BINGHAM — Being told that a proposed power transmission corridor through areas of the state, including The Forks, Starks, Embden, Farmington, Jay and all the way to Lewiston will not be fed by industrial wind wasn’t convincing many people Thursday night.

Central Maine Power Co. called a public information meeting at Upper Kennebec Valley High School in Bingham to lay out their plans for the power lines that they say will bring hydro power from Canada to Massachusetts.

Barbara Richardson, of Greenville Junction, said she traveled to Bingham because she fears proposed wind turbines in the Moosehead Lake area are all part of the plan by energy producers that would wreck the regional economy.

She said she doesn’t trust them.

“I’m concerned with the future development of wind farms in the Moosehead Lake area of Somerset County and the effect that will have on our tourism business, which is 95 percent of our livelihood,” Richardson said amid the informal gathering of charts and tables of information provided by CMP. “Without these transmission lines in place, they will not be able to sell the wind energy to Massachusetts. This is a critical piece of the puzzle for the power companies.”

Central Maine Power Co. submitted a plan in August to build a 145-mile, high-voltage transmission line through parts of Maine to send hydro-electric power from Quebec to Massachusetts.


CMP’s John Carroll said the project proposal on display Thursday in Bingham is for hydro power, not wind power.

“This has no wind in Maine associated with it,” Carroll said of the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project. He said another, separate CMP transmission project called the Maine Clean Power Connection could include wind power at some point in the future.

The power transmission line would start in Beattie Township, on the Canadian border north of Route 27 and Coburn Gore. Carroll said the corridor would be 300 feet wide at first, then expand to around 500 feet in width in places with 100-foot transmission towers. The line would run south of Jackman to Johnson Mountain Township, skirting West Forks to Moxie Gore and The Forks, where the new line would join the existing line from Harris Station at the head of the Kennebec River.

The line also would run near Caratunk and Moscow to the Wyman Lake hydro station, crossing the Kennebec River south of Bingham into Concord Township. From there the line would run through Embden and Anson and into Starks, Industry and New Sharon to Farmington and on south to Lewiston.

The line would be a 320,000-volt direct current line and be converted to alternating current. There also would be contingency lines in the eastern part of the state.

The project cost is confidential, but CMP has confirmed that it’s in the $1 billion range, the Portland Press Herald reported in August. The total cost would be paid by Massachusetts electricity customers. Maine would benefit from 1,700 new construction jobs, added tax revenue and anticipated savings of $40 million per year on wholesale energy costs over the 20-year life of the power contract, according to CMP charts Thursday.


Carroll said when the company bought the land, officials looked at conservation and sensitive areas they would have to work around and avoid “to be a good neighbor.” He said woodland owners who sold them the land were on board with what would be done to the land.

For the project to become a reality, Massachusetts and its utilities would have to take at least one of the bids that CMP and its partners formally made in August as part of the competition to provide the Bay State with massive amounts of electricity.

Richard McDonald, president of the anti-wind citizen group Saving Maine, and a member of the steering committee Moosehead Region Futures, said Thursday night in Bingham that he believes there will be a wind power connection to the proposed corridor eventually.

“This is not for Maine. This is to line the pockets of CMP and their parent company,” he said.

Carroll said the project filings on the transmission line project could be done by next month.

“The Public Utilities Commission has to approve it, but if the PUC approves it and the (Department of Environmental Protection) doesn’t approve it — a no and a yes doesn’t get us where we need to be,” he said. “We would have to go back to the drawing table to see what we could do to address whatever objections were raised. We also need a presidential permit from the federal government and local permits from the towns.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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