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Emera shelves proposed undersea power line to New England

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Emera shelves proposed undersea power line to New England

Emera Inc. said it has placed most work on its proposed Atlantic Link transmission line on hold after the project was not chosen in Massachusetts' solicitation for electricity supply from new large-scale renewable and Canadian hydroelectric resources.

Atlantic Link was proposed as a 375-mile submarine line from Coleson Cove, New Brunswick, to Plymouth, Mass., capable of transmitting up to 1,000 MW of wind and hydroelectric power. The high-voltage direct-current line would have also delivered into the ISO New England market enough capacity to replace the output of Entergy Corp.'s approximately 670-MW Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, also in Plymouth, Mass., which is to be retired in May 2019.

In a statement, Nova Scotia-headquartered Emera said that despite Atlantic Link's bid to Massachusetts being rejected in January, the company continues to believe that connecting New England to new sources of affordable clean energy in eastern Canada by using reliable subsea cable "remains a compelling opportunity that would deliver significant value." If market conditions change, the company said work on the project could be restarted.

The Massachusetts request for proposals, issued in March 2017, sought 1,200 MW of clean energy over 20 years, at no more than 9.45 million MWh per year, but Emera bid in Atlantic Link at an initial 5.69 million MWh of generation, or 65% of its delivery capabilities, so that Massachusetts could buy additional energy from Canada in the future.

Seven proposed wind farms in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia along with two hydroelectric facilities owned by Nalcor Energy Corp. and NB Power in Atlantic Canada were slated to supply power over Atlantic Link. Had the project been selected, Emera had expected it to be in service by December 2022.

Massachusetts initially selected Eversource Energy's hydro-backed 1,090-MW Northern Pass HVDC project as the winning bid for the clean energy solicitation but New Hampshire's siting agency unexpectedly blocked the project by denying it a needed permit. As a result, the Massachusetts utilities contracted instead with Hydro-Québec and Avangrid Inc. to deliver hydroelectric power over Avangrid's 1,200-MW New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project that will run 145 miles through Maine.