Massachusetts has picked another big transmission line for a potential energy contract, with the Northern Pass project in doubt.
That new project is New England Clean Energy Connect, which would bring Canadian hydropower through Maine.
Massachusetts regulators announced late Friday they would start negotiating a contract with the project's developer, Central Maine Power Company.
At the same time, Massachusetts will also keep working on a contract negotiation with Eversource's Northern Pass plan, to bring that hydropower through New Hampshire.
Northern Pass was denied its final permit by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee last month, and is facing a lengthy appeals process before it can start construction.
Still, Eversource said in a statement it sees this latest Massachusetts decision as a possible path forward.
The New England Power Generators Association criticized the decision to tap Maine as a back-up plan, saying in a statement, "Once again, Hydro Quebec wins, and consumers lose."
Massachusetts wants to finalize a contract by March 27 and bring its new power online in 2020.