Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Where will the electricity come from to power our grandchildren’s electric cars?

I have heard many reasons why CMP's proposed line from Hydro-Quebec should not be built.

There have been some possible alternatives to hydro power such as solar, wind - both on shore and off shore, conservation, electric cars, heat pumps and others.

We will need all of these to satisfy our future electricity needs.

This winter many of the solar collectors are snow covered for days - this renders them unproductive even in the daytime.

Mountain-top wind farms have devastated much more scenic beauty than has a transmission line and are only available when there is a wind.

Conservation is an excellent plan and one everyone should implement. As Director of Energy Management Planning for CMP in the early 90's, my department was responsible for designing, implementing and evaluating the millions of dollars that CMP invested in conservation measures, yet demand continued to grow.

More electric cars have been proposed. This will decrease emissions, but certainly will increase electrical demand.

Use of heat pumps is another approach. This is another excellent idea and will reduce emissions as we convert oil, gas and wood. This will also increase the electrical load, not only in the winter but will drastically increase the summer load due to the air-conditioning feature of the heat pump technology.

Two extremely important points here:

1) Some of these ideas would not be feasible without the current subsidy AND these subsidies will eventually go away.

2) None of these alternatives are dispatchable electrical sources - meaning- these electrical supplies must be available when the INDEPENDENT SYSTEM OPERATOR of NEW ENGLAND (ISO-NE) calls for their services. We expect the lights to turn on when we flip the switch, and this is possible only if the supply is always continuously available.

For more that 50 years, I have been deeply involved in many aspects of the power industry - from design, manufacturing, building to operations.

I have worked closely with ISO-NE.

I was actively involved in the restoration effort during the ice storm of 1998.

I have managed the construction of transmission lines in many corridors in Maine and New England. I am very aware of CMP's rigid requirements demanded when working in their transmission corridors.

In the 1980's CMP proposed another transmission line from Hydro Quebec. This was planned to bring power to us in Maine and Maine ratepayers were going to pay for the line. This new line will be paid for by out-of-staters.

During this time I visited one of Hydro Quebec's hydro facilities. These are gigantic installations and have tremendous potential.

Since the 80's Maine Yankee has been permanently shut down and many natural gas generating plants have been built. These plant contribute to our pollution situation.

Today we have a proposal for CMP to build a line, much in an existing corridor to be completely paid by others and will bring much real estate tax revenue to several towns without adding any local expense. If one understands how electricity is purchased by ISO-NE, one will recognize the potential savings to Maine ratepayers by the purchase of this Hydro Quebec power source.

It would not be my design to place lines under Moxie Gorge, because of my personal aversion to a possible lightning trap, but CMP has gone to great lengths to minimize the visual impact of this pristine area.
Some have opposed this proposed line, but we have a second chance to bring non-polluting electricity to us with the expense born completely by others and getting tremendous bonuses besides. Some day we may need additional power, and here is a non-polluting, perpetual source.


Delbert Reed
Electrical Engineer - Retired
Freeman Township

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34 Responses »

  1. Several good points have been made by Mr. Reed but after watching hours of testimony by other CMP representatives, during the PUC hearings, the project has " No public need for Maine citizens".

  2. Delbert, Respectfully this is the grid of my grandma we are looking into the future toward new ways to power our homes and businesses more locally. This transmission line method disturbing power is dinosaur tech, let's not scar our landscape on something that will be obsolete. There is an energy revolution on its way let us be forward thinking here in Maine and not get caught up in assisting a company that has shown us no loyalty or respect make a profit off from our backs.


  3. These are great points, except... the proposed project isn't bringing any electricity to Maine. The electricity to power our Grandchildren's electric cars will be available via Canada- if they move to MA. No thank you.

  4. Mr. Reed,
    You make mention of the fact that you yourself would not put lines under Moxie Gorge because of your personal aversion of a possible lightning trap.
    Sir, could you explain what a lightning trap is and why, or if ever, it could become a problem? I mean l could Google it but l’d rather hear it from someone with your background.


  5. Well written Mr. Reed

    Many people that oppose this project are not looking to the future and have not observed the changes in the past that have taken place in Maine with respect to our air quality over the last 50 years.

    Heat pumps or 300 to 400 times more efficient that any other type of home heat that burns fuel. Both heat pumps and Electric cars will greatly reduce air pollution. This is the wave of the future and will improve not only our health but the health of other living things in our environment.

