Posted on February 15th, 2017 by

An update to the economic analysis of the hydroelectric energy transmitted by Northern Pass shows that the project will reduce wholesale energy costs in New England by more than $600 million annually, and eliminate more than 3 million tons of carbon emissions in the region each year.

The wholesale energy price reductions will ultimately flow to customers as retail energy cost savings. The significant reduction in emissions will help New England states achieve clean air goals.

“…LEI’s modeling update demonstrates that Northern Pass will deliver significant benefits to ratepayers in the form of lower electricity costs, carbon emissions reduction, and a more efficient system…”

(London Economics International Updated Analysis, February 2017)

The study, done by London Economics International (LEI) and filed today with the NH Site Evaluation Committee as part of the project’s ongoing state permitting process, provides an update to a 2015 LEI study that showed similar CO2 emission reductions and average regional economic savings of about $800 million annually.

According to LEI, the change in the estimated annual energy savings since 2015 is due to several factors,  including updated projected natural gas prices, lower forecasted customer energy demand, and a modest net increase in supply during the study period from 2020 – 2030. It also reflects changes to rules governing the Forward Capacity Market (FCM), which is administered by ISO-New England, the region’s electric system operator. The FCM provides incentive payments to energy generators through a competitive process under guidelines set annually by ISO-New England.  These payments are funded by electricity consumers. Although the size of Northern Pass’ impact in terms of megawatts has not changed since 2015, the total amount paid for capacity will be smaller because of ISO-New England’s 2016 FCM rules. As a result, LEI’s updated study now calculates $600 million in annual savings—a number that fluctuates based on annual FCM parameters.

“…this Updated Analysis shows that even in the face of shifting market conditions due to changes in underlying drivers and evolving market rules, a project like Northern Pass will create substantial wholesale electricity market benefits in the form of lower electricity costs, benefiting consumers across New England. In addition, the Updated Analysis suggests that Northern Pass still produces significant reductions in emissions of CO2 within the New England footprint, supporting many states’ legislated greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and overall societal initiatives to tackle the global Climate Change problem.”

(Testimony of Julia Frayer, Managing Director, London Economics International, February 2017)


Posted on February 1st, 2017 by

The coming year will bring two major decisions regarding the Northern Pass project. The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will hold adjudicative hearings in the spring and is expected to make a final decision on the project in mid to late summer. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to release its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this year, as well. With these major milestones ahead, the project will continue discussions with landowners, residents and businesses along the route to keep them aware of developments as the permitting process moves towards completion.

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SEC HEARINGS TO BEGIN IN APRIL
Adjudicative hearings are the last step in the SEC approval process. During these formal legal hearings, which are similar to those you might find in a court of law, information will be presented by Northern Pass and project experts to the SEC, including data on benefits, construction procedures, environmental impact and other aspects of the project. Witnesses for the Counsel for the Public and interveners will also provide testimony at this stage.
At the conclusion of the adjudicative hearings, the SEC will decide whether to grant the project a Certificate of Site and Facility, taking into consideration the testimony received and comments from the public.

FINAL EIS EXPECTED FROM DOE
The DOE is expected to issue its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Northern Pass sometime in 2017. The final EIS is based on information in the draft EIS issued in July 2015 and feedback the agency received on the draft as supplemented in November 2015.
The final EIS is a public document that reflects extensive analysis and research conducted by the DOE, and includes a detailed summary of possible environmental impacts of the project along the proposed route and an analysis of a number of alternative routes. This analysis is required prior to issuing the Presidential Permit that will allow the transmission of electricity across the U.S.- Canadian border.

A GROWING NEED
Gordon van Welie, the head of the regional grid operating system, ISO New England, recently highlighted the changing nature of our electric grid. Because of the retirement of older power plants, the region’s growing reliance on natural gas for generating electricity, and the lack of pipeline capacity to get natural gas to generators during cold winter days, van Welie warns of “the unavoidable conclusion” that New England needs more energy infrastructure to ensure a reliable system.
“Until large transmission lines are built to reach hydro and wind resources, and unless additional fuel infrastructure is added to meet the ever-increasing demand for natural gas to heat homes and businesses and to generate the power that lights those homes and businesses, we see a future with challenges that may require the ISO to employ suboptimal solutions,” van Welie said. Those “suboptimal solutions” include higher prices for consumers and an increase in carbon emissions.
High electricity costs are another issue elected officials seek to tackle in 2017. Incoming New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu urged policymakers to look at all energy solutions, including adding new sources of power.
“Whatever we do we’re focusing on, how is this going to drop rates for consumers, for individuals, for businesses? That has to be our primary focus, and then we’ll have tangible results,” Sununu said, according to the Portsmouth Herald. “This is an all-the-above whether we’re talking about the Northern Pass, bringing in more natural gas, a better renewable energy portfolio for the state, it’s all about efficiency.”

Northern Pass sees 2017 as an opportunity to take an important step forward in the region’s efforts to lower costs, ensure reliability and move toward a cleaner energy future.

