At Central Maine Power, we are dedicated to achieving Maine’s ambitious climate goals. We are fortunate to live in a special place that offers unmatched natural beauty, unspoiled outdoor recreational opportunities and a resource-based economy. All of us want to work to protect these amazing attributes. We choose to live, work and raise our families here because we value Maine’s commitment to preserving our communities and the environment.

Maine has shown its leadership on decarbonization by passing legislation that encourages the development of solar and other distributed energy generation projects to produce more clean energy, and to do it at a pace unmatched by any other state. As part of a parent company that leads the way in renewables development and is the third largest wind generator in the U.S., CMP is committed to doing our part to decarbonize energy production in our state. We have actively participated in the work of Maine’s Climate Council and supported the passage of the legislation that speeds solar development.

The collective efforts of our policymakers, state leaders, conservation groups, businesses and academics to pass these ambitious goals have been wildly successful; I daresay beyond any policy expectation and most certainly beyond the experience of any other state. Solar developers have flocked to Maine to buy land and recruit customers.  At CMP we have mobilized a dedicated group of over 100 professionals to interconnect the more than 600 large new distributed generation projects in queue. Up until 2019 we interconnected only one or two projects of this size a year.

The amount of power that these 600 proposed projects is about 2,000 megawatts. By way of comparison, that’s 300 MW more than the 1,700 MW the grid currently carries at its peak demand times at any point of the year. However, as the demand for electric vehicles and clean heating solutions grows, we need to plan to bring on as many of these clean sources as we can.

Besides managing the sheer number of projects, we must also plan for the fact that these projects fundamentally change the way the grid operates. Solar projects of the size proposed by most developers are unique because of how they connect to the current infrastructure. Unlike the traditional “one-way” flow of power from where it is generated to where it is used, power from distributed generation can flow through the system both ways.

It is CMP’s obligation to ensure that we bring these new projects onto the grid safely. If there is a fault in the system, or a voltage problem, we must ensure that the increased power and two-way flow do not damage or cause a safety issue with the system, equipment, customer property or especially, our employees. Think about a surge protector in your home. CMP needs to install equipment that does the job of surge protection where developers want to connect. And it should come as no surprise that most solar projects want to interconnect to the system in rural, undeveloped areas with less expensive land and fewer people. The grid infrastructure in those areas meets current needs but is not as sophisticated as in more commercial and densely populated parts of the state, which means it will need to be upgraded to operate reliably with new generation sources added.

CMP is working collaboratively with a group of solar developers to address a specific problem of congestion in the central part of the state – where many developers want to connect to the grid and where we need to manage the convergence safely. We are focused on forward-thinking solutions that do not overburden any one project or impose undue costs. It is with this spirit that we believe we can ensure the safe integration of these projects and do so at a lower cost for the developers.

We are committed to moving the renewables solution forward with innovation, urgency and most of all, the delivery of safe, reliable power to all customers. As in so many other areas where Maine demonstrates its entrepreneurial and leadership spirit, our state motto, Dirigo, or “I lead” is apt. Maine is situated to bring more renewable power onto the grid and do so faster than any other state in the continental U.S.  As we have been for more than 100 years, CMP is on the team.

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