Posted on September 18th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) today began hearing testimony from President of Normandeau Associates and former New England Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Robert Varney about his review of Northern Pass and how it relates to the orderly development of New Hampshire. Below is more information about Varney and a summary of his findings, provided in his pre-filed testimony submitted to the SEC.

ROBERT VARNEY is the President of Normandeau Associates, an environmental science consulting firm based in Bedford, where he began in 2009 as Executive Vice President. He served nearly eight years as Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, New England; as the Executive Director of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission; as senior planner at the Lakes Region Planning Commission; as the Commissioner of the NH Department of Environmental Services from 1989 to 2001; and as Chairman of the NH Site Evaluation Committee for that same 12-year period. In addition, Mr. Varney has worked on initiatives associated with climate change, energy efficiency and renewable energy, integration of energy and environmental programs, and restoration of rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. He will speak on the impact the Northern Pass Transmission Project will have on air quality and the project’s consistency with the goals of state, regional, and national air quality and climate change policies.

Key Points:

  • By using transmission corridors and existing roadways for 83 percent of the route and locating substantial portions of the project underground, Northern Pass is following sound planning and environmental principles that reinforces local patterns of development and minimizes environmental impacts
  • Of the 32 miles of new right-of-way (ROW) along the 192-mile route, 24 are in a working forest and forest management within this area will continue uninterrupted after construction
  • The Northern Pass will improve air quality, public health and the environment, and help address climate change by reducing pollutants such as NOx, SO2, and CO2 emissions that affect New Hampshire and the New England region, consistent with national, regional, and state air quality and climate change goals
  • Northern Pass will help reduce NOx and SO2 emissions, which contribute to the regional haze problem and to acid rain. This will improve visibility in the region’s parks and wilderness areas, as well as help improve the health of New Hampshire’s lakes, ponds and forests
  • The project will not interfere with the orderly development of the region and any potential effect on land use is minimal. The project’s impact on the local economy and jobs is positive

For More Information:

Northern Pass’ application to the NH Site Evaluation Committee; Vol. II; Pre-Filed Testimony; Varney

http://www.northernpass.us/assets/filings/Volume%20II/NHSEC%20Docket%20No%202015-06%20Pre-Filed%20Testimony.pdf


Posted on September 13th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) issued an order yesterday outlining procedures for the rest of the Northern Pass hearing schedule that could affect the date of the final decision.  We appreciate the SEC’s efforts to ensure the remainder of the hearings are not, as they state, “bogged down by unnecessary and inefficient friendly cross-examination.”  The SEC further concludes that it would be “unreasonable” to accept the amount of time requested by interveners.  We are encouraged that the SEC is taking steps to ensure efficiency for the balance of the proceedings and remain hopeful that the process will be complete earlier than the recently announced March deadline.

Excerpts from the procedural order:

  • “At the third prehearing conference, the intervenors indicated a desire to conduct cross-examination for 235 hours–the equivalent of 39 additional hearing days. The intervenors’ estimates suggest that there is an intention to engage in improper friendly cross-examination.”
  • “Something must be done, however, to ensure that the proceedings are not bogged down by unnecessary and inefficient friendly cross-examination.”
  • “In some types of matters, friendly cross-examination is used to repeat points made in prefiled testimony or to provide a witness the opportunity to testify about matters not addressed in the prefiled direct testimony. In this case, however, both tactics are unnecessary to ensure a full and true disclosure of facts.”
  • “…it is unreasonable to accept the estimates provided by the intervenors for friendly cross-examination of the witnesses for a number of other parties.”
  • “…the presiding officer may limit ‘irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious cross-examination or cross-examination that is not required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.’”
  • “…the hours of the day may be extended in the Chair’s discretion.”

Posted on September 11th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will today hear from Terry DeWan and Jessica Kimball of  Terrence J. DeWan & Associates, a landscape architecture and planning firm located in Yarmouth, Maine. Both conducted research and compiled data that was submitted as part of the Northern Pass’ state application, including view simulations along the proposed route. Northern Pass has made the photo simulations of the proposed route available on its website.

Key Points:

  • A visual impact assessment, or VIA, is a systematic analysis of possible changes to the visible landscape resulting from proposed development activity, and the investigation of possible means to avoid, minimize or mitigate the effects of the change
  • The methodology follows a systematic path of inventory, analysis, and determination of effect. It is based upon established criteria developed by federal and state agencies over the past several decades, and is similar to previous work done with regards to transmission lines and other VIA projects
  • Scenic resources are defined as publicly accessible places that have been recognized by local, regional, state, or national authorities for their scenic or recreation quality and are visited by the general public, in part for the use, observation, enjoyment, and appreciation of natural, cultural, or visual qualities. All scenic resources that were identified within the Northern Pass Project Study Area were mapped and added to a database for further evaluation
  • Of the 525 scenic resources identified within three miles of the proposed route, none had overall visual impacts that were characterized as ‘high’, based on the observations and methodology used
  • A significant number of mitigation measures have been incorporated into the planning and design of Northern Pass including:
    • Locating portions of the Project underground to avoid sensitive scenic resources, such as the White Mountain National Forest
    • Using existing road rights-of-way (ROW) for most of the underground sections to minimize the need for new cleared transmission corridors
    • Co-locating the majority of the transmission line in existing transmission corridors to minimize the amount of new corridors
    • Using weathering steel monopole structures in certain areas results in a decrease in color contrasts with the surrounding landscape because they are generally darker in color and have a hue that is more commonly found in the landscape. Monopole structures also have a thinner profile and a simpler appearance than lattice structures
    • Locating new transmission structures in proximity to existing structures in certain locations to maintain the same spacing and avoid irregular linear patterns that can be caused by adjacent conductors being out of synch with each other
    • Matching the materials used for both the relocated 115 kV structures and the proposed transmission structures to minimize contrasts in color and texture and contribute to a sense of visual continuity within the corridor
    • Relocating existing transmission and distribution lines within the existing corridors to provide adequate clearance for the proposed structures and minimize the amount of clearing necessary for their installation
  • Northern Pass as a whole will not be a dominant feature in the landscape. The views from most of the scenic resources already contain evidence of existing human development, often prominently visible from the key observation points
  • Northern Pass will not result in unreasonable adverse effects on aesthetics, to either the six subareas that were identified or to the approximately 900 square-mile Project Study Area as a whole

