Letter: Balentine wrong about hydropower in Maine

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John Balentine’s recent column on the proposed CMP corridor for HydroQuebec power has some regrettable errors of fact and troubling implications. He implies that Maine had an abundance of hydropower before environmentalists pushed for dam removal and that we would have power to sell if the dams had not been removed. Not true.

Maine in 2010 had a total capacity of 768 megawatts (every licensed dam in the state, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection). Since that time four major dams have been removed. The 3.5 MW Edwards dam was removed; the power generated was less than the costs of FERC-required upgrades. Three dams on the Penobscot – the 8.4 MW Veazie dam, the 7.9 MW Great Works dam and the 1.9 MW Howland dam have been removed since 2012. Two dams have been upgraded to increase power generation. Thus, in 2015, Maine had 750 MW of hydropower in state, and the possibility of up to 56 MW more for a statewide capacity of 806 MW (according to the LePage administration Energy Office).

The contract between HydroQuebec and Massachusetts power companies is for 1,090 MW annually – nearly 150% of the entire production of hydropower in the state. There is no way that any single power generator in this state could fulfill that contract.

Catherine DiPietro
Bridgton

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