    All this will take more electrical energy. We can get it from sources that will add to our pollution or we can get it from sources that will clean up our air. The choice is just that simple.

  6. Delbert,

    I appreciate your very informative comment. Can you please tell me why i am paying over 16 cents per
    Kwh for my electricity at my home??? My friend who lives in Florida pays about 13 cents and i googled
    The rates for all states in the USA. The national average is 13.19 cents per kwh (data updated in 2019).
    Other than the remote islands of Hawaii, and huge Alaska, and crazy California, the highest rates paid
    By state are found in the Northeast. The average for our northeast region is about 18.50 cents and Maine
    Folks pay 16.17 cents. Most states use coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear and they pay about 40% less than
    The average price paid up here in the Northeast (13.2 national ave + 40% = 18.5 Northeast ave.). So.....
    Please tell me why we pay so darn much for our electricity and explain to me why Maine is not being
    Offered a nice rate reduction in this new power line deal. We are the ones with our mountains covered
    With wind turbines and now you want a bigger power line and corridor for more power. What the heck
    Does Maine get other than some more money for the layabouts to get free heat pumps, and charging
    Stations for electric cars. Although, i admit those charging stations will be GREAT. I hate it when my battery is low in my Tesla and I'm stuck in a long line at the sole charging station at the Irving Big Stop!!!!

  7. I am really curious if the powers to be for this project were as forceful and persistent with Vermont and New Hampshire when they declined. I imagine there are enough backwards thinkers in those states to send the project packing. I wonder who will power their grandchildren's vehicles.

  8. ...Nuclear Power failed in this country because of one factor.....
    ...The Powers to Be...took the Nuclear Submarine out of the ocean and put it ...on the ground.....Water cooled Nuclear Plants are dangerous. Gas cooled plants like those in France are much safer. We need to change our thinking on not using or designing Water Cooled Plants. If this were accomplished we could move ahead with entirely new designed Nuclear Power Plants and some positive answers to the future energy planning.

  9. Richy, where did you get the numbers of 300 to 400 times more efficient? Have you tried to heat a complete home with only a heat pump in Maine?

  10. You know a few years back there was a proposal to bring Nautral Gas from to Maine from Pen/Ohio to allow for more choices in fuel mix for winter heating. It was shot down by Mass. If they want green energy there is plenty of ocean along the Mass coast line that is ideal for wind turbines. There are also plenty of parking lots just begging to have solar stations installed over the lot that would be close to the consumer source with minimum infrastructure required.

  11. Bunch of fools is what we are if we allow this..
    If rather store spent feel rods than keep on this non sense course..

  12. Delbert, Given the education system in the state and country, we won't have to worry about our grandchildren driving an electric car, because they won't be able to get a job that allows them to buy one. A Tesla is $74,000. Most people have all they can do to pay off a car that costs a third of that.

  13. Richy, you do know that 300% does not equal 300~400 times. 300% more than one dollar is 3 dollars not 300.
    Also, have you ever heated a complete house with heat pumps in Maine? You must also take into account the 300% more efficient is best case. When it is minus 10 degree f or 90 degrees f the efficiency drops dramatically.
    As a cost effective supplement heat pumps are fantastic. I love ours.

    From your link:

    Because of this, heat pumps are capable of providing more than 3 units of heat for every unit of electricity used for efficiency rates over 300%. With Maine’s average winter temperatures of 37 degrees, the seasonal efficiency rate of the Mitsubishi Hyper Heat is right around 285%

    Average winter temp of 37*,,,, Ok, lots of luck with that.

  14. Why do we spend more than most of the country? Look to the cost of Hydroelectric out in the northwest, west and southwest, and nuclear.

    The Tennessee Valley Authority could tell you a bit about coal and nuclear, then ask about fracking and natural gas/turbine power generation. The fracking boom (pardon the pun) has developed so much natural gas, the gas produced electricity is cheaper than coal produced electricity.

    The enemy of coal is natural gas......

    Look at our distribution costs compared to the rest of the country...rural areas pay more for distribution since there are more miles of distribution network per customer....Our rural state has some subtle costs involved....roads and electricity.

  15. Richly,
    I’m looking towards the future. I invision Senator Brownie Carson’s newly purposed bill L. D. 640 passing. That would require the DEP or someone hired by them, to review “verifiable “ evidence and issue a report on the total net effect on greenhouse emissions from the Corridor project. I mean, the reduction of “global” greenhouse emissions is what CMP has sung to the mountain tops about to justify cutting an extra 53 miles and widening the rest of the Corridor.
    Tell me, if you were making minimum wage, had two kids, and a dog, would you spend 73,000 on a Tesla, or a house?