 


Posted on September 6th, 2017 by

Draft Record of Decision Addresses Construction of Underground Line Along Existing Roads

The U.S. Forest Service has released its Draft Record of Decision (ROD) recommending that the agency issue a special use permit allowing Northern Pass Transmission to bury approximately eleven miles of transmission lines in areas along existing roads through the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF).  The Draft ROD represents another significant step forward for Northern Pass in the permitting process, and comes on the heels of the Final Environmental Impact Statement released by the U.S. Department of Energy last month – both highlighting the soundness of the proposal and the benefits to New Hampshire and the region.

“This proposed decision by the U.S. Forest Service continues to move Northern Pass forward so that it will have all necessary state and federal permits to begin construction by mid-2018,” Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan said.  “It is consistent with the key findings of other permitting agencies, including the Department of Energy, the NH Department of Environmental Services and the NH Department of Transportation.”

The Draft ROD is the culmination of seven years of review and extensive public input.  In 2015, Northern Pass announced an improved route that included 52 additional miles of underground to avoid any potential view impacts in and around the WMNF or along the Appalachian Trail.  The Draft ROD supports the project’s conclusion that burial along Interstate 93 is not a reasonable alternative, and states that the improved route “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”

The following excerpts are from the Draft ROD:

  • “I fully understand and acknowledge that there will be short-term, construction-related, impacts to natural and cultural resources on the WMNF, visitors to the area, and private lands/properties located along NH Routes 112 and 116. My decision does not ignore or make light of these effects. I believe the intensity and duration of these effects is more than outweighed by the benefits associated with bringing additional hydropower to the New England grid.” 
  • I believe that the technology is comprehensive, and that the Applicant possesses the ability to effectively construct, operate, and maintain the line underground…Since these alternatives bury the line on the WMNF, instead of the initial proposal for overhead lines, I believe the tradeoffs and environmental impacts to the National Forest and connected areas under Alternatives 4c and 7 are reasonable.”
  • “…the alternatives utilizing I-93 are not consistent with my understanding of NHDOT policies…Therefore, I did not select alternatives that buried the transmission line across the WMNF in the I-93 corridor.

The Forest Service also notes that the project will increase the reliability of New England’s power supply, by reducing reliance on imported natural gas; help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with public policy goals and the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan; and, provide “meaningful benefits to air quality” in the White Mountain National Forest.

“Meeting long-term energy needs in a sustainable, secure, and cost-effective manner for this region of the country is certainly in the public’s interest,” the Forest Service states.

In the coming weeks, Northern Pass will continue to review the specifics contained in the Draft ROD.

Recent Project Milestones include:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass, concluding that the proposed route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts
  • Eversource, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Quanta Services, Inc., and ABB Inc. finalized a comprehensive Project Labor Agreement
  • The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NH PUC) has approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and public lands
  • The NH PUC determined that Eversource has the legal authority to lease its existing rights-of-way to Northern Pass
  • The NH Site Evaluation Committee (NH SEC) completed the “discovery phase” of the permitting process, which involved nine months of data requests, document production and technical sessions. The final phase of the state permitting process began in April with the commencement of final adjudicative hearings. The hearings are the last step in the state siting process before the NH SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass
  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation issued its final report to the NH SEC recommending approval of the project
  • The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) issued four key approvals of the project, pertaining to the Wetland, Shoreland and Alteration of Terrain permits, and the 401 Water Quality Certificate.  The approvals are essential components of the state siting process being conducted by the NH SEC and, per DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application

Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

The NH Site Evaluation Committee today voted to extend the deadline for their final written decision on Northern Pass by six months, to March 31, 2018.

Northern Pass is disappointed in today’s decision considering this review process was already extended by nine months, from what was originally a 12-month process under recently enacted NH law.

We’re encouraged by the SEC’s willingness to pursue options for concluding the review in advance of the new deadline.

We remain confident in our ability to achieve a 2020 in-service date.  Further, we are convinced that we have submitted the most mature project into the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP and we continue to believe that we will be in a position to start construction in the second quarter of 2018.


Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass, which marks further progress in the federal permitting process for the clean energy project.  The PA is a legally binding agreement that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects.  The PA is part of a larger process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and is separate from the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) environmental review.

The signatories to the PA include officials from DOE, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, and Northern Pass Transmission.

Recent Project Milestones include:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass, concluding that the proposed route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts
  • Eversource, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Quanta Services, Inc., and ABB Inc. finalized a comprehensive Project Labor Agreement
  • The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NH PUC) has approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and public lands
  • The NH PUC determined that Eversource has the legal authority to lease its existing rights-of-way to Northern Pass
  • The NH Site Evaluation Committee (NH SEC) completed the “discovery phase” of the permitting process, which involved nine months of data requests, document production and technical sessions. The final phase of the state permitting process began in April with the commencement of final adjudicative hearings. The hearings are the last step in the state siting process before the NH SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass
  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation issued its final report to the NH SEC recommending approval of the project
  • The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) issued four key approvals of the project, pertaining to the Wetland, Shoreland and Alteration of Terrain permits, and the 401 