COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: An open letter to Gov. Janet Mills regarding the NECEC project

by Bob OConnor
Citizen Town of China
Founding board member of China Lake Association

Dear Governor Janet T. Mills,

This is my Open Letter to you to consider revising your stance on the NECEC project (CMP-Quebec Hydro). Please require that NECEC put the new power lines underground.

Recently the federal “Environmental Protection Agency says Central Maine Power’s permit application now being reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its controversial New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line project is incomplete and needs a ‘detailed analysis’ of alternatives.”

I want to speak to these alternatives and suggest that the NECEC Change their plan and REQUIRE that the HVDC line be fully put underground.


Underground lines are Safer from Environment Extreme Climate events, Wind and Ice Storms. Transmission towers like the proposed came down in a heap during the 1998 Ice storm in Quebec. (Pictured above)

There was even more ice damage in Quebec than in Maine.

Severe windstorms can also take down these towers. See Google for more examples of the vulnerability of these towers and find many recent examples of failure of these towers due to storms. The trend going forward is for more frequent and more severe storms.

Putting the HVDC lines underground will almost totally eliminate Storm damage.


Underground lines are much safer from Sabotage from some misguided person or group.

See the current Canes Film Festival winner from Iceland Woman at War to see how easy it is to sabotage power lines using a bow and arrow. (Shown in Waterville Maine).

This movie shows the necessity of police patrols with helicopters, drones and heat sensitive cameras. The new isolated rural 43-mile line is likely to require regular patrols that will further upset the wildlife and people.

Putting the cables underground would significantly reduce the possibility of sabotage.


With the current plan, CMP will be using herbicides that will adversely affect the Maine woods, wetlands, streams and ponds. Putting the wires underground would eliminate the need for herbicides.


This picture to the right shows the comparison of land disturbance of above ground HVDC towers with underground HVDC lines.

This image from Page 17 of the EuropaCable document attached shows how much less intrusive underground HVDC is. It shows in the first example, 100m (328 ft.) wide path tower path (1) and the 12m (40 ft.) underground path (4). This is an 88 percent reduction in path width.

There is very little electromagnetic radiation from HVDC underground lines (versus AC lines) and light farming can even be done over the underground cables.

Also note that the two alternate route RFP’s from Vermont and New Hampshire proposed using HVDC underground lines to Quebec Hydro.

See attached document that gets into the details of HVDC underground Europacable ‘Introduction_to_HVDC_Underground_Cables_October_2011‘.

Governor, please consider modifying your stance on the NECEC project and STIPULATE THAT THE CABLES BE PUT UNDERGROUND.



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