  16. Sorry Richy, my autocorrect spells your name as Richly. I’ll correct it myself next time.

  17. Hrtlss B: Not sure why you have such a negatively fixed mindset about kids and the job market but you should broaden your views by looking at what young people have always faced when making the choice to pursue post HS education, trades, military, or trying to finding their way in the labor force. It's the same thing it was for every generation, full of path and hard work or a bitter self destructive view of personal upward mobility. To expand most everything comes easier if you have family money... recent college admission and security clearances ta-boot. The only real story of trickle down economics is it keeps the rich richer than everyone else and it keep all of us arguing over the scraps. Anyway, about the electric car thing. All cool new technology is made for the wealthy and not the majority of us fighting over pennies. Last month Elon Musk released all patents to increase availability and use of electric car technology and help competitors create cheaper electric cars. They have also released an electric car for 35K which has already sold over 400K reorders. The Model 3 even looks sharp. But. Personally, I would never own a car that nice due to the pot holes and terrible road conditions around here. Anyway, the world is a lot bigger then this little place.

  18. Terry... what would you think if Brownie submitted a bill requiring the State to close down the Interstate and Turnpike and plant trees... That would help wouldn't it? That is one heck of a strip of cleared land.....

  19. Glen, with all respect, LD-640 is a bill that’s doable.

  20. There is already an approved route through Vermont if the power is required for your "grandchildren's electric cars." We will have power going forward because humans always figure out better ways of doing things. When the government gets involved in deciding what industries should prevail, it rarely makes the best choice.

    Who knows what forms of transportation your grandchildren will have? During my grandmother's lifetime, people were transported by horses and other animals, through jet-propelled airplanes and men went to the moon. If we provide, through government intervention, "electric" cars, what other transport will we be losing or postponing because it will be too difficult to compete? Today, it is still not economically smart to have the charging stations conveniently located for everyone who might want them. As there is more demand, more will be provided by entrepreneurs who will see a benefit. However, without the government subsidies, other, better means of fueling vehicles might arise.

    I would much prefer not to sacrifice our conservation lands through which the corridor is planned. Maine will not benefit directly. If the benefit is through the grid, Maine will benefit just as well if Vermont provides the pathway.

  21. Sam, If our youth today weren't afraid of hard work, they wouldn't be pushing for $15 an hour for the menial jobs. They would be striving to better themselves to obtain the education needed or fortitude needed to do the hard work that commands higher pay. I crawled through the most God awful stuff in my early working career working in this mill or that mill, in giant trash cans or hazardous waste chemicals(think Dirty Jobs, without the camera crew) all for $24 an hour, 12 hours a day 7 days a week not bad pay for a high school diploma and a trade school education. But I earned enough money to own my own home before I was 25. Nowadays kids complain if they can't buy an Iphone X, pay the rent and all the bills with a single paycheck while sofa surfing with their parents. The world meets nobody halfway. People tend to get out, what they put in. I am willing to bet that if you took away the smart cash register that tells the clerk how much change to give, very few cashiers could actually give you the correct change.

  22. CMP is looking for a Cheap Date.

    So what are we?

    I say NO !!

  23. Hrtlss: I'm not here to argue with you and actually agree with you 100% that "People tend to get out, what they put in." at least those of us who have grown up in the mid to lower pay scale families.The recent disclosure of admin officials jailed for cheating the system and wealthy families paying to get their kids into good schools, or nepotism in the white house are not actually surprising given we already know your more successful if you have family with money but it is. Also, I appreciate that you are willing to share your personal story and experience. There is value in that. The thing I can't fully accept is that you are using your personal views and fixed on that as a way to blanket all youth with a sweeping negative viewpoint. Most likely this is based on personal stories focus and magnify the worst cases interactions rather than meeting the incredible youth that are working hard and achieving as you did. My kids are not far from your own story but I know a few that need help finding hope due to being constantly knocked down by illness and people overtly shaming them and their entire generation with social media posts that pass blame. Didn't our parents do the same thing? Didn't their parents make the choices that led us t today's conditions?

