Instead of "making investments in local renewable generation, combined heat and power, and renewable and competitively-priced heating for buildings that will support local markets and result in additional cost savings, new jobs and economic opportunities, and
environmental gains," it looks like some of the states are depending on this "agreement" to satisfy their energy appetites at the expense of the other states.
Here's how the states plan to implement their agreement:
In the next few months, the governors are expected to issue requests for proposals for 1,200 to 3,600 megawatts of transmission capacity that could carry wind and hydroelectric power from the northern reaches and Canada.
Instead of fostering the development of renewable energy within their own borders, or tapping the incredible resource right off their own shores, the energy hog southern New England states plan to import renewables from another country and run transmission lines through the northern New England states to deliver it.
What's in it for the northern states? Part of the bill!
Massachusetts and Connecticut are driving the push to bring clean hydropower from Canada to help the states meet their clean-energy goals. But the other four states — Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine — agreed through the New England States Committee on Electricity, made up of state utility officials from the six states. They have agreed to share the costs because they would benefit from the overall reduction in energy costs, although the details of how that would be done remain to be worked out.
Because Massachusetts and Connecticut don't want any of that nastiness mucking up their views.
This "agreement" was never about true diversification of generation. It's about increasing centralized generation and reliance on imported energy. And it's about corporate schemes to make money by smoothing the way to build more long distance transmission.
"Many of the proposals have been talked about in utility circles for some time..."
Of course they have, but the transmission developers needed cover to spring their plans on a wary public, and a way to broadly socialize the costs so that the burden on any one customer would be overlooked as minor.
The transmission developers and their pet Governors are even rewriting history, putting the egg before the chicken by pretending that the past winter's delivery issues were the impetus for the "agreement" that was signed before the problems occurred.
So, a whole stable of eager transmission developers are chomping at the bit to have their project selected as the winner of the ratepayer-guaranteed profits. Several proposals have been made. In addition to stupid overhead projects like the parasitic Northern Pass, Anbaric has proposed a project that it says will be buried, both on land and offshore.
A 300-mile power cable would be buried on land in Maine and then run across the Atlantic Ocean floor to greater Boston under a proposal to tap Canada’s plentiful hydropower to meet the needs of power-hungry southern New England.
Other "clean" energy companies operating under a merchant model are caught in a desperate cost control game in order to keep their projects cost competitive. Merchant transmission projects depend on energy markets for their existence. If a merchant transmission owner can cover its own expenses to ship energy long distance and make a profit, then it is economic to build. However, if a merchant transmission company's cost of service increases because it has to spend more to bury cable to make landowners happy, then it is no longer economic and will not be built. Sounds fair, right? But, what if the merchant developer wanted the power of eminent domain to take land cheaply for an overhead route, instead of having to please landowners during a fair, open market right of way negotiation process that could include the requirement to spend more money burying the line? That would be the best of both worlds for the transmission developer -- depending on the artificial influence of eminent domain to keep its project costs in check to ensure market competitiveness. This is perhaps the single biggest flaw in Clean Line Energy's plan. Merchant projects should NEVER be granted a utility's eminent domain authority because they are not needed for reliability or economic purposes and depend completely on the economics of the market for existence, therefore they should also be forced to compete in unfettered real estate markets to bring their projects to reality. If it costs too much to obtain right of way in a free market, then the project is not economic.
But, I digress.
New England has a lot of work to do to craft a real, sustainable energy plan that does not depend on inflicting social and environmental injustice on people in other states or other countries.
the states will hold public meetings to present the region's plan in preparation for bidding process. The meetings will include stakeholders, including environmental groups and developers.