Maine voters reject $950M transmission line for hydropower imports from Canada

Maine voters reject $950M transmission line for hydropower imports from Canada
© Associated Press/Robert F. Bukaty

Maine voters on Tuesday rejected a $950 million power transmission system that would have imported hydropower from Canada, prompting calls for the state's largest electricity provider to halt the project, according to the Bangor Daily News

According to The Associated Press, 59 percent of residents voted against the western Maine power project with 89 percent of the precincts reporting the results Wednesday. 

The proposed transmission line was slated to deliver 1,200 megawatts of power — about the same size as a large nuclear power reactor — from Canadian-based company Hydro-Quebec.

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Electricity customers in Massachusetts are paying for the proposed line, which is a key part of the state's plan to curb emissions. Massachusetts may now be forced to find an alternate project to meet its clean energy goals. 

Northeastern U.S. states have shown increasing interest in importing electricity from Canadian dams in an attempt to reduce the burning of fossil fuels, according to The Wall Street Journal

Opponents of the proposed transmission line have compared the project to an “extension cord stretched through their forested landscape for Massachusetts’ benefit.”

“I call on CMP to stop all construction, as the people of Maine have spoken,” former State Sen. Tom Saviello (R), who led the opposition to the project, told the Journal. 

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Granholm told Maine voters that the line would reduce carbon emissions and cut energy costs, the Journal reported. 

Avangrid Inc., the parent company of Central Maine Power (CMP), which has already spent $350 million on the project, signaled its plans to launch a legal challenge against Tuesday's result. 

“With over 400 Maine jobs and our ability to meet our climate goals on the line, this fight will continue,” CMP’s political committee, Clean Energy Matters, said in a statement Tuesday night, according to the Bangor Daily News.