Governor LePage seeks input on a new era in Maine energy

Posted:  Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 12:45pm
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AUGUSTA – As Governor Paul R. LePage described in his Weekly Radio Address for the week of May 13, he is asking for input from experts regarding how Maine can benefit from the changing energy environment. As states to our south increasingly look to Maine and Canada to meet their renewable energy and low carbon needs, Maine's opportunities and responsibilities increase.

"We want to determine the possible efficiencies and benefits, especially reduced cost to ratepayers, that can be gained by a greater electrical integration of Maine with our neighboring Canadian provinces," stated Governor LePage. "We also want to identify any obstacles to creating a more integrated electricity system between Maine and our neighboring Canadian provinces. For instance, there may be existing cross-border institutions, trade agreements or other mechanisms that could facilitate such improved integration."

The Governor has directed the Governor's Energy Office to work with the Public Utilities Commission and the Public Advocate to report on the issues Maine should consider in this changing energy world. He also asked Maine's electric utilities, gas utilities and consumer electricity groups to identify issues to be considered by his Administration and the next to reduce the energy costs and improve the lives of Maine citizens. The goal is to reduce the costs of electricity for Maine's ratepayers.

Governor LePage invites contributions from regional, state and international organizations with responsibility for electricity and energy supply and reliability, such as ISO-New England, Northern Maine Transmission Corporation and North American Electric Regulatory Council, with specific attention addressing the following:

-What are the possible efficiencies and other benefits, to include cost reductions, to be gained by a greater electrical integration of Maine with our neighboring Canadian provinces?
-What are the obstacles to a more integrated electricity system among Maine our neighboring Canadian provinces?
-Are there existing cross-border institutions, trade agreements or other mechanisms that could facilitate such improved integration? If not, what mechanisms might be created?
-What contribution to greater integration might be provided by Maine statutory mechanisms such as Maine's Corridor Statute, Standard Offer Purchases, issuances of Certificates of Public -Convenience and Necessity and the granting of Siting Approvals?
-To what extent can Maine assist in ensuring the transmission of natural gas to and from Quebec and the Maritime Provinces?
-To what extent can Canada assist in the supply of natural gas to Maine?
-What are the differences in our energy supply systems that must be considered, such as voltages, reliability standards, market rules and structures and similar issues?
-Are there inherent benefits or limitations to the Canadian energy policy and decision-making systems of which Maine should be aware in seeking greater integration?
-Are there Canadian concerns about Maine, ISO-NE or federal energy policy that should be addressed?
-What role can greater integration with Canada's electric system play in meeting Maine and regional climate objectives?
-What resources are available to contribute to these analyses?

High-level papers identifying opportunities and noting benefits, risks and possible concerns should be sent to the Office of the Governor by June 30, 2018. Upon review of the first round of papers, the Administration will identify concepts for further development.