coast of New Jersey.
Before that, Central Maine Power’s parent company, Avangrid, paid a massive fee in order to get out of an offshore wind development related to a project off the Massachusetts coast.
The transmission line, which would have connected to the “King Pine Wind Power” facility, has come under heavy criticism from energy ratepayers, landowners, and lawmakers.
The King Pine project is owned by Longroad Energy, a Boston-based company that is 92 percent owned by foreign entities, including the sovereign wealth fund of New Zealand.
The transmission line will increase energy rates for years, as electric bills will be used to pay for the construction of the line over time. Ratepayers will also pay an additional transmission fee to whoever ultimately builds the transmission line.
This additional rate increase would come as Maine has the second-fastest rising energy cost in the country, with an increase of 42 percent since 2019, second only to California’s energy costs.
Northern Maine landowners are concerned because the project may require a significant use of eminent domain to seize the land necessary for the 160-mile-long, 150-foot-wide corridor through the state.
Maine Lawmakers, such as Sen. Lisa Keim (R-Oxford) and Sen. Chip Curry (D-Waldo), and others, have tried to mitigate the damage done to Mainers by the transmission line.
It is still unclear whether any lawmaker attempts will be successful.
Thursday’s delay is not the first setback to plague the MPUC’s project.
Earlier this year, multiple towns on the transmission line’s proposed route, such as Unity, Albion, Palermo, and many others, issued moratoria on high-voltage power lines in their towns in hopes of stopping the transmission line or forcing it to take a different route.
The Aroostook Renewable Energy Gateway is one of multiple unpopular Maine state projects to force “renewable” energy on the state at the expense of taxpayers.
Despite the string of failed offshore wind projects along the Atlantic coast, the Mills Administration and its allies in the legislature have shown no signs of modifying plans to build industrial-scale offshore wind infrastructure on the coast and in the Gulf of Maine.
The state was set to vote on an unpopular measure which would eventually ban gas-powered vehicles in the state, but was forced to delay the vote because of the sweeping power outages throughout the state following the recent storm.
The recent power outages have raised further questions about the power-grid’s ability to support enough electric vehicles to replace all the gas-powered cars in the state.