 

2016: A YEAR OF PROGRESS
Last year was a landmark year for Northern Pass, during which the project reached a number of milestones that will be key in the effort to gain final approval in 2017. Some of the highlights include:
• ISO New England officially determined in July that Northern Pass 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 (PUC) decided in October that Northern Pass has the technical, managerial and financial expertise to operate as a public utility, and that it is in the public good for the project to do so. Northern Pass also committed to provide $20 million ($2 million a year for 10 years) for programs or initiatives approved by the PUC that advance clean energy innovation, community betterment, and economic development in New Hampshire, including energy efficiency programs.
• 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. In addition to the hundreds of million dollars to electric customers throughout New Hampshire and New England, the power purchase agreement, or PPA, will reduce price volatility for Eversource customers.
• Northern Pass announced in April the major contractors and material suppliers who will participate in the construction of the Northern Pass transmission line once the project receives its state and federal permits. Northern Pass contractors also conducted field work along the proposed route, including soil boring tests to log soil characteristics, as well as shovel test sampling for historical artifacts, as required under the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 process and by the SEC.

 

A NORTHERN PASS VIDEO

Mike Collins

Mike Collins is a North Country resident who supports Northern Pass because of the jobs it will bring to New Hampshire. “This amount of work close to home and the amount of jobs it will create in general, I think it’s great.” To hear more of what Collins said, go to www.northernpass.us/multimedia.

 

STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NORTHERN PASS
We have a number of ways for you to stay informed on the latest Northern Pass developments as the project moves through the permitting process. In addition to mailing this monthly newsletter to all landowners along the route and other stakeholders, we have a comprehensive website (www.northernpass.us) that includes detailed maps, view simulations, information about project benefits, environmental information and details about the project in each community along the route. Our website also includes the Northern Pass “Project Update” blog, where we post project and energy news updates regularly.
Northern Pass is committed to staying engaged with those interested in the project. We regularly post news, links, videos, and other energy information on social media, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As always, you can reach out to our hotline via email or phone.
Project Journal: http://blog.northernpass.us/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenorthernpass/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheNorthernPass
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/NorthernPassUS
Email: info@northernpass.us
Phone: 1-800-286-7305


Posted on February 1st, 2017 by

We hear again this week more concern from the business community about the high cost of electricity in New Hampshire. This story, focused on Seacoast-area manufacturers, highlights the feeling among business leaders that higher prices are “the cost of doing business” in the Granite State.

An affordable energy watch dog group is pointing to the recent decision by manufacturers to move out-of-state as a warning sign New Hampshire’s high energy costs are untenable. Industry is at the cutting edge of energy efficiency, but the group says a “balanced all-resource approach, which includes expansion of natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines” is also needed to get costs under control.

An analysis of the changing New England energy landscape indicates wind, solar and imported hydropower will become increasingly important sources of generating electricity. Energy industry experts expect natural gas to remain a crucial resource for the foreseeable future, despite limitations on pipeline capacity, and it appears oil and coal are still on the decline.

The price spikes we’ve seen in New England’s wholesale energy market in recent winters have been blamed on a lack of natural gas pipeline capacity during winter months. These eight charts illustrate that the close ties in natural gas and electricity prices is not just a Northeastern phenomenon and should be considered in developing future energy policy.

Considering how closely natural gas and electricity prices are aligned, expectations that natural gas prices are going up is not good news for businesses – and homeowners – watching their bottom line.

Quick Links:

NH’s high electricity costs threaten state economy

Portsmouth Herald 29 January 2017

Listen to the real energy concerns

New Hampshire Business Review 19 January 2017

Energy landscape undergoes major changes

Wicked Local 21 January 2017

Power & Gas Index: 8 regional charts show the link between gas and electricity markets

Utility Dive 25 January 2017

The days of cheap natural gas are over

Forbes 23 January 2017


Posted on January 31st, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that the proposal by Northern Pass to use public highways for underground installation of electric transmission lines is clearly allowed under state law.  The decision upholds a previous ruling by the NH Superior Court that dismissed a claim by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society).

In its decision, the Supreme Court affirmed that the project’s proposal is within the scope of the highway easement, and that the NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT) has the final say on the matter:

“We conclude that use of the Route 3 right-of-way for the installation of an underground high voltage direct current electrical transmission line, with associated facilities, falls squarely within the scope of the public highway easement as a matter of law, and that such use is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the DOT to regulate.  Through RSA 231:160 and RSA 231:161, the legislature has definitively found, consistent with our case law, that the use of highway easements for utility transmission lines is a reasonable use of the easement.”

In its November 2015 lawsuit, the Forest Society argued that Northern Pass must seek approval from the Society in order to bury a portion of the line within the public right-of-way next to property it owns, and that burial of a transmission line does not represent proper use of the roadways.  In May 2016, the NH Superior Court rejected this claim, saying that the project’s proposed use is “within the scope of the highway easement,” and agreed that the NHDOT, not the Forest Society, has “exclusive jurisdiction over whether to grant the project the necessary permits and licenses.”

As we’ve previously noted, the Forest Society has frequently demanded Northern Pass be buried, yet in this case, had filed this lawsuit to prevent its burial.  The Forest Society has also continued to raise the false notion that the use of eminent domain is possible for Northern Pass, when state law clearly prevents it, and the project does not require its use.

