NH1 News, 5 January 2017
WMUR , 5 January 2017
Concord Monitor, 28 December 2016
Union Leader, 1 December 2016
RTO Insider, 2 January 2017
Utility Dive, 2 January 2017
CommonWealth Magazine, 10 January 2017
Exchange Monitor, 3 January 2017
Throughout 2016, Northern Pass and its contractors conducted engineering, or geotechnical, field investigations along the underground portions of the proposed project route. Geotechnical work is a required step in the permitting process to support the progression of a project’s design. Geotechnical field investigations began in several locations following the completion of a thorough survey of the underground route and the acquisition of required permits.
Work was located in the shoulder, or just off the shoulder, of the roadways of Route 3, Route 112, Route 116, Route 18, and Route 302 and involved a series of drilled holes three inches in diameter, located approximately every 1,000 feet. Holes varied in depth from 15 feet to 65 feet, and core samples were taken at various intervals to document sub-surface conditions. After each hole was complete, they were returned to pre-work conditions in compliance with state permitting requirements. The same process was used at each proposed transition station, converter terminal, and at the Deerfield Substation.
While work was occurring, crews utilized project flaggers and, where necessary, police officers to ensure traffic moved smoothly and safely past project work zones.
As part of our ongoing permitting process, Northern Pass recently submitted an advanced design to the NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT) for the portions of the project that will be buried under or adjacent to the roadway in the northern section of the proposed route. The design includes a traffic control plan for the underground construction phase of the project to ensure all local traffic will have access to residences and businesses, and that the safety of workers and the traveling public is considered.
Northern Pass is committed to working together with the host communities to minimize potential impact and traveler delay. We have contacted town officials and landowners along the underground route about the traffic control plan and will continue to communicate with them. The project will hold meetings with local officials, business owners, residents and other stakeholders before construction work begins to go over the construction process and expected timeline. Northern Pass will also have a team on the ground to work one-one-one with people along the underground route to individually address the specific needs of each business and resident.
The advanced design and traffic control plan will be reviewed by the NH DOT as part of the permitting process and we anticipate it will be posted on the agency’s website.
This holiday season, chances are you’ll find some Lindt & Sprungli in your stocking or at your neighbor’s Christmas party. The Swiss chocolate company has a strong New Hampshire connection, operating a plant in Stratham which employs around 1,500 people. But future growth in the state is threatened. The facility pays more than $5 million a year for electricity, a cost the company expects to rise by another half-million in 2017.
“The concerning part for us is that we are at this point, the company is not willing to grow any more in New Hampshire,” said Robert Michalski, vice president of operations at Lindt & Sprungli in a New Hampshire Union Leader article. “The only way that we’re going to be able to grow in New Hampshire further is by finding ways to reduce our energy, our energy costs in this state.”
The Union Leader reported there were a number of manufacturing leaders who shared the same concern at the recent NH Business and Industry Association’s 2016 energy symposium in Manchester, including Jeff Chierepko, Sig Sauer’s director of facilities. Sig Sauer employs 1,400 in New Hampshire but opted to build a new 70,000-square-foot plant in Arkansas for its most recent expansion. Arkansas’ energy costs, which are roughly half of that in New Hampshire, were cited as a reason for the decision.
“Our first option was in New Hampshire, but if you look at energy costs and all the other things I mentioned, there’s not even a starting point there,” said Chierepko. “We were pursued by a lot of different states and a lot of them happen to be where energy costs are half. We’d like them all to be in New Hampshire,” he said. “Our energy costs are through the roof.”
The retirement of power plants and New England’s constrained natural gas pipelines during winter months are contributing to high prices. Increasing the supply of diverse sources of new energy to the grid with projects like Northern Pass will help lower energy costs not just for these manufacturers, but for the people who live in New Hampshire as well.
Franklin City Councilor Tony Giunta says he had heard from constituents about the need to do something about New Hampshire’s high energy prices. When businesses can get lower rates in other states, it puts local businesses at a disadvantage, he said. “What I’m saying is, I’m worried,” said Giunta.
He believes lowering costs is important to keeping local businesses here in New Hampshire and can be done through new energy projects like Northern Pass. To hear more of what Giunta said, go to
Union Leader, December 15, 2016
Portland Press Herald, 19 December 2016
Commonwealth Magazine, 15 December 2016
Foster’s Daily Democrat, 16 December 2016
Northern Pass had a landmark year in 2016, reaching a number of milestones key to the project’s approval. The Department of Energy (DOE) received public comments and held a series of public hearings throughout New Hampshire. At the state level, the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) took comments from the public, held a number of public hearings, and advanced the process through Technical Sessions and decisions on motions.
