PUC to test power line alternatives

The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a pilot program Monday to test alternatives to building costly new transmission lines in the midcoast region.

The agreement between Portland-based GridSolar, the Maine Public Advocate, the Conservation Law Foundation, Environment Northeast and the Efficiency Maine Trust supports development of a smart-grid pilot project in the Boothbay region.

This pilot is the first of its kind in Maine and is designed to test the use of non-transmission alternatives as a way to avoid building an $18 million upgrade to a transmission line in the region. These alternatives can include energy efficiency, demand response — in which businesses turn off unnecessary equipment at times of peak use — and renewable and non-renewable generation.

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