Avangrid files suit against Maine referendum seeking to block transmission project
Carillon HPP in Quebec. Author: Mac Armstrong. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Avangrid Inc (NYSE:AGR) said on Wednesday it has filed a suit challenging a referendum in Maine, known as Question 1, that was voted on Tuesday and seeks to block the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) transmission project.
The company filed the lawsuit in Maine Superior Court through its subsidiaries NECEC Transmission LLC and Avangrid Networks Inc. According to it, Question 1 is unconstitutional and violates both state and federal law.
The USD-950-million (EUR 821m) NECEC project would bring 1.2 GW of hydropower from Quebec to the New England region, with the costs to be covered by Massachusetts electric customers.
Construction on the project started in early 2021 and is planned to be completed by the spring of 2023. So far, some 124 miles (200 km) of the transmission corridor have been cleared and over 120 structures have been put in place. The link is being built on land owned or controlled by an affiliate of the NECEC.
Avangrid accuses fossil fuel companies of spending millions on a misinformation campaign about the NECEC project.
“This referendum effectively tears up valid contracts, ignores the judicial and executive branches and goes back in time to retroactively change the rules to stop a project just because it threatens the financial interests of fossil fuel generators,” said NECEC Transmission LLC president and chief executive Thorn Dickinson.