Looking ahead to 2017, the SEC will hold adjudicative hearings in the spring, and is expected to make a final decision on the project no later than September 30. The DOE is expected to release its final Environmental Impact Statement sometime next year, as well.
Below is a recap of 2016 milestones to highlight how far the project has come this year. We look forward to 2017, with Northern Pass on track to complete all permitting processes.
The DOE held public hearings throughout the state in March to gather input on its draft Environmental Impact Statement on Northern Pass.
The SEC held 12 public information sessions and public hearings on Northern Pass throughout the state and in communities along the route from January through June. Northern Pass also organized a series of bus tours of the route for the SEC and interveners in coordination with these hearings.
The discovery phase of the state permitting process began in April, requiring Northern Pass to provide documents to the Counsel for the Public and the interveners to the Northern Pass SEC docket. This process continued into August and concluded with Northern Pass staff providing more than 1,250 data responses.
In the fall, the SEC began its first round of Technical Sessions, which provided an informal opportunity for the parties involved in the Northern Pass state review process to ask questions of project experts. There were 21 session held, covering a wide range of topics related to the project, including construction, project benefits, aesthetics, and economic and environmental impact.
Northern Pass secured a key regulatory approval in July when ISO New England officially determined that the clean energy project can reliably interconnect with the regional electric grid. By approving the project’s I.3.9 application, ISO New England determined Northern Pass will not have a significant, adverse effect on the reliability or operating characteristics of the regional grid and its participants.
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) announced in October that Northern Pass has the technical, managerial, and financial expertise to operate as a public utility once the project is fully permitted, and that it is in the public good for the project to do so. The agreement includes Northern Pass’ commitment to provide $20 million ($2 million a year for 10 years) for programs or initiatives approved by the NHPUC that advance clean energy innovation, community betterment, and economic development in New Hampshire, including energy efficiency programs.
In the Community
Business leaders from across the state representing 50 companies announced their support for Northern Pass in March. In a joint statement to the Site Evaluation Committee, the diverse group of New Hampshire businesses, including some of the state’s largest employers, urged elected officials to join them in support of the project.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced eight conservation, restoration and research grants in August totaling nearly $1 million to restore New Hampshire’s forest and freshwater habitat. The grants were funded through Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife, a partnership between Northern Pass, Eversource and NFWF. Collectively, these projects will open 175 miles of streams for Eastern Brook Trout, improve habitat for New England cottontail, American woodcock, and golden-winged warblers on 852 acres of forestland, and reduce polluted runoff from entering streams, including 47 tons of sediment and 41 tons of phosphorus.
Roger’s Campground in Lancaster unveiled the North Country’s first electric vehicle charging station in May, made possible through funding from Northern Pass and the Forward NH Plan.
In July, Lancaster became the first North Country town to install energy-efficient LED street lights, reducing energy consumption by 60 percent. Switching from conventional to LED street lights was funded by the Forward NH Plan.
Emergency responders saw an improvement to their radio communications system in eight communities in northern New Hampshire and Vermont this summer thanks to the installation of a new emergency radio antenna. The antenna, which was funded by Northern Pass, enables police to communicate via radio in areas where radio signal was previously unavailable.
Project Work and Construction
In April, Northern Pass announced the major contractors and material suppliers who will execute the engineering, design and construction of the Northern Pass transmission line once the project receives state and federal permits. Later that month, Northern Pass contractors began field work along the proposed route that continued through the rest of the year. Geotechnical work included soil boring tests along the proposed route to log soil characteristics, and archeological field work included shovel test sampling for historical artifacts, as is required under the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 process and by the SEC.
Other Key Decisions
The New Hampshire Superior Court ruled in favor of Northern Pass in May and unequivocally dismissed claims by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests that use of public highways was subject to the Forest Society’s approval.
In June, Eversource and Hydro-Québec reached a significant agreement that ensures Eversource customers in New Hampshire will receive a substantial supply of clean energy from the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project. The power purchase agreement, or PPA, is expected to deliver additional benefits that, when combined with the lowering of market power prices, bring the total estimated energy cost savings for New Hampshire customers to more than $1 billion.
