In regard to the Central Maine Power project, several ideas occur to me.

• First: There is no reason Maine should allow those scofflaws from Massachusetts to cause the destruction and use of a wide swath of pristine Maine woods without continuing compensation directly to Maine. Call it a tariff, toll, tax – take your pick. On the 1,200-megawatt line, even half of a penny per kilowatt-hour transmitted equals $43,800 a year per kilowatt-hour transmitted, or a total of $52,560,000 a year. Yes, millions for the 1,200-megawatt line year after year from Day One.

OK, cut CMP some slack and charge only a quarter of a penny per kilowatt-hour. That would still yield $26,280,000 a year, or $260,280,000 over 10 years. Substantially better than any other financial deal proposed. The plan’s property taxes and most other benefits already proposed could and/or should remain in place.

• Second: If the line is to be built, we might as well make the best of it. The final construction permits should call for CMP to construct a 10-foot-wide trail suitable for snowmobiles, trail bikes, all-terrain vehicles, cross-country skiing or general hiking, etc.

Hunters should appreciate the open terrain and trail for good views and ease of large-game extraction. With some marketing effort, there should be some other economic gains from the potential activity.

• Third: The CMP power line project is a major project by any measure, and we should expect as much value as reasonable. In other words: It might be reasonable to require the support towers to be of such a design load capacity that a second and/or third cable could be installed on the towers in the future if needed. Remember, there are over 156 gigawatts of energy capacity sitting off the coast of Maine.

All I am trying to do here is broaden the thinking arena of the project with benefits directly to Maine. We owe CMP and Massachusetts nothing.

James C. Monroe

Gray


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