    I too did the tough it out and work hard through life but never made enough to more than pay rent, keep food, and keep my car on the road. Every paycheck was a shame and I always had to work several jobs because it was near impossible to find anyone who would hire a "full time" employee. The fact that you are complaining about people asking for 15$ and hour and then complaining that you had to make 24$ to make it is a bit of confusing. The people who convince you that know one needs to make 15$ are probably making 250-2500/hr and fund propaganda to convince us that we are the problem not them. Also, last time I looked it's not just teenagers that work dead end jobs and need fair pay to support their daily needs. Lots of parents who then need to depend on social safety nets to pay rent and feed kids are asking for better pay or at least full time employment. The jobs that pay so little are increasingly moving to automation so there's that too. The jobs you worked when you were young are simply not as abundant as in the past. Today I know a lot of youth who either work their stuff off at college and taking a huge self investment in student loans then fast track in the job market. I know some that make it upward and a few who regress back to whatever they can find. I know a lot of youth that decide not to go to college and are making their way just fine with hard work. And, I know a few that are very bitter but content not to try any harder than to work enough to live on. So knowing so many personal stories I just cant understand why you focus on blanketing all youth into your views. That said have a good day. I absolutely respect you for working hard for what you have and that's your right to complain. I too have been through heck and back to find humble success we just took a different paths. My view is open and I just can't judge an entire generation based on rumors or a few scenarios since everyone's story is so complex and individual.

  24. I for 1 and a Republican voted for Janet Mills am very disappointed that she is backing this!!

  25. @Dis: Not disagreeing, I don't want this in my backyard but the more you know the less we need to respond with blame and pitchforks. The more we know the better direction we have before the bus moves forward. This link is recap of one of my previous posting listing how this deal unfolded from one admin to be inherited unfixed by the present Governor. Lepage had 8 years, Mills has had 3 months. I wouldn't beat yourself up or throw her under the bus just yet. Please read and make informed comments.

    "• Mills had a representative at the negotiations – former Public Utilities Commission chairman Tom Welch – soon after her election victory.

    • Former Gov. Paul LePage previously tried to negotiate benefits directly with Hydro-Quebec, CMP’s Canadian partner, but failed before leaving office.

    • CMP’s initial bid paled in comparison to competing projects in New Hampshire and Vermont. Negotiators used that shortfall as leverage to gain the $258 million worth of benefits for Maine, and a guarantee that the project’s developers — not electricity customers — would pay for them.

    The document details how Mills kept tabs on the protracted talks, meant to secure “tangible benefits for the citizens of Maine,” in the words of the negotiators."

    If you truly don't want this in our backyard then read this and figure out an informed angle:

  26. Sam,
    Why do you compliment hrtls.
    His behavior is bad.
    He treats people rudely
    He is a bully.
    He is often completely incorrect.
    There, me saying those things is reciprocity in action.
    Fitting response to a bully....

  27. Testing ... testing ... 1 2 3

    Just want to know if all my comments now disappear immediately, without moderation.

  28. Sam,
    The article you linked was in no way helpful in understanding anything new about Mills during this CMP scam.
    Bottom line,, she supports it. We don't up in this neck of the woods.

    Installing Electric charging stations for electric cars!!! Where? In North New Portland or West Mills? This does not help me support the scam at all..
    What the article did provide was a better understanding of why Portland (the big city down in District 1), would benefit from crap like this...
    Surprise!! (The 2 Maines thingy again..).
    Where was Mills when her hometown of Farmington was having a meeting about this project?? She was attending a show in ... Portland.
    Looks like Mills has her priorities and us folks up here are not at the top of her list....

    NO !!

  29. Reciprocate: Although Hrtless has negative tone and fixed view of life they (not sure htrless's gender) are still a person in our community with a voice. I do respect people who value hard work but don't think it should be used as a high hose to throw stones at anyone they deem less than. Also, I'm not interested in wasting time arguing since there is a lot more at stake if this CMP project moves through Western Maine. And, if it does, I would at least be content knowing we pulled in something big to help cut my local property taxes. Maybe this is too hopeful since it seems any money given to the town and county is given to local businesses or anther dept that happens to need more money. So maybe we can take a moment and put our political binaries aside, our personal issues with each other aside, and agree that this is now a community issue not a National Political one side or the other situation. If you want to take on policing the politeness of sentiments from me to Hrtless or question my statements then that's your approach but I'd rather create a dialog where we can be honest and exchange views and accept them as productive or not. We can commence all the other stuff in other articles.