False information is being circulated via social media by anonymous groups opposed to Northern Pass. These groups remain anonymous, refusing to provide information about who they are or who funds them, all while attempting to influence New Hampshire’s elected officials and regulators.
The latest effort by a group called No to Northern Pass makes a false claim that the project, “is asking the NH Public Utilities Commission to approve charging its customers for the construction and maintenance costs of Northern Pass. These construction costs would be passed on to the NH ratepayers, causing higher bills for the next 40 years.” The message goes on to tell readers to contact the Governor-elect and members of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
Northern Pass has made it clear from the day the project was first announced that New Hampshire customers will not pay for the project. In fact, New Hampshire will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits that are unique to the state.
As Northern Pass continues to advance through the state and federal permitting processes, it is likely that anonymous groups like No to Northern Pass and Protect the Granite State will continue to try to disrupt the public processes designed to fairly evaluate projects like Northern Pass. We will continue to alert you when that happens.
New Hampshire and the region face serious energy challenges, as evidenced by this recent front page story in the New Hampshire Union Leader. New energy projects deserve a fair review process based on the facts. New Hampshire deserves better than outside anonymous groups attempting to use false information to influence decision-makers.
Over the last year, Northern Pass contractors conducted archeological field investigations along the Project’s proposed route. Archeological investigations included shovel test sampling for resources in various locations along the existing transmission corridor, and along public roads. The top-most layer, sometimes referred to as the “sod cap”, is removed, and the soil beneath is sifted to search for artifacts.
Once the investigation is completed the soil is backfilled, tamped down, and the top-most layer replaced. This work, which is nearly complete, is required for the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 process, and for the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). All findings are considered culturally sensitive and confidential.
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) announced recently that Northern Pass has the technical, managerial and financial expertise to operate as a public utility once the project is fully permitted, and that it is in the public good for the project to do so. As a public utility, Northern Pass operations will be subject to the jurisdiction of the NHPUC once the project is in service. This is consistent with how other transmission owners operate in New Hampshire.
“This approval is another milestone for the project, which promises to deliver significant environmental, economic, and energy cost savings to New Hampshire,” said Bill Quinlan of Eversource. “We appreciate the excellent work by the NHPUC staff and Commissioners in evaluating the project, and look forward to further dialogue as the evaluation process continues.”
In addition to granting Northern Pass public utility status, the NHPUC order formalizes Northern Pass’ commitment to provide $20 million ($2 million a year for 10 years) for programs or initiatives approved by the NHPUC that advance clean energy innovation, community betterment, and economic development in New Hampshire, including energy efficiency programs. The funding for these initiatives will come from the Forward NH Fund, which will be established by Northern Pass to provide unique benefits to New Hampshire.
This approval by the NHPUC follows another key regulatory milestone for Northern Pass. In July, Northern Pass was granted an I.3.9 approval by the regional grid operator, ISO New England, which officially determined that the clean energy project can reliably interconnect with the regional electric grid. You can view the NHPUC order on Public Utility Status on the agency’s website.
Northern Pass recently completed the Technical Session review phase of the state permitting process. These informal hearings were an opportunity for the parties involved in the Northern Pass state permitting process to ask questions of the project and are part of the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee’s (SEC) ongoing review of the project.
The SEC review process will soon move on to Northern Pass’ review of testimony and information provided by experts and witnesses representing the Counsel for the Public and others. For more information about the SEC process, go to the SEC docket on Northern Pass, posted on the agency’s website. You can also find updates about the project and its permitting process on the Northern Pass Project Journal.
A joint transmission project between Eversource and National Grid is putting local companies and residents to work in the Merrimack Valley, while the launch of a lineworker certificate program at Manchester Community College is training people for future projects.
A number of New Hampshire-based companies and workers were selected to begin the first phase of construction on the Merrimack Valley Reliability Project (MVRP), a transmission project between Londonderry and Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Local companies include Triple L Trucking and Greymont Trucking of Henniker, M & R Wood Recycling of Derry, A.B. Excavating of Lancaster, U.S. Silt & Site Supply of Bow, Redimix Companies Inc. of Manchester, New England Mat Company of Winchester, and Busby Construction of Atkinson. Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 104 and other local unions will also provide workers for the project. Non-union workers will also be employed in a variety of roles.
Eversource also announced in October its partnership with Manchester Community College (MCC), the National Electrical Contractors Association, and IBEW Local Unions 104 and 1837 to offer a certification program that will help prepare the next generation of electrical lineworkers in New Hampshire. The partnership offers a limited number of candidates valuable training and the opportunity to progress into Eversource’s paid apprenticeship program.
