Posted on February 9th, 2016 by

Energy prices are low right now, thanks largely to a slide in the price of natural gas. Yet these current conditions don’t mean the region’s electricity challenges are solved. In fact, grid operator ISO-New England recently repeated its observation that the region needs additional natural gas pipelines and clean energy transmission lines to ease supply constraints and volatile prices.

Projects to connect New England with new sources of clean, renewable sources have the potential to not only bring stability to the region’s energy market, but also help states meet carbon reduction goals, create thousands of jobs, and infuse millions of dollars into the local economy.

 

Natural Gas Falls to One-Month Low
Wall Street Journal, 2 February 2016

‘Low’ energy prices still highest in the nation
Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 3 February 2016

ISO New England: Natural gas pipeline constraints threaten grid reliability
Springfield Republican, 27 January 2016

Clean energy effort moves forward with New England proposals
AP via Boston Herald, 29 January 2016

Is High-Voltage DC the Best Way to Modernize the Grid and Reduce Emissions?
Greentech Media, 29 January 2016


Posted on February 4th, 2016 by

You will have an opportunity to participate in the Northern Pass’ state permitting process in March. The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) issued an order this week announcing that it will host five public hearings on the project next month.

State law requires the Site Evaluation Committee to hold at least one public hearing in each county where the proposed facility will be located within 90 days after acceptance of an application for a state permit, known as a Certificate of Site and Facility. The public hearings will be joint hearings with representatives from state agencies that have permitting or other regulatory authority over issues regarding Northern Pass. The public hearings will also provide the public with information on the proposed project, an opportunity to submit both oral and written comments, as well as ask questions.

Two of these events – Colebrook and Concord – will be conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and will serve as a public hearing for both agencies. The DOE will host two additional meetings on its own during the week of March 7 to take comment on its draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Northern Pass project.

The dates and locations of the March SEC hearings are as follows:

 

Belknap County

Tuesday, March 1, 5 p.m.
Mill Falls at the Lake
Church Landing
281 Daniel Webster Highway
Meredith

 

Coös County (co-hosted with DOE)

Monday, March 7, 5 p.m.
Colebrook Elementary School
27 Dumont Street
Colebrook

 

Merrimack County (co-hosted with DOE)

Thursday, March 10 at 5 p.m.
Grappone Conference Center
70 Constitution Ave
Concord

 

Grafton County

Monday, March 14 at 5 p.m.
Plymouth State University
Welcome Center at the Ice Arena
129 NH Rt. 175A (Holderness Rd.)
Holderness

 

Rockingham County

Wednesday, March 16 at 5 p.m.
Deerfield Fair Pavilion
34 Stage Road
Deerfield

 

The SEC hearings, as well as the DOE hearings scheduled for the week of March 7, are just two ways in which the public can participate in the permitting and review process. If you cannot attend the hearings in person, you can still submit a written comment to the SEC. Written comments can be sent by mail, email or fax to:

New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee
Pamela G. Monroe, Administrator
21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10
Concord, NH 03301

Tel. (603) 271-2435
Fax. (603) 271-3878
E-mail: Pamela.Monroe@nh.gov


Posted on January 29th, 2016 by

Coming in March, you will have an opportunity to share your thoughts on Northern Pass with federal officials. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the dates and locations of four public hearings on the Northern Pass draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a document released in July 2015 which outlines potential environmental effects the project might have in the region of its proposed route and along alternative routes the DOE has reviewed.

Two of these events – Colebrook and Concord – will be joint meetings co-hosted by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and will serve as the required 90-day post-application Public Information Sessions for Coös and Merrimack counties.

The four DOE hearings will be held in the following locations:

Colebrook (joint hearing with SEC)

Monday, March 7, 5 p.m.

Colebrook Elementary School

27 Dumont Street

 

Waterville Valley

Wednesday, March 9, 5 p.m.

