Northern Pass has secured a key regulatory approval this week as 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. All energy projects must secure this approval in order to be connected to the New England grid.
Northern Pass is a proposed transmission line that will carry 1,090 megawatts of clean, reliable hydroelectric power to New Hampshire and New England. The project is currently in the midst of state and federal permitting processes.
*In 2014, ISO New England approved the I.3.9 application for the project’s original 1,200 megawatt proposal.
Below is today’s post by Eversource regarding the power purchase agreement (PPA) between Eversource and Hydro-Québec. It is important to note that the NH Public Utilities Commission ( PUC) will make the final decision on the PPA. While some naysayers, including competitors of Northern Pass, will attempt to undermine the benefits of the agreement, there is a process in place to fairly evaluate the PPA on its merits. We respect the process and look forward to a final decision by the PUC.
Understanding the Northern Pass Power Purchase Agreement
As you may have read, Eversource recently took an important step toward securing lower electricity costs for New Hampshire customers by announcing a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with energy partner Hydro-Québec on the proposed Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project. Recent comments reported in news coverage about the PPA, however, may have caused some confusion. To help clarify your understanding, the following information focuses on the facts about the PPA.
Savings for New Hampshire Customers
The PPA establishes a number of ways New Hampshire customers will save money. It guarantees that no other state or power purchaser receives a better price for Northern Pass’ power for at least 10 years. It is also designed to provide price stability and predictability, which is much needed at a time when the volatile electricity market is subject to dramatic spikes. It is estimated this could result in up to approximately $100 million in energy cost savings over the life of the contract.
The PPA ensures that 100 percent of the energy sold by Hydro-Québec to Eversource under the agreement will be 100 percent certified hydropower. Use of hydro generation avoids carbon emissions, consistent with New Hampshire’s environmental goals and policies. In addition, 100 percent of the financial value of the environmental attributes associated with that energy will also benefit New Hampshire customers. If and when hydro generation is recognized as an acceptable power source to meet clean air goals in other New England states, the value of those environmental attributes could be quite significant, and could be worth in excess of $300 million in additional value to customers over the 20-year period. The sale of the environmental attributes, potentially in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), to those other New England states would directly benefit New Hampshire customers through a credit to customers’ bills.
It is also important to note that the benefits of the PPA are in addition to the $800 million in energy costs savings for New Hampshire from the lowering of market power prices announced through the Forward NH Plan. In all, Eversource customers in New Hampshire stand to receive more than $1 billion in energy cost savings from the Northern Pass Project. While New Hampshire customers will receive substantial benefits from hosting Northern Pass, they will not pay for any costs associated with construction of the transmission line.
The Process and Confidentiality
Typical for such agreements, the PPA has been filed with the NH Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and will undergo rigorous review by regulators to ensure it is in the best interest of Eversource customers in New Hampshire. It is also standard practice for parties to a PPA to request that the price data be kept confidential, and the PUC’s own rules and past practice recognize that these types of competitively sensitive pricing terms are typically held confidential. Keeping prices confidential, in a competitive energy market where customers are free to purchase energy from a supplier of their choice, helps ensure customers receive the most competitive price for their energy. State regulators and officials (including the Office of Consumer Advocate) have already received the PPA’s confidential pricing data as part of the PUC filing.
The NH PUC will make the final decision on the Northern Pass PPA, and the process is in place to fairly evaluate the agreement on its merits.
Below is the press release announcing the power purchase agreement between Eversource and Hydro-Québec filed today with the NH Public Utilities Commission.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (June 28, 2016) – Eversource and Hydro-Québec have 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 (PPA) is expected to deliver additional benefits that, combined with the lowering of market power prices, bring the total estimated energy cost savings for New Hampshire customers to over $1 billion.
“This agreement is great news for New Hampshire electricity customers who have been struggling to pay some of the highest rates in the country,” said Bill Quinlan, President of Eversource New Hampshire Operations. “New Hampshire is guaranteed a significant amount of clean, affordable power delivered to Deerfield, New Hampshire, when customer demand is highest. Our residential and business customers will get much-needed relief from the price spikes that have plagued the New England energy market in recent years.”