“This new program fits perfectly into our philosophy of giving students hands-on learning opportunities which lead directly to well-paying jobs in the market,” says Susan Huard, President of Manchester Community College. “This will be an attractive new program for those looking to advance their skills, pursue a new career path with Eversource, or work toward completing a degree.”
For more information about the MCC lineworker certificate program or the Eversource apprenticeship program go to the company website.
New Hampshire resident Michael Van Natta sees a lot of upside when it comes to Northern Pass, like stabilizing energy costs, underground lines reducing potential view impacts, and funding for communities in New Hampshire.
“The benefits package that’s going to communities, if you want to support New Hampshire, you should support it,” said Van Natta. “It’s money coming in to these communities that don’t have a lot of funding.”
To hear more of what Van Natta said, go to the Northern Pass videos page.
Power Magazine, 22 November 2016
U.S. Energy Information Administration, 18 November 2016
Vermont Digger, 20 November 2016
Providence Journal, 24 November 2016
Union Leader, 24 November 2016
NH Business Review, 10 November 2016
NECN, 18 November 2016
Upstart Business Journal, 15 November 2016
Commonwealth Magazine, 17 November 2016
Portland Press Herald, 16 November 2016
Union Leader, 15 November 2016
SNL, 11 October 2016
Platts, 26 October 2016
NHBR, 26 October 2016
Electric Light&Power, 19 October 2016
Greentechmedia, 13 October 2016
Concord Monitor, 8 October 2016
Eversource was notified yesterday that our Northern Pass Transmission project was not chosen as part of the three-state Clean Energy RFP (request for proposals). We recognize that this RFP was primarily focused on satisfying Class 1 renewable energy (wind and solar) requirements of the participating states, and NPT was among other project proposals that did not strictly meet that criteria.
We are now focusing our efforts on the next round of contracting immediately around the corner — most specifically in Massachusetts. We are encouraged that Governor Baker and the Legislature have spoken by passing a landmark law that enables long-term contracting for large-scale hydro projects and requires an RFP to take place in the spring of 2017. Northern Pass is well positioned to respond to the region’s call for clean, large-scale hydropower.
“We are pleased with the key approvals the project continues to receive, and look forward to participating in the April solicitation for large-scale hydroelectricity,” said Bill Quinlan, President of Eversource NH Operations. “The region’s energy landscape is shifting quickly. Northern Pass, with its 1,090 MWs of clean hydro-power, and permitting well underway on both sides of the border, is in a strong position to play an important role in helping the region achieve a cleaner energy future.”
“New England is leading the U.S. in transition to a clean energy future and Hydro-Québec, as your long-standing ally in the energy sector, is happy to be a part of that future,” said Steve Demers, Vice President, Business Development, Acquisitions and Strategy for Hydro-Québec. “With the Northern Pass project, Hydro-Québec will be in a position to greatly increase its supply of clean hydropower to New England, helping to keep electricity prices stable and bringing the region closer to meeting its emission reduction goals.”
We know that a mix of clean energy sources will be needed to solve our region’s energy challenges given our strong commitment to reducing carbon emissions, as well as the planned base load generation retirements on the horizon. We are pleased to see the states moving ahead with Class 1 renewables (solar and wind) as part of this solicitation. However, significantly more is needed and Northern Pass is designed to meet that need.
ISO-New England has identified the region’s electricity supply situation as “precarious” in winter and we know the time to act is now. Northern Pass will provide substantial reliability, economic and environmental benefits to the region.
Northern Pass will bring its clean, reliable hydroelectricity from Hydro-Québec’s existing resources over a high-voltage transmission line extending from Des Cantons substation in Québec to Deerfield, New Hampshire where the line will interconnect to the New England electric system. The power delivered by Northern Pass will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 3.3 million tons a year, the equivalent of taking about 690,000 cars off the road.
Beyond helping to meet regional clean energy goals, Northern Pass will deliver unique and substantial benefits to New Hampshire, including a power purchase agreement that will dedicate a specific portion of Northern Pass’s clean hydroelectricity to Eversource New Hampshire customers, 2,600 construction jobs with a commitment to hire New Hampshire workers first, over $600 million in new tax revenue, and $200 million for New Hampshire economic, community development and clean energy initiatives through the Forward NH Fund.