Waterville Valley Conference and Event Center, Waterville Room

56 Packards Road

 

Concord (joint hearing with SEC)

Thursday, March 10, 5 p.m.

Grappone Conference Center, Granite Ballroom

70 Constitution Avenue

 

Whitefield

Friday, March 11, 5 p.m.

Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa, Presidential Room

101 Mountain View Road

 

The DOE hearings are another step in the Northern Pass’ federal permitting process and just one of a number of ways residents can comment on the project. Residents can also send comments to the DOE by mail, email, phone or fax to:

Brian Mills
Senior Planning Advisor
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20)
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20585
Phone: 202-586-8267
Fax: 202-586-8008
Email: Brian.Mills@hq.doe.gov


Posted on January 28th, 2016 by

The following press release was issued Thursday morning.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (January 28, 2016) – Northern Pass Transmission (NPT) today submitted a comprehensive proposal to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island in response to a joint Clean Energy RFP. The NPT proposal will substantially reduce both energy prices and greenhouse gas emissions, improve winter reliability issues and add much-needed fuel diversity to the region’s energy mix—all while providing unmatched benefits and value for New England electric consumers.

“Our proposal offers the cleanest, most reliable and cost-effective energy product in the marketplace today,” said Tom May, Eversource Chairman, President and CEO. “We are ready to move ahead with our partner, Hydro-Québec (HQ), to help solve New England’s clean energy challenges.”

Northern Pass will bring 1,090 MW of clean, reliable hydroelectricity from HQ’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. Both the New Hampshire and Québec portions of the line are advancing in the siting process, and the project is on-track to be in service in May, 2019. NPT’s bid includes a fixed construction price of $1.6 billion, with the project seeking recovery of a portion of that cost from utilities participating in the solicitation. New Hampshire customers will not pay for the construction of the project.

Hydro-Québec: Providing a Firm Supply of Clean Power All Year Long

HQ is providing a unique delivery commitment to ensure that at least 6.3 terawatt hours (TWh) of firm hydro power from existing resources will be delivered into New England when customers need it the most—during peak demand periods and throughout the year when supplies are scarce and prices are at their highest. This proposal ensures that a guaranteed annual amount of energy is delivered to the New England wholesale energy market at prevailing market prices. HQ will transfer and verify the environmental attributes of the delivered power.

“Hydro-Québec has been a major participant and ally in the New England market for decades now but we can do more, through the guaranteed deliveries that are being proposed in this bid, to help the region meet its greenhouse reduction goals,” said Éric Martel, Hydro-Québec’s CEO. “We firmly believe that this project is an important part of the solution to expanding New England’s clean energy supply and offers increased reliability for both the Québec and New England grids.”

Substantial Clean Energy & Economic Benefits

Northern Pass will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 3 million tons a year, helping the region meet future clean energy requirements. In addition, the project will substantially lower and stabilize energy prices, generating billions of dollars in associated business and residential customer savings. With 6,200 direct and secondary jobs during the peak construction period and $600 million in new taxes, Northern Pass will have a significant economic impact in the region.

A World Class Construction Team – Extensive Cost Containment Steps

NPT and HQ have assembled a highly experienced team of contractors and equipment suppliers to complement our strengths as experienced, award-winning project developers. Accordingly, the project’s fixed construction price bid is the result of agreements reached with strategic partners, including Quanta Services, the largest transmission and distribution specialty contractor in North America, who will serve as the general contractor and assume the construction risk. Northern Pass has taken the additional steps to secure pricing on all materials and equipment, including with ABB, who will engineer and construct the underground DC cable and the converter station in Franklin, New Hampshire.  All strategic partners have pledged to adhere to Eversource’s “New Hampshire first” commitment in considering qualified, local contractors and workers for project positions before hiring elsewhere.

“We’ve developed this bid as a cost-effective solution to the region’s energy needs, and because we believe it is a win-win for New England consumers,” said Bill Quinlan, President of New Hampshire Operations for Eversource. “Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have the opportunity to advance their clean energy goals, while New Hampshire will not only share the inherent clean energy benefits, but will also receive substantial economic and environmental benefits unique to the Granite State.”

