Maine’s Energy Infrastructure Interagency Review Panel (IRP) is accepting letters of intent for the possible use of state-owned I-95 and I-295 as corridors for electric transmission, according to an Oct. 9 statement from Gov. Paul LePage.
The primary responsibility of the IRP, which includes Kenneth Fletcher, director of the governor’s Energy Office, and Bruce VanNote, deputy commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation, among others, is to evaluate proposals to ensure they fit the scope and criteria of the project and ultimately choose a proposal that is in the ratepayers’ best interest, according to the statement.
Participants must show that the project will not block in-state electricity generation and will lower electricity rates and energy costs for Maine consumers. Project proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis and applications should be filed as soon as possible, the statement added.
“Since the project uses existing right-of-ways owned by the state, we can effectively develop an electricity infrastructure and reduce energy costs for Mainers without impeding on them,” Fletcher said in the statement.
According to the governor’s Energy Office, the IRP was established by Maine legislation (LD 1786) to oversee the use of statutory corridors. The panel is to identify an initial range of value for the use of state-owned land or assets within a statutory corridor. A professional appraiser who meets certain qualifications must determine the initial range of value.
The panel is to also establish and implement a regular process for soliciting, accepting and evaluating energy infrastructure proposals for use of a statutory corridor by, for instance, providing public notice of the availability of the statutory corridor for energy infrastructure development.
If a proposal is accepted, the panel may enter into negotiations with the potential developer who submitted the proposal regarding a long-term occupancy agreement with the state for the use of the statutory corridor.
The governor’s Energy Office also said the panel meets the first Monday of the month, with the next two meetings scheduled for Nov. 5 and Dec. 3.