Attorneys for the developers of the New England Clean Energy Connect project said in recent court filings that allowing the results of a November 2021 ballot referendum to halt the planned transmission line "would chill future economic development in Maine, frustrate efforts to address climate change and violate basic constitutional principles."
Avangrid Inc. subsidiaries NECEC Transmission LLC and Avangrid Networks Inc. also reiterated arguments that the ballot referendum violates multiple legal principles, including vested rights of a property owner, ahead of a state Supreme Court hearing scheduled for May. (Case No. BCD-21-416)
"Why would a business choose to invest in Maine if projects can be dismantled after following all the rules to get them approved and having made significant investments in construction?" Scott Mahoney, Avangrid senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, said in a news release.
According to the Feb. 16 filings, Avangrid spent $449.8 million, or 43% of the estimated $1.04 billion total project cost, as of Nov. 2, 2021. On that date, 59% of voters approved the ballot measure to halt construction of the overhead high-voltage, direct-current transmission project that would import 1,200 MW of Canadian hydropower.
Avangrid and partner developer Hydro-Québec filed a joint lawsuit in 2021 following the results of the referendum and have stopped construction on the project while the legal battle plays out.
Avangrid is a subsidiary of Spanish energy company Iberdrola SA.