 

The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will bring New Hampshire and the rest of New England 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower. This reliable and affordable source of power will also bring a wide range of benefits exclusively to New Hampshire, including millions of dollars in energy cost savings, additional tax revenue, and jobs during construction. To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us. You can also email questions to info@northernpass.us or call 1-800-286-7305.

Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas for more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Eversource harnesses the commitment of its more than 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of delivering reliable energy and superior customer service. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@EversourceCorp) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceEnergy).

Hydro‑Québec generates, transmits and distributes electricity. Its sole shareholder is the Québec government. While using mainly hydroelectric generation, it supports the development of other technologies—such as wind energy and biomass—through purchases from independent power producers. It also conducts R&D in energy-related fields, including energy efficiency. The company has four divisions: Hydro-Québec Production, Hydro-Québec Transénergie , Hydro-Québec Distribution and Hydro-Québec Équipement et services partagés and Société d’énergie de la Baie James (SEBJ), a subsidiary of Hydro‑Québec. For more information, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter (@HydroQuébec)

 

CONTACT:

Martin Murray
603-634-2228
martin.murray@eversource.com

Lauren Collins
603-634-2418
lauren.collins@eversource.com

Gary Sutherland
514-289-4418
sutherland.gary@hydro.qc.ca


Posted on January 26th, 2016 by

Where will our energy come from in the next few years? It’s a question that’s driving both regional and national discussions. The preference for renewable resources is so prominent it was a major point of the President’s recent State of the Union address.

Slowly, developers and policy makers are navigating the uncertain path to a grid that relies more on renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. Wind continues to break production records, yet still has detractors. The solar discussion in New Hampshire is evolving with many questions yet to be answered. Hydropower projects, though hotly debated, offer both environmental and economic benefits that are getting close             review.

There does not appear to be any one answer to “where will our energy come from?” Instead, current conversations suggest the grid of the not-so-distant-future will likely be a mix of resources developed under close scrutiny.

 

NH needs more energy
New Hampshire Union Leader, 15 January 2015

Emera Maine ask to generate power again
Portland Press Herald, 12 January 2015

Benefits of Renewable Portfolio Standards Outweigh Costs, Report Finds
Clean Technica, 16 January 2015

President Obama’s New Energy Economy Relies On Renewables And Natural Gas
Forbes, 13 January 2015

Texas Sets New All-Time Wind Energy Record
Scientific American, 14 January 2015

Wind raises a lot of questions
New Hampshire Union Leader, 14 January 2015

Solar Developers Say N.H. Lawmakers’ Compromise Doesn’t Go Far Enough
NHPR, 13 January 2015

Buyer beware: Solar power may be missing key ingredient
AP via Penn Energy, 18 January 2015

Northern Pass draws mixed reception at Londonderry meeting
New Hampshire Union Leader, 13 January 2015

My Turn: Hydro-Quebec is an ally in the fight against climate change
Concord Monitor, 16 January 2015


Posted on January 14th, 2016 by

In comments submitted to the Department of Energy (DOE) this week, Northern Pass outlined the reasons why alternative routes involving underground construction along the I-93 highway corridor are not reasonable, and do not merit further consideration in the DOE’s Final Environmental Impact Study (EIS).

More than 80 percent of the proposed route for Northern Pass is along existing transmission corridors or underground along public roadways. That proposal, which has been officially submitted for both federal and state review, is the result of years of analysis of the best alternatives for delivering 1,090 MW of clean, reliable hydroelectric power to New Hampshire and the region.

The DOE evaluated three alternatives involving underground along I-93 – largely in response to feedback during the scoping period for the EIS. While some believe I-93 is a viable option for further burial of the line, the reality is that there are numerous legal and practical restrictions under federal and state law that would prevent the use of that alternative.

