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This is Governor John Baldacci.

Maine and New Brunswick have much in common.

We are neighbors with close cultural ties dating back generations.

We share a long border and a long history.

And we have an opportunity to advance together toward a stronger economic future and greater prosperity.

People on both sides of the border recognize that we must radically change the way we power our businesses, our industries and our homes.

Maine and New Brunswick – working together – have much to offer.

We have the chance to become the driving force in a new energy future, built upon cleaner, renewable sources of power.

Together, we can help to make our countries more energy secure and energy independent.

Earlier this week New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham and I made an exciting announcement regarding our energy futures both in his province and in our State.

We are taking the next step toward our shared objective of improved energy infrastructure to increase the long-term supply of secure, reliable and clean energy to our region.

We are taking this next step together – as partners – doing what is best for the people of this region on both sides of the border.

On Wednesday we began a process to explore the creation of a Northeast Energy Corridor that would connect Maine and New Brunswick, and that would accelerate development of renewable power and an improve the electrical grid in Maine.

An integral partner in this equation is Irving Oil Company. Irving Oil has had an important role in helping to advance this concept.

The company has been a catalyst on the Northeast Energy Corridor.

Irving Oil’s willingness to invest in the project has moved the Corridor closer to reality.

There is still much work to be done, and many important details to be considered.

But I envision the Northeast Energy Corridor as a connection between Maine and Saint John, New Brunswick that would connect our power projects to markets in Southern New England that are hungry for clean, renewable electricity.

The Corridor would provide an opportunity to co-locate multiple energy lines, cables, and other infrastructure to safely and reliably move energy.

I know this project could create tremendous potential for Maine.

• It holds the promise of connecting the electrical grid in Northern Maine to the rest of the State and to New Brunswick.

• It would provide the transmission capacity to spur the development of wind power in Maine and New Brunswick. Up to 800 MW of wind resources in Aroostook County alone can be connected to the grid through this corridor concept.

• And it offers the natural gas fired co-generation capacity necessary to support greater wind development.

The Northeast Energy Corridor would be the back-bone for a new commerce corridor of economic development and trade. The Corridor would help to attract significant direct investment to the region for job generation and business growth.

It is time to realize that Maine is not at the end of the pipeline; rather, we are in the middle of an energy hub.

The first phase of this project would attract about $2 billion dollars of investment and create thousands of jobs in Maine and New Brunswick.

The Corridor would also provide the opportunity to reduce community and environmental impacts by centralizing transmission projects and promoting partnerships among utilities, businesses and energy developers.

And, the Corridor could provide tens of millions of dollars each year in new revenue for the State.

Those resources could be used to meet our weatherization and energy efficiency goals, to invest in top quality energy research and other State priorities.

This builds on my announcement two weeks ago that Maine has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bangor Hydro/National Grid to explore the potential use of the right-of-way that exists along our interstates and roads for new, underground transmission lines.

Bangor Hydro’s Northeast Energy Link, which would run from Orrington to Boston, has the potential to inject $2 billion dollars into Maine’s economy and generate revenue for our State.

This is the beginning of an exploratory phase that will test a Northeast Energy Corridor concept with representatives from business, industry, labor and environmental organizations.

I am directing my Director of the Office of Energy Independence and Security, John Kerry, and the Public Advocate, Richard Davies, to lead this exploratory phase, in concert with New Brunswick’s efforts and in cooperation with the private partner that has already stepped forward, Irving Oil.

I am also directing them to review and consider utilizing the designation process for an “Energy Infrastructure Corridor” that was enacted in 2008 by the Maine Legislature.

Under the Act, the PUC may designate an energy infrastructure corridor if it:

• encourages co-location of energy infrastructure; • enhances the efficient utilization of existing energy infrastructure; • limits the environmental impact; or • improves electrical rates or economic development

I look forward to working with Premier Graham on this important opportunity for international collaboration.

I appreciate his leadership on this issue and his friendship.

Together, we can reach our shared goals of economic growth, energy independence and a better life for our people.

Thank you for listening and have a great weekend.

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