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US agency issues environmental permit for NECEC project [free access]

November 6, 2020

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)—an engineer formation of the US Army involved in the management of military construction and civil works—has issued a federal environmental permit for the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) transmission line project.

 

 The proposed NECEC project, being developed by Central Main Power (CMP), will provide a new link through a ±320 kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line between Québec in Canada and the New England grid.

 

From the US/Canadian border, the line will run through a forest area for 53-mile (85-km) before merging with an existing CMP-owned transmission line right-of-way (ROW) in The Forks, Somerset County, Maine. The power line will run a total of 145-mile (234-km) to connect with a new DC/AC converter substation, which will be located in Lewiston, Maine. The new line, in combination with additional smaller improvements at various facilities in Maine, will have the capacity to deliver up to 1,200 MW of power from Québec to Massachusetts. The Canadian segment is being developed by Hydro-Québec, by the name of Appalaches–Maine Interconnection.

 

The scope of work for Appalaches–Maine Interconnection comprises construction of a ±320 kV, 100-km-long power line between Appalaches substation in Saint-Adrien-d’Irlande municipality, Quebec and a connection point on the Québec–Maine border. A new AC-to-DC converter will be installed at Appalaches substation to supply the planned Appalaches–Maine power line.

 

The USACE permit is being regarded as a significant milestone, as it enables the launch of the construction work in Maine by CMP. The latter must also receive authorisation from the US Department of Energy (DoE) as well as municipal-level permitting in Maine, before it can construct all of the new interconnection’s components in the US.

 

For its part, Hydro-Québec would need to obtain approvals from the Quebec government and the Canada Energy Regulator before it can commence the deployment of the new interconnection line in Quebec.