Below are some examples of why alternatives involving burial along I-93 are infeasible:

  • Unlike the more traditional public highways where Northern Pass proposes to construct the Project, I-93 is governed by a more stringent set of restrictions that are applicable along interstate highways. These requirements protect the interstate’s underlying purpose to provide “optimum mobility and safety of through traffic.”
  • Addressing new underground utility installations along freeways, the NH Department of Transportation’s Utility Accommodation Manual (UAM) states clearly: “Longitudinal installations are not permitted within the LAROW (Limited Access Right-of-Way) lines parallel to either the through roadway or its ramps.”
  • Exceptions to the UAM are granted in cases when an applicant demonstrates “extreme hardship,” including that “[a]lternate locations are not available or cannot be implemented at a reasonable cost.” Northern Pass cannot plausibly meet the UAM-prescribed standard for a design exception.
  • Even if extreme hardship could be shown, longitudinal installations are prohibited in the median and roadway. They must be located as near as practical to the edge of the right-of-way, in areas that, for I-93 through New Hampshire, are largely undisturbed.
  • To construct Northern Pass in the area between the I-93 roadway and the outer edge of the I-93 corridor would require extensive tree, vegetation and ledge removal – measures that are largely unnecessary along the state roads Northern Pass has designated in its project design in the area of the White Mountain National Forest.
  • Access options to the LAROW as prescribed by the UAM are not available along certain portions of I-93 to accommodate the kind of construction activities required for Northern Pass without considerable disturbance of previously undisturbed areas. As a result, a gravel access road would need to be constructed paralleling the highway travel lanes, requiring extensive tree, vegetation, ledge and wetland impacts.
  • Major construction is also prohibited within Franconia State Park under a 1977 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that led to a Stipulated Order of Dismissal in Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) v. Adams, Case No. 74-208 (D.N.H.), an agreement that resolved extended litigation over the construction of I-93 through Franconia Notch State Park. The MOA, which was signed by seven state and non-governmental parties, provided that “there will be no additional lanes or major construction within the Park.”

The federal and state permitting processes are long and thorough, and will ultimately determine whether the Project’s proposal is adequate. We believe our recent comments to the DOE will help both state and federal officials understand why ours is the best proposal for New Hampshire.

The DOE is currently seeking comments from all interested parties to help shape the Final EIS for Northern Pass, while the NH Site Evaluation Committee has begun its own permitting process with the recent acceptance of the Project’s application. SEC Public meetings are now underway, and the DOE is expected to announce dates for its public hearings soon.


Posted on January 13th, 2016 by

It costs significantly less to fill up your gas tank than it did a year ago and most Americans are looking forward to lower overall energy prices in 2016. Yet in New Hampshire, where energy prices remain among the highest in the nation, the call still resounds for lower energy costs.

Contentious debates may surround many of the region’s proposals to increase natural gas capacity and build new, clean energy projects. There are signs of progress, however, as the state and New England seek to tackle its energy challenges and renewable sources are at the center of many of those discussions.

Americans can look to another year of low energy costs
CBS Market Watch, 4 January 2016

Scott Filion: Lower energy costs essential to staying competitive
New Hampshire Union Leader, 10 January 2016

We need lower electric rates
New Hampshire Union Leader, 8 January 2016

Towns, residents seek to be part of pipeline approval process
Keene Sentinel, 7 January 2016

Opponents of Maine wind farms seek to opt out of speedy reviews
Portland Press Herald, 4 January 2016

Winds of Change Off the New England Coast
Huffington Post, 6 January 2015

New Round Of Northern Pass Public Information Meetings To Start In Franklin
NHPR, 4 January 2016

Renewables include hydro, tidal, geothermal power
Cape Cod Times, 3 January 2016

 


Posted on January 6th, 2016 by

The sun has set on 2015, a year that was brimming with energy stories. So, what’s in store for 2016? Locally, nationally, and even globally, the move to cleaner energy and the dramatic changes in the oil and natural gas industries will continue to seize headlines.

