Maine Supreme Court Rules Referendum on New England Clean Energy Connect Unconstitutional
ORANGE, Conn. — August 13, 2020 — Today the Maine Supreme Court issued a ruling that found the proposed citizen’s initiative on the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) unconstitutional. The NECEC is a renewable energy project being built by AVANGRID (NYSE: AGR) to bring hydropower from Quebec to Maine and other parts of New England. Opponents had proposed a referendum to block the project.
“This ruling by the Maine Supreme Court is a victory for Maine and all of New England, putting us on a path toward a cleaner energy future that benefits the state and the region both environmentally and economically,” said AVANGRID Deputy CEO, Robert Kump. “The NECEC is a significant renewable energy project that will help address the climate crisis, removing millions of metric tons of carbon from our air annually. The project will also provide hundreds of jobs and increased property tax revenues for Maine and result in lower energy prices across New England. We now look forward to completing the permitting process and getting to work to deliver the benefits of this project.”
The Maine Supreme Court remanded the case to the Superior Court to enter a declaratory judgment. The court is not requiring an injunction based on its understanding that the Secretary of State will not put the unconstitutional initiative on the ballot based on statements made by Maine’s Assistant Attorney General during oral argument.
The project requires a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers prior to commencing construction and a Presidential Permit from the US Department of Energy is required to enable cross-border transmission from Canada.
ABOUT THE NECEC PROJECT
The New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) is a $950 million investment that will deliver 1,200 megawatts of renewable hydropower to the New England energy grid in Lewiston, Maine. All of the costs will be paid for by Massachusetts electric customers. Once built, the NECEC will be New England’s largest source of renewable energy, representing a fundamental shift away from fossil fuels while simultaneously lowering energy costs in Maine and New England.
The 145-mile transmission line will be built on land owned or controlled by Central Maine Power. The 53 miles of new corridor on working forest land will use a new clearing technique of tapered vegetation; the remaining two-thirds of the project follows existing power lines created for the state’s hydroelectric industry almost a century ago.
The project will create more than 1,600 good-paying jobs during the two-and-a-half-year construction period and provide $200 million in upgrades to Maine’s energy grid, making Maine’s electricity service more reliable. The NECEC will allow more producers of renewable energy in Maine to get their energy on the grid, and because the corridor project will use clean hydropower, it will reduce the use of fossil fuels, cutting three million metric tons of dirty emissions each year.
For more information about the New England Clean Energy Connect, please visit our website at https://www.necleanenergyconnect.org/