“Bringing clean, reliable, low-cost energy to New Hampshire and onto the New England power grid is critical for BAE Systems to remain competitive. It is also critical for our state’s economic growth,” said Paul Markwardt, Vice President and Deputy General Manager of BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems Sector, headquartered in Nashua. “One of the key factors in BAE Systems’ support of the Northern Pass project is the unmistakable benefits for New Hampshire’s residents and businesses. This power purchase agreement makes it clear that Northern Pass offers tangible benefits to New Hampshire residents and businesses in terms of real savings on electricity and helping stabilize our volatile energy market.”
The PPA, which was filed today with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, is a 20-year contract that supports New Hampshire’s Ten Year Energy Strategy and its Climate Action Plan, as well as other regional carbon reduction goals.
“Hydro-Québec is pleased to reserve some of the power that will flow on this line for consumers in New Hampshire, the state hosting the project,” said Steve Molodetz, Vice-President of HQUS, Hydro-Quebec’s business development arm. “The low-carbon, reliable electricity will help the entire region move closer to meeting its ambitious climate change goals.”
The PPA will ensure New Hampshire receives:
A Fair Share: As part of the New England regional electric grid, New Hampshire consumes about nine percent of the power used in the region each year. The PPA guarantees that Eversource New Hampshire customers will receive their proportional share of the power from the Northern Pass line – approximately 100 megawatts, or enough energy to serve approximately 100,000 customers.
Reliable Power When Needed Most: It is essential to have a source of reliable, base load power during winter cold snaps and hot summer days. The PPA will provide a firm energy supply during peak hours each weekday for 20 years.
Price Stability: New England is plagued by volatile electricity prices and a tightening energy supply, as a number of the region’s older power plants have shut down or are scheduled to in the near future. The PPA’s pricing framework will help protect New Hampshire customers from future volatility by smoothing out price spikes and is expected to provide substantial savings over the life of the contract. Moreover, the PPA ensures that Eversource New Hampshire customers receive beneficial pricing for 10 years.
Environmental Attributes: As New England considers new ways to reduce carbon emissions and meet aggressive clean energy goals, large hydro is being recognized as a clean, renewable energy source. This agreement ensures that the power flowing over the Northern Pass line is 100 percent certified hydropower. The environmental attributes associated with this clean energy will flow to Eversource’s New Hampshire customers, delivering substantial value to them over the life of the agreement.
Northern Pass is currently progressing through the public permitting processes at the federal and state levels. In October 2015, the project filed an application with the NH Site Evaluation Committee for state siting approval which included a revised route that is 80 percent along existing transmission corridors or underground along public roadways, thereby eliminating potential view impacts in and around the White Mountain National Forest and Appalachian Trail. The application also outlined the project’s Forward NH Plan, an economic and environmental benefits package, which has received wide-ranging support from community and business leaders, legislators and other key stakeholders.
About Northern Pass
Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will provide New Hampshire and New England up to 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower. To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us.
Eversource (NYSE: ES) is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns. Recognized in 2015 as the top-ranked “green” utility in the U.S. by Newsweek magazine, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its approximately 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 (@eversourceNH) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceNH).
Northern Pass has reached an important settlement agreement with the NH Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) staff in the proceeding to authorize the project to operate as a public utility in the state. The agreement is subject to final approval by the NHPUC, and contingent upon the project receiving all necessary state and federal permits.
“We are pleased to have achieved this settlement that establishes the framework for the safe operation and maintenance of Northern Pass under New Hampshire regulations,” said Bill Quinlan of Eversource. “The agreement is another step toward Northern Pass providing substantial clean energy and economic benefits to New Hampshire and the region.”
Under the settlement, the parties agree 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 to do so. Accordingly, once in service, Northern Pass operations will be subject to the jurisdiction of the NHPUC, consistent with how other transmission owners operate in New Hampshire.
As part of the agreement, Northern Pass commits that the project will 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 the state of New Hampshire, including energy efficiency programs. Northern Pass intends to allocate such funds from its Forward NH Fund.
