The New England Clean Energy Connect Project, a planned 145-mile transmission line that will run from Beattie Township on the Canadian border to Lewiston, aims to deliver hydropower to the New England electric grid. It is a collaboration between Central Maine Power and Hydro-Quebec. All of the towns but New Sharon are shaded, indicating that CMP has received letters of support from their respective boards of selectmen, councilors or commissioners. The section from Windsor to Wiscasset is not part of the 145-mile transmission line. Credit: Image courtesy of Central Maine

Three companies that would distribute power from a controversial power line running from the Canadian border through Lewiston are in the final stage of approvals in Massachusetts for power purchase agreements on the project.

The three companies, Unitil, National Grid and Eversource Energy, submitted their proposed, long-term contracts to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities on July 23, for what would be their final approval for the project in that state. No date for completion of the review has been given.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the electric distribution companies had agreed to terms in May.

In June, the electric distribution companies Hydro-Quebec and Central Maine Power also came to an agreement over pricing and other terms.

The project includes a $950 million proposal by Central Maine Power to transmit hydropower from Hydro-Quebec 145 miles from the Canadian border through western Maine and to the New England electric grid, notably to help Massachusetts meet its clean energy goals by 2022.

While CMP has gotten approvals for much of the land in the corridor, there still is opposition from groups questioning its environmental and economic benefits to Maine.

The contracts with the Massachusetts electric distribution companies would deliver about 9.45 terawatt hours annually of clean, reliable, baseload power for 20 years, according to Hydro-Quebec and CMP.

The paperwork submitted July 23 gives a total levelized price (average price over the project’s lifetime) of 5.9 cents/kilowatt hour.

The CMP project still faces reviews in Maine.

If approved by Maine regulators this fall, the New England Clean Energy Connect, or NECEC, project would both build new transmission lines, from Beattie Township in Franklin County on the Canadian border to Lewiston, and upgrade existing infrastructure.

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Lori Valigra, senior reporter for economy and business, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...