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Proposals Sought for Renewable Resources

Feb 27, 2008 - New Haven Register

New England's power grid operator will get its first glimpse by year's end of proposals for long-distance transmission lines designed to bring wind and hydropower from northern New England and Canada's Maritime provinces. ISO-New England will receive the proposals at a meeting in December, said Stephen Whitley, president and chief operating officer of the Holyoke, Mass., grid operator.

The date and location of the meeting are still being worked out, Whitley said during a daylong forum on energy sponsored by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

The lines are important because they would enable Connecticut to tap into vast renewable energy resources, said Donald Downes, chairman of the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control.

"It makes a lot of sense, particularly if Connecticut is to reach its goal of having 20 percent of its energy portfolio come from renewable resources by the year 2020," Downes said.

Direct current transmission lines would make it technically feasible to bury the cables for long distances, either underneath the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean or underground on land, Downes said.

The proposal for direct current transmission lines is part of a multipronged approach for upgrading the ability of the grid to move power into Connecticut that will include power line projects in eastern and northern Connecticut, Whitley said.

Those improvements are part of the New England East-West Solution, or NEEWS as utility officials call it.

"That project will help us to move power in from the north," Whitley said. The NEEWS project is scheduled to be presented to utility regulators in Connecticut and in other states in early 2008, he said.

The project would link southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island with Connecticut's power grid in Killingly and Lebanon.

It would also improve the transmission links between the Springfield area in western Massachusetts and North Bloomfield and Watertown in Connecticut.

The project would be undertaken by two of New England's largest electric power distribution companies, Berlin-based Northeast Utilities and National Grid USA.

Luther Turmelle can be reached at lturmelle@nhregister.com or 789- 5706.

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