The Working Waterfront

Fight climate change, but not with CMP corridor

Project will produce only profits and ‘greenwashed’ power

Tom Saviello
Posted 2021-04-01
Last Modified 2021-04-09

The December/January issue of The Working Waterfront featured a guest column by Orlando Delogu (“Maine must see bigger picture on utility project”) in which he questioned my motives on why I am against the New England Clean Energy Connect Corridor. I want to explain why I am against it.

First, let me make clear that I believe climate change is real. Personally, I have changed my lifestyle to do what I can do to stop or slow this potentially catastrophic change to Maine.

Additionally, while serving in the legislature, I helped write the first climate change bill which was passed in 2011. I was the main sponsor and supporter of multiple solar power bills that were presented in the legislature during my terms of service (ironically, they were all opposed by Central Maine Power).

I am fighting the corridor because it is a bad deal for Maine, and it will have no positive impact on climate change…

I am not ignoring the consequences of climate change or global warming, as suggested by the author.

CMP corridor map

I am fighting the corridor because it is a bad deal for Maine, and it will have no positive impact on climate change and global warming. In fact, even CMP’s spokesman has made this very clear.

John Carroll, representing the project, stated: “So, the question about whether this [NECEC] 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, CMP’s 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 fact, nowhere has CMP stated the project’s purpose and need includes GHG (greenhouse gas) reduction.”

This project is not about climate change, it is about obscene profits for Hydro-Quebec, owned solely by the province of Quebec, and CMP, which is owned by Iberdrola, a Spanish company. Maine’s only role in this project is that of an extension cord to bring greenwashed power from Canada to Massachusetts.

Mr. Delogu singles NextEra as this “nasty” company that wants to protect their fuel oil profits. Let me tell you about NextEra. Last year, NextEra received three awards for its renewable energy efforts—one from Forbes, one from the S&P Global Platts, and one from Treehugger.com.

Have you seen the recognition of Avangrid for renewable energy projects? No, there are none. Mr. Delogu did not mention that Avangrid’s energy production in other states is based on gas and oil. He also did not mention that CMP, which is owned by Avangrid, is ranked dead last as a utility. Even California’s Pacific Gas & Electric, whose grid was responsible for igniting wildfires, is ranked higher. This is the third year in a row CMP received this ranking.

And just recently, New York regulators adopted a settlement under which New York State Electric & Gas Corp. (a subsidiary of Avangrid) will pay a $1.5 million penalty over its response to tropical storm Isaias in August 2020.

Tom Saviello
Tom Saviello

Consider that CMP’s own report says the renewable industry will lose $400 million dollars after the corridor is built. What kind of renewable business will we have left? None! No wonder NextEra is involved.

I will agree with Mr. Delogu’s statement that various permits have been obtained. Maybe if he had time to read the two federal permits, he would realize they are a sham. They were written by CMP without public comment. Maybe that is why the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals has issued an injunction to stop construction in the first 53 miles of the corridor.

Simply put, this corridor is not about climate change. It is about profit for two foreign businesses. CMP would make $5 million per month, Hydro-Quebec would make $41 million, and we Mainers would get a few bucks.

Tom Saviello is a former Republican state senator from Wilton.