The other side of climate ‘lawfare’: Maine hydropower project sparked a $100m ‘hoohah’

Posted: July 11, 2022 by oldbrew in democracy, Energy, Legal
Tags: ,

[credit: green lantern electric]

Court actions by so-called green groups are commonplace, but there’s legal pushback from another quarter – against intrusive electricity generation schemes favoured by climate obsessives, with a perceived lack of benefits. Not everyone is buying the endless climate fear campaign.
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A proposal to transport clean hydropower from Canada to the state of Maine has created enough “hoohah” to launch a fierce court battle – possibly signalling trouble for the future of green energy projects across the US, says BBC News.

New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) was supposed to be an industry-leading project, transporting 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to Massachusetts across 145 miles (233 km) of transmission line, and eliminating over three million metric tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

The $1bn (£840m) project, funded by utility company Hydro-Quebec and Central Maine Power (CMP), which is owned by the Spanish energy giant Avangrid, received final approvals, including a Presidential Permit from the US Department of Energy. Construction began in January 2021.

Now, the hydropower project could be dead in the water, after a majority Mainers voted to cancel it last November.

The legality of that referendum, as well as the lease for a one-mile stretch of public lands, is currently before the Maine Supreme Court, which could issue its decision any day.

If the court sides with opponents, and the corridor is not allowed to proceed as planned, Hydro-Quebec could lose out on $10bn in future revenue from this project.

It could also signal trouble for the future of other clean energy projects in the US, at a time when many states are trying aggressively to green their power grid to offset the effects of climate change and rising fuel costs.

“We can’t succeed if every wind project, every solar energy project, every hydro project… is going to become challenged,” said Orlando Delogu, a professor emeritus at the University of Maine School of Law who supports the corridor and has worked as an advisor in the fight over the project.

But the project received pushback from the start. Tom Saviello, a former state senator, got involved with the opposition in 2018.

“For that kind of deal it wasn’t worth it. I wanted Maine to be treated right and it weren’t,” he said. “We’re giving up a lot for getting nothing.”

In Maine – a state where some say you’re not considered a local unless you were born there – he was wary of a project that seemed chiefly geared to benefit a Canadian utility and the state’s southern neighbour of Massachusetts, which signed a 20-year contract with NECEC’s backers to receive the bulk of the power.

Full article here.
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Also in the news:
Court blocks Pennsylvania’s carbon emissions plan

Meet Reggie:
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – ‘the first mandatory market-based program to reduce some greenhouse gas emissions by the United States.’

  1. […] The other side of climate ‘lawfare’: Maine hydropower project sparked a $100m ‘hoo… […]

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