July 1, 2022

Volume XII, Number 182

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AG Healey Has a Point: If We're Serious about Renewable Energy We Have to Get to Building the Infrastructure Necessary to Transmit It

Many of you already know that Massachusetts timely meeting its Greenhouse Gas reduction goals is entirely dependent on our ability to receive hydroelectricity generated in Canada, at least until other renewable energy is available.  Getting that hydroelectricity from there to here is proving to be a much greater challenge than anticipated.  First, one has to go through the years of permitting necessary to construct any major project in the United States.  Then one has to defend the inevitable litigation by those who disagree that the permits should have been issued.  In the case of the New England Clean Energy Connect project which would get our hydroelectricity from Canada to the Bay State, there is the additional challenge that more Maine voters who voted in a recent referendum would halt the project which is already largely constructed than those who would allow it to be completed.  (Whether such things should be decided by referendum is for another day.)  And now we learn that, at least for now, competitors also have leverage to delay or defeat such projects.

Attorney General Healey says this "manifests a weakness" which could be the understatement of the week.

The fact is that if the scientists are to be believed we're running out of time to transition to renewable energy and action by Congress and the Executive Branch may be necessary to make it just a little bit easier to get that energy from there to here. 

The situation in New England is a “harbinger of a larger problem” given FERC’s commitment to transmission development, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) told the commission last October. Waiting until this spring or summer would “significantly compromise the spring 2023 in-service date of the NECEC project.” The fact that “a direct competitor of NECEC can thwart a major transmission project simply by refusing to negotiate and agree to commercially reasonable terms manifests a weakness in the interconnection process that must be addressed,” Healey wrote.

©1994-2022 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 83
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About this Author

Jeffrey R. Porter, Environmental Attorney, Mintz Levin, Risk Analysis Lawyer
Member

Jeff leads the firm’s Environmental Law Practice. He is also a member of the firm’s Policy Committee. For 23 years, he has advised clients regarding complex environmental regulatory compliance and permitting issues, including issues relating to air and water discharges and hazardous waste storage and disposal. In 2011 and 2012, the firm received the Acquisition International Legal Award for “US Environmental Law Firm of the Year.” The awards celebrate excellence and reward firms, teams and individuals for their contribution to client service, innovation and commitment to quality.

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617-348-1711
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