"$1B Transmission Smack Down May Upend Northeast Renewables"

"The challenge to a $1 billion New England transmission line is raising concerns about how the region’s largest state will now reach its clean energy targets, underscoring the obstacles facing large infrastructure critical for renewables and President Biden’s decarbonization efforts.

The New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), as the line is known, would be the region’s largest single source of low-carbon electricity if it is constructed. Developers want to bring Quebecois hydropower across the border, through Maine and into Massachusetts — the main buyer of the electricity.

In a ballot initiative this month, 59% of Maine voters chose to scramble those plans, by banning construction of “high-impact” transmission lines along the projected path, while requiring a two-thirds approval from the state Legislature for any similar project.

Developers have vowed to keep fighting for their project. But while the line isn’t officially dead yet, observers say the development exemplifies the difficulty of building big, clean power lines, even as Congress and the White House approve policies intended to stoke a nationwide expansion of them."

David Iaconangelo reports for E&E News November 12, 2021.

Source: E&E News, 11/15/2021