2015 Electricity generation, per thousand megawatt hours, broken down by fuel source. Figures through October.  Source: www.eia.gov

2015 Electricity generation, per thousand megawatt hours, broken down by fuel source. Figures through October. Source: www.eia.gov

The vivid debate about the future of energy will be sure to continue in the New Year. But 2016 is also poised for progress in many places – including New Hampshire – where major infrastructure projects are now in the siting process.

 
Cheap gas, oil craters: 2015 rocked energy sector
USA Today, 3 January 2016

5 Energy Trends to Watch in 2016
Fortune, 30 December 2015

What NH’s economy, education & government may look like in 2016 (Part 2)
WMUR, 3 January 2016

Global renewable energy to boom over next decade
PennEnergy, 29 December 2016

Tax Breaks, Falling Costs Are Boosting Wind And Solar
NPR, 29 December 2015

Renewables include hydro, tidal, geothermal power
Cape Cod Times, 3 January 2016

Americans can look to another year of low energy costs
CBS News, 4 January 2016

Elected officials seeking to slow pipeline proposal with state legislation
Keene Sentinel, 3 January 2016

Renewable energy efforts stymied by transmission roadblocks
AP via Foster’s Daily Democrat, 22 December 2015

New Round Of Northern Pass Public Information Meetings To Start In Franklin
NHPR, 4 January 201


Posted on January 4th, 2016 by

Northern Pass has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment regarding the lawsuit filed by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) to block the project from being buried along portions of Route 3 in Clarksville in the public highway right-of-way. The Motion for Summary Judgment asks the Superior Court to rule as a matter of law that the claims set forth by SPNHF are without merit and should be rejected on the basis of clear legal precedent.

Northern Pass continues to strongly defend its right to use public rights-of-way for the portions of the project that will be placed underground. New Hampshire state law has permitted the placement of underground utilities in state highway rights-of-way for more than 150 years, including the use of new methods and technologies as they emerge. The law gives the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) the power to authorize what uses are allowed in these public highway rights-of-way. The DOT will review Northern Pass’ application as part of the state permitting process.

Because the state law is so clear and well-established as to the right to place utility transmission lines within a public right-of-way, Northern Pass is asking the Court to decide the legal case now to deny SPNHF’s requests on all counts.

Click here for the Memorandum of Law in support of the Motion for Summary Judgment


Posted on December 22nd, 2015 by

Five hearings provide an opportunity for residents to participate in the State permitting process

Today the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) scheduled a series of five Public Information Sessions. The Public Information Sessions are another step forward for Northern Pass as it makes its way through the state review process.

The locations, dates and times of these sessions are listed in an order and notice issued by the SEC, as well as a separate procedural order. Under state law, Public Information Sessions must be held in each county in which the proposed facility is to be located within 45 days of a project’s application being accepted. Similar to the Public Information Sessions held in September, they give residents another opportunity to participate in the state approval process.

“The purpose of the public information session is to provide the public with information on the proposed Project, to provide an opportunity for comments and questions from the public, and to explain the process the Subcommittee will follow in reviewing the application,” states the public notice issued by the SEC today.

Before and during the Public Information Sessions, Northern Pass will also host an Open House for residents who wish to learn more about the project and meet with project representatives one-on-one. Open Houses will begin at 5 p.m. at each of the venues listed below.

Merrimack County: January 11, 2016 at 6 p.m., Franklin Opera House, 316 Central Street, Franklin, NH

Rockingham County: January 13, 2016 at 6 p.m., Londonderry High School, 295 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, NH

Belknap County: January 14, 2016 at 6 p.m., Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, 62 Doris Ray Court, Laconia, NH

Coös County: January 20, 2016 at 6 p.m., Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, 101 Mountain View Road, Whitefield, NH

Grafton County: January 21, 2016 at 6 p.m., The Mountain Club on Loon Resort and Spa, 90 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, NH