Avangrid project picked as alternative winner in Massachusetts clean energy RfP

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The New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project has been selected to proceed in the Massachusetts Clean Energy request for proposals (RfP) process as a backup to the Northern Pass Transmission project.

The process is run by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and Massachusetts utilities. The RfP was launched in March last year in response to a state law mandating that local utilities procure around 9.45 TWh of clean, Class 1 renewable energy through long-term contracts. Eversource Energy's (NYSE:ES) Northern Pass project was selected as the winning bid in late January but several days later the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee voted to deny a Certificate of Site and Facility for the project.

DOER announced on Friday that the utilities will continue conditional contract negotiations with Northern Pass, with the option of ending talks by March 27. In parallel they will start conditional contract negotiations with the New England Clean Energy Connect, a project of Central Maine Power Company (CMP), which is a subsidiary of Avangrid Inc (NYSE:AGR). This USD-950-million (EUR 766m) project, with a transmission capacity of 1.2 GW would involve the construction of a new transmission line from the Quebec-Maine border to the southern part of the state.  

Both projects are partnerships with Hydro-Quebec and propose carrying hydropower from Canada to New England.

According to Northern Pass Transmission LLC, there is a way forward. The company said that Friday's decision provides the project with the opportunity to make its case for a rehearing by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee and a resumption of its deliberations.

Rebecca Rutenberg