- Nov 18, 2021 4:02 am GMT
"When it comes to energy policy and climate action, the lopsided result of a referendum in Maine over a high-voltage transmission project proved yet again that land-use conflicts are the binding constraint on the expansion of renewables in the United States. The rejection of the 145-mile, $1 billion project also showed that the myriad claims being made by politicians and climate activists that we can run our economy solely on renewables are little more than wishful thinking.
On Tuesday, Mainers voted – by a margin of 59% to 41% — to reject the New England Clean Energy Connect project which aims to move Canadian hydropower to customers in Massachusetts. The referendum was a stinging rebuke for the builders of the project. But it’s not yet clear if the vote will kill the line. On Wednesday, Avangrid Inc., the parent company of Central Maine Power and NECEC Transmission LLC, filed a lawsuit in Maine state court challenging the referendum, alleging it violates “both state and federal law.” Avangrid is a subsidiary of the Spanish utility Iberdrola.
While the outcome of the legal battle is uncertain, there is no doubt that high-voltage transmission projects like the one in Maine are deeply unpopular all across the country. As the Portland Press Herald put it, the battle over the NECEC has been 'one of the most divisive and expensive environmental battles in Maine history.'"
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