Quebec to New England transmission project could be delayed by rival

Here in Maine one of the most controversial public policy issues of recent years has been over a project to connect the massive hydroelectric dams in northern Quebec with the consumers of metropolitan Boston and New England generally via a 154-mile transmission line across western Maine. The project — now under construction and owned by Central Maine Power’s parent company Avangrid — slashes through some 50 miles of undeveloped forest at the outset of its route, a major bone of contention when the project has been perceived as as extension cord string to primarily benefit Maine’s neighbors.

That project has withstood various challenges, won permits and approvals at multiple levels, and even earned the support of Maine Gov. Janet Mills, but it’s facing a new snag: the bitter opposition of one of its rivals, Florida-based energy giant NextEra. As I wrote in the Portland Press Herald recently, the whole transmission project can’t go live until NextEra upgrades a circuit breaker protecting the backup generators at its Seabrook nuclear power station in New Hampshire. And Avangrid says its rival is intentionally dragging its feet so as to throw the project off schedule. Regulators are getting involved. Details in the story.