Ensuring that my kids (and great-grandchildren) have the same opportunity to experience the magic of the Maine outdoors that I have had has been the focus of my academic and professional careers. I am a dedicated environmentalist and have spent over a decade consulting at the confluence of energy and climate change. While my support for the proposed Central Maine Power transmission line is not overly enthusiastic, based upon my professional knowledge and experience, it is unwavering.

Through my professional work, I have conducted several power system modeling projects that examine different pathways to reducing CO2 emissions from electricity generation for different regions of the country. New England is going to be exceptionally difficult to “de-carbonize” – both from a technical and a cost perspective. We are not blessed with great solar and wind resources, and energy storage is still too costly to store large quantities of surplus generation for use when the sun and wind are unavailable.

We are quite far behind in reducing the CO2 content of our energy system. To keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees C, we need flexible, zero-carbon energy (such as hydropower), and we need it now.

Maine cannot let the search for a perfect solution be the enemy of an achievable good solution, and the actions we take today are much more valuable than they will be in the future. From my vantage, the CMP transmission line should be considered as an indispensable, “low-hanging” opportunity in the fight against climate change.

John Herter


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