    Not Helpful: That's your only take away? So be it. The timeline gives you background info about how this project unfolded. The previous admin attempted to push it thought before leaving with no benefits to ME and the new one (in only three months) at least has been negotiating for 250M so I'd say that's an advocate for ME. But, this project is not a party issue it is a project that has been proposed and in the process for years. I don't want it in my backyard either but I'm not going to let uniformed opinion and anger lead my effort to reroute or stop the project. If you want to make such comments then it's up to you. I was merely offering people (and there are a lot of people here) a way to be more informed about how this unfolded.

    Again> My inability to blame this 100% on Mills is not party affiliated but rather just looking at and processing what happened. Mills inherited this as an incoming governor and has been trying to get the most out of the deal if it is to happen. The fact that this happens to effect her home town (again decided before she took office) definitely has made it an emotional pickle for her and all of us. I'd rather leave the feelings of personal betrayal as an unintended consequence this inherited mess. As of today, this project is still under negotiation and there could be a possible way to block or delay.

    "Three Republicans and six Democrats besides Carson support the bill, which is one of the Legislature’s first responses to the project since former Republican Gov. Paul LePage vowed to push it through in early 2018. Mills, a Democrat, was skeptical of the line in her 2018 campaign, but she backed it after CMP offered a $250 million, 40-year benefits package."

    Lawmakers are pushing to delay the project: Maybe this is a place to focus our support and buy more time and evidence. I for one will be contacting my local legislator and asking them to fight this project.

    So the more you know: Good day.

  30. As to the original post, a couple points. This direct line will become obsolete as it diminishes the natural value of the region. We need creative and innovative locally sourced avenues of electricity generation. And oh by the way, it would be nice if they benefited Mainers.
    Secondly, HydroQuebec as a clean source of energy is a joke. The environmental destruction from their massive impoundments is almost beyond belief, if you care to do some research. The greatest impact to us Mainers from this so called green energy? Disruption to the flow of the St. Lawrence River, and the warming and altering of the chemistry of the Gulf of Maine.

  31. Sam,
    My takeaway isn't party affiliated.
    I don't care whether you're is or not. You are trying so hard to defend Mills you seem like a staffer. Write a million word response if you want,,, it does not improve the smell of this scam.
    She is selling us out and it's looking more and more as if she isn't interested in supporting the will of the people up in CD2.
    We're being betrayed here in Franklin county.

    Everyone show up in Farmington on the 25th and let's turn this crap around. Before it's over, there will not be a single town endorsing this.

    Because it stinks of lies and deception.
    And Mills is right beside them.

  32. Betrayed> A bit Dramatic. I'm on your side about the not wanting the corridor so...? You are starting to sound a lot like a prominent poster on here that brings politically misguided attacks to the lowest level of communication. All set, np.

    I've been nearly bedridden all weekend trying to rest for work on Monday so naturally I've been reading a lot about this to understand why it's on the table and why here. And yes, I've been so board that I'm making comments to attempt to help us all understand. Too much, still reading? Back to work tomorrow so I guess this is good bye. I hope that someone out there found my comments useful and can take a rational approach to addressing the corridor issue.

  33. Sam, with all due respect, one man's rationality is another man's definition of irrationality, and vice versa.

    For instance.....

    Governor Mills, when she signaled that she was leaning against the corridor during her election, most likely thought her decision to change course and support the Corridor after she was elected to the Blaine House was, rational. Others seem to think that the Governor changing her mind after she was elected to office was,irrational.

    CMP stating that this Corridor would help reduce "global" carbon emissions seems rational to some, but that's right, irrational to others. Personally I think an independent rational study should be done on that claim to fame, but others seem to think that an independent study is well, irrational.

    Heat pumps, electrical cars, having CMP "show us the money" is rational to some, and irrational to others. Widening the existing Corridor, cutting 53 miles of new Corridor, spraying herbicides, stringing high power voltage lines in remote places where even the Maine State Federation of Firefighters have concerns, well again, irrational to some, and rational to others.

    Sam, I think you get my drift. You seem rational.....

    Do you want to know what I feel is irrational Sam? The fact that a big foreign entity can come to the table with false claims, promising jobs (temporary and with no guarantee that those jobs will be given to most Mainers)
    and ignoring the "popular" consensus of what seems, like the majority of people in this state, want. That being NO CORRIDOR.

    Folks, March 25th, 7pm, Farmington Community Center, your vote may be considered rational or irrational, but hey, at least you voted. I hope to see you there.