In the last few weeks Central Maine Power (CMP) has doubled down on their claim that the New England Clean Energy (the corridor) will bring “clean” energy to New England. This nothing from the truth.

CMP’s expensive ads would lead one to believe that they are tackling this project because they care deeply about climate change – not profit. This messaging is interesting since their own spokesman stated, “So, the question about whether, whether this [project] will make a difference in climate change. CMP has no, no doubt that it will – we can’t guarantee it. That’s not our job, that’s not our business.”

During the Department of Environmental Protection permitting effort, their lawyer made it very clear this project was not about climate change at least six times. Here’s one example of what he wrote in this letter, “In fact nowhere has CMP stated the project’s purpose and need includes (greenhouse gas) reduction.”

Duncan Graham-Rowe, in his article Hydroelectric Power’s Dirty Secret Revealed said, “Contrary to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate.” He goes on to say, “Hydroelectric dams produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, and in some cases, produce more of these greenhouse gases than power plants running on fossil fuels.”

Dr. Bradford Hager, Professor of Earth Science at MIT said in his testimony to the Army Corps of Engineers, “There is an extremely wide range of greenhouse gas emissions from hydro facilities. Six of Hydro-Québec’s reservoirs are among the top 25 percent of greenhouse gas emitters of hydro plants, worldwide. Their emissions range from about that of a modern natural gas power plant to over twice that of coal power plants.” They are definitely not the source of green power that they are made out to be.

According to the North American Megadam Resistance Alliance, mega dams across the world, like Hydro Quebec’s dams, contribute to climate change in many ways and their reputation as a safe and clean form of energy is very far from the truth.

The organization points out that as hydropower facilities start up, lands are flooded to create reservoirs which eliminates trees and submerges the soil. The carbon in the soil is then transformed into methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Lifecycle emissions of some large-scale hydropower facilities can be over 0.5 pounds of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour. Natural gas burning, for comparison, has life cycle emissions averaging between 0.6 and 2 pounds of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour.

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, the world’s large dams are responsible for 104 million tonnes of methane annually. (6) Paul Brown, in his article in Climate Central, reports that methane has an impact 84 times higher over 20 years than the same quantity of carbon dioxide; this is a serious short-term threat to pushing the planet towards the danger threshold of increasing temperatures by 2°C (3.6°F).

The alliance also reported that Massachusetts’ request for 1,200 MW of Canadian hydropower via transmission corridors through Maine and New Hampshire will conservatively increase Massachusetts’ total CO2 emissions. Not decrease them.

Jon Breed, the campaign director for Clean Energy Matters (CMP), is aware that the project is unpopular, though he thinks people haven’t had a chance to have an “informed conversation” about the project and that “common perceptions” of the project are incorrect. If this is true, why did CMP hire 30 lobbyists to stop a greenhouse study that would have answered this question once and for all?

The typical ad supporting the corridor seems to nod to the project’s unpopularity, urging viewers to take a deliberative approach — saying “take your time” and “get the facts.”

Here are some facts: If this project is constructed, CMP’s Spanish owner will make $5 million per month for 20 years. Hydro-Quebec, another foreign company, will make $41 million per month. Meanwhile, Maine stands to lose a viable forest products industry, the Biomass industry, worth $850 million dollars annually, and we could lose local renewable energy businesses. Finally, and most importantly, there will be no GHG reductions.

It is very clear this project is not about greenhouse gas reduction! This project is a bad deal for Maine, and needs to be rejected at the ballot box in November.

— Special to the Press Herald


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