The settlement agreement filed with the NHPUC can be found here.
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will host a public hearing on Thursday, June 23 at 6 p.m. at Plymouth Regional High School, located at 86 Old Ward Bridge Road. This meeting is to receive public comments on the additional information submitted by Northern Pass to comply with newly adopted SEC rules.
You can read the SEC’s official order, which includes information about the public hearing, on the SEC website.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (May 31, 2016) — The New Hampshire Superior Court (Court) has ruled in favor of Northern Pass and unequivocally dismissed claims by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (Forest Society) that use of public highways was subject to the Forest Society’s approval. The clean energy Northern Pass project proposes to bury portions of the 192-mile, 1,090 megawatt hydroelectric transmission line along public roadways.
“We are pleased the Court recognized long-standing New Hampshire law that allows for the use of public roadways for projects like Northern Pass,” said Bill Quinlan, President of Eversource Operations in New Hampshire. “We look forward to continuing the permitting process and moving one step closer to delivering the clean energy and economic benefits to New Hampshire and the region.”
In its November 2015 lawsuit, the Forest Society argued that Northern Pass must seek approval from the Society in order to use the public right-of-way next to property it owns, and that burial of a transmission line did not represent proper use of the roadways. The Court disagreed, saying that Northern Pass project’s proposed use is “within the scope of the highway easement,” and agreed that the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), not the Forest Society, has “exclusive jurisdiction over whether to grant the Project the necessary permits and licenses.”
The Forest Society has frequently demanded Northern Pass be buried, yet in this case, had filed this lawsuit to prevent burial. The Forest Society has also continued to raise the false notion that 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, with the NHDOT participating as part of the Site Evaluation Committee. 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.
By providing access to a new source of reliable energy, Northern Pass will help meet the region’s increasing demand for power while substantially decreasing carbon emissions by up to 3.3 million tons a year.
About Northern Pass
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1–800–286–7305.
Northern Pass Transmission LLC (NPT) today submitted to the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) a motion seeking adoption of a procedural schedule that would lead to a written decision on its application by June 30, 2017. The proposed schedule seeks to strike a balance between the statutory requirement to complete the evaluation within 12 months, and the need for adequate time to evaluate a project the size and scope of Northern Pass.
Members of the SEC, at their May 19 hearing, heard arguments by Counsel for the Public and other interveners in favor of extending the time frame in which to issue a decision on NPT’s Application for a Certificate of Site and Facility beyond the statutory timeframe of December 18, 2016. Some SEC members also expressed concerns related to scheduling and ultimately determined they would extend the time frame for issuance of a decision to September 30, 2017.
Northern Pass believes the schedule it is proposing achieves the SEC’s objectives and provides margin for the SEC to address unexpected developments that may arise during the extended time frame, while respecting the Legislature’s finding in RSA 162-H that is it is in the public interest that “undue delay in the construction of new energy facilities be avoided.” Several groups representing business, consumers and labor agree, and have sent letters to the SEC regarding the negative implications of extending the schedule.
The SEC is expected to issue a written decision regarding the extended time frame in the near future.
LANCASTER, N.H. (May 20, 2016) – A state of the art electric vehicle (EV) “Fast Charger” station has been installed at Rogers Campground in Coös County and is now available for public use. The fast charger, the first to be located in New Hampshire’s North Country, was purchased and installed with a grant from the Northern Pass Transmission project “Forward New Hampshire Fund.”
“EVs are here and more are on the way,” said Crosby Peck, owner and operator of Rogers Campground. “I am already seeing some campers with electric cars attached to their RVs. This fast charger will attract a segment of our tourist population that I expect will continue to grow each year. I appreciate the support of Northern Pass in providing the necessary funding.”
By using the fast charger, new and future generations of electric cars can be almost fully charged in about 20 minutes. The station helps fill a coverage gap for the important technology. It is the only such fast charger station in New Hampshire north of Nashua and Salem.
“This is exactly the type of initiative we envisioned when we developed the Forward New Hampshire Fund,” noted Paul Ramsey of Eversource. “It will support tourism, which is so important to the state, and it’s an innovative clean energy solution.”
