Central Maine Power Company recently received the final federal permit to begin work on a $1.4 billion investment in the company’s bulk power transmission system. With sign-off from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now in hand, the company will begin mobilizing contractors within the next few weeks at several sites across central Maine.

“This will be one of the largest construction projects in Maine’s history,” said Sara Burns, CMP president, in a news release. “Our state will have a smarter, stronger grid when it’s complete, but for the next five years, it will be a big boost for local employment and the state’s economy.”

The Maine Power Reliability Program will ensure long-term reliability and enable the development of new renewable energy resources by increasing the capacity and efficiency of the New England’s transmission grid. The project includes the construction of five new 345-kilovolt substations and related facilities linked by approximately 450 miles of new or rebuilt transmission lines. The southern end of the line ties into the New England grid near the New Hampshire border. It passes through 75 cities and towns, and the northern end interconnects with transmission lines from Canada in the central Maine town of Orrington. The company introduced the plan after a comprehensive study of the region’s electricity grid found problems that threatened the reliability of CMP’s system and surrounding areas.

“While our investment is first and foremost to ensure reliability, this project will sustain an average of 2,000 new jobs during the five years of construction and generate an average of $60 million annually in wages and salary income for the Maine economy,” said Burns. “It’s infrastructure to serve Maine communities for generations, but in the short term, it will also provide jobs when Maine people need work.”

The Maine Power Reliability Project has also been reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the New England Independent System Operator. The Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection approved the project earlier this year. CMP has also received local approvals in 50 communities.

The PUC on May 14 approved a settlement agreement with Central Maine Power for its $1.4 billion power reliability project. In the Midcoast, the settlement for the Maine Power Reliability Project called for non-transmission alternatives to be considered instead of upgrading the transmission lines.

CMP said in May that the power company will not move forward with planning or permitting for power line upgrades in the leg from the Highland substation to the Coopers Mills Road substation at this time. That area includes Waldoboro and Warren.

For more information visit mainepower.com.