Northern Pass is currently in the midst of the New Hampshire siting process and anticipates a final decision by the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) later this year.  NHDOT participates in the state permitting process, and a representative from the agency sits on the SEC.

Northern Pass proposes to bury a total of 60 miles of the transmission line along public roadways, including a 52-mile stretch that eliminates visual impacts in the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, and the Franconia Notch area.  The federal permitting process also continues and includes a full review by the U.S. Department of Energy.

A copy of the full order can be found online here.


Posted on January 11th, 2017 by

  • In his inaugural address, Gov. Chris Sununu called for a “sensible, long-term plan” to meet New Hampshire’s energy needs and lower costs, including his support for new energy projects like Northern Pass. “Eleven-hundred megawatts of clean, renewable energy?  How do we say no to that when we have the highest energy rates in the country?  We can help ratepayers!” said Sununu.
  • The stark reality of the Granite State’s high energy costs has come into focus — defense and law enforcement contractor Sig Sauer, a valuable job creator in New Hampshire, has announced plans to expand to Arkansas due to electricity costs and concerns about future price volatility.
  • In an effort to meet the state’s goals to reduce carbon emissions, Massachusetts is expected to issue a request for proposals for 2,800 megawatts (MW) of clean energy, including 1,600 MW of offshore wind and 1,200 MW of renewables, such as Canadian hydropower.
  • Spectra announced the company will delay its proposed $3 billion natural gas pipeline expansion, which would have helped meet the demand of electric generation companies throughout New England, particularly on the coldest days when demand for power is greatest. Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO-New England, has said the region’s operating situation is precarious during the winter time and may become unsustainable beyond 2019 during extreme cold conditions without a additional pipeline capacity.
  • Massachusetts residents are calling for the immediate closure of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, which can generate 680 MW of nuclear energy, enough to power more than 600,000 homes.

Quick Links:

Sununu says battling the drug epidemic a top priority as he’s sworn in as NH governor

NH1 News, 5 January 2017

Gov. Chris Sununu delivers inaugural address

WMUR , 5 January 2017

Mike Marland: Dec. 28, 2016

Concord Monitor, 28 December 2016

Jim Roche: Energy cost and reliability are hitting NH employers

Union Leader, 1 December 2016

New England to charge ahead on clean energy makeover in 2017

RTO Insider, 2 January 2017

Spectra delays Access Northeast natural gas pipeline

Utility Dive, 2 January 2017

Grid in the balance

CommonWealth Magazine, 10 January 2017

Massachusetts residents continue to push for Pilgrim closure

Exchange Monitor, 3 January 2017


Posted on December 29th, 2016 by

Northern Pass Field Work Highlights: GEOTECHNICAL

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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.

Northern Pass Submits Designs and Traffic Control Plans to State

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.

NH Manufacturers Warn of the Impact of High Energy Costs

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.”

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

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.

Doing Something about Rates

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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
www.northernpass.us/multimedia.


Posted on December 22nd, 2016 by

  • The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee has approved a nine-turbine wind project in the southwestern part of the state.   Antrim Wind was first proposed seven years ago, but was initially rejected in 2013 for being “unaesthetically pleasing.”  The wind turbines are to be located on land leased by the developer and expected to produce 28.8 megawatts of power.
  • Proposals to build clean energy projects could prove worthless without the transmission infrastructure needed to get the power to consumers.  “A region whose residents and businesses say they want clean, affordable power so far has found it too costly and too divisive to build the transmission lines needed to make it possible.”
  • The program that New England’s grid operator uses to ensure the lights stay on in the winter cost the region $38 million last year. A watchdog group concerned with energy prices says this is a costly short-term fix and that a long-term solution is needed.
  • Some New Hampshire manufacturers are being forced to expand in other states due in part to our state’s high energy costs. With several major power generators scheduled to shut down in 2019, the Executive Vice President of Whelen, a large manufacturing facility and employer in Charlestown, is concerned, “…up until now, there has been little or no interest in the problem in our state government.”

Quick Links:

Wind Farm Project OK’d for Antrim

Union Leader, December 15, 2016

Why Maine’s Renewable Power Remains a Pipe Dream

Portland Press Herald, 19 December 2016

Winter Reliability Efforts Go Only So Far

Commonwealth Magazine, 15 December 2016

New Hampshire Manufacturers Face Two Major Crises

Foster’s Daily Democrat, 16 December 2016


Posted on December 20th, 2016 by

blue-hats

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.

Permitting

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.

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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.

NFWF Event Speakers

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.

LED Streetlight Installation

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.


Posted on December 15th, 2016 by

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.


Posted on December 7th, 2016 by

Backfilling a shovel test pit

 

Northern Pass Field Work Highlights: ARCHEOLOGY

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.

NH PUC Grants Northern Pass Utility Status

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.

SEC Wraps UP Northern Pass Technical Sessions

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.

apprentice-nh-2

Transmission Project, Job Training Program Puts NH Residents to Work

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.

van-natta

The Benefits from Northern Pass

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.