“This is one of a limited number of advanced commitments of the Forward New Hampshire Fund,” Ramsey said. “The fund will be officially established when the Northern Pass project enters into operation. At that time an Advisory Board, including representatives of the North Country, will review funding opportunities and make recommendations for funding. We look forward to more opportunities like this in the future.”
The station at Rogers Campground includes plugs for two specific fast charger standards, “CHAdeMO” and “SAE CCS.” EVs that utilize the technology include:
“Electric vehicles are an important and growing segment of the nation’s transportation future,” noted Watson Collins, Eversource Manager of Business Development. “New Hampshire’s Energy Strategy focuses on EVs as an important tool in reducing reliance on imported fuels. This new fast charger station is key to providing current and future EV drivers with a sense of security that they can quickly, and cleanly, charge up and get back on the road.”
About Northern Pass – The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will provide New Hampshire and New England up to 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower. This reliable and competitively-priced power will also bring a range of benefits to New Hampshire, including hundreds of millions of dollars in energy cost savings, additional tax revenue, and thousands of jobs during construction and beyond. To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us .You can also email questions to email@example.com or call 1-800-286-7305.
WHITEFIELD, New Hampshire (May 19, 2016) – The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee today heard oral arguments on a procedural schedule for the Northern Pass’ application. After deliberation, the SEC voted to establish September 30, 2017 as the deadline by which it will provide a written decision on Northern Pass’ application for a Certificate of Site and Facilities.
“Today’s decision by the NH Site Evaluation Committee to extend the time frame for assessing Northern Pass is disappointing, since it will only delay the realization of the substantial benefits of this project in New Hampshire and throughout New England,” said Bill Quinlan, President, Eversource New Hampshire Operations. “We look forward to the written order outlining the details of this schedule, and in the meantime will be evaluating our options for seeking reconsideration.”
Despite today’s ruling, the New England governors all agree that the region needs new sources of clean energy to help stabilize the price and supply of electricity and to meet the states’ clean energy goals. Northern Pass will deliver 1,090 MW of clean, renewable electricity to New England and New Hampshire, and create a rare combination of economic and environmental benefits. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 3.3 million tons a year, while simultaneously providing $3.8 billion in economic stimulus in New Hampshire, reducing the electricity costs of New Hampshire customers by more than $80 million annually, creating more than 2,600 New Hampshire jobs at peak construction, generating an estimated $600 million in new taxes, and providing $200 million in funding for community betterment, economic development, clean energy and tourism. These benefits will be accomplished at no cost to New Hampshire customers.
The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will provide New Hampshire and New England up to 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower. This reliable and competitively-priced power will also bring a range of benefits to New Hampshire, including hundreds of millions of dollars in energy cost savings, additional tax revenue, and thousands of jobs during construction and beyond. To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us .You can also email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-286-7305.
Process continues with more public hearings
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) has announced it will hold a public hearing on May 19 at 6 p.m. at the Mountain View Grand Resort, at 101 Mountain View Road in Whitefield to receive public comments on the additional information submitted by Northern Pass to comply with newly adopted SEC rules.
This public hearing is in addition to the five public hearings the SEC held in March. The SEC order, issued on May 4, specifies that the public hearing, including public comments, will be limited to issues presented by the additional information filed by Northern Pass.
The SEC will also hold a hearing on pending motions earlier that day at 11 a.m. at the Mountain View Grand Resort. The hearing will address pending motions on the SEC’s timeframe for reviewing the project and a Northern Pass request for partial waivers under the new SEC rules.
The SEC has held a number of hearings in recent months to address issues related to the adjudicative process – a phase of the SEC’s review which is outlined in state law. A prehearing conference was held on March 22 to address issues relating to interveners, the SEC’s timeframe for reviewing the project, whether to hold additional public hearings, and other procedural issues. On April 12, the SEC held a hearing in Lincoln to discuss pending motions, including all requests to review the SEC’s Order on Petitions to Intervene. On April 22, the SEC issued a temporary procedural schedule beginning the discovery phase of the process.