February 1, 2023

Wind-generated electricity from Aroostook County to the rest of New England was approved January 31, 2023 when Maine state regulators at the Public Utilities Commission made their ruling.

“These projects,” said PUC Chair Philip Bartlett, “will provide significant benefits to Maine and the region, including jobs during construction, property tax revenue for local communities and environmental benefits from new renewable energy displacing fossil fuels. The influx of renewable energy into the regional grid will also place downward pressure on electricity prices, benefitting consumers in Maine and throughout New England.”

The PUC estimated a pair of wind-power and transmission projects would cost ratepayers $1 billion for a 60 percent share of the electricity output from what would be the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi River. That would add $1 a month to a typical residential electric bill for 10 years. The cost would be offset by the projects’ economic and environmental upside, according to the PUC. Ultimately, the step is destined to open the door to other clean-energy generation in northern Maine.

Maine’s share of the power would be purchased by either Central Maine Power or Versant Power, or both. By law, neither company supplies or generates electricity.

The unanimous vote by the three commissioners came roughly a month after Massachusetts officials directed their electric distribution companies to enter into long-term contracts for up to 40 percent of the transmission project’s service payments for up to 20 years. That cost sharing was crucial to the PUC’s calculus that the projects would save Maine customers money over time.

Maine is perfect for land based wind power with ample hills and mountains. Before this project the largest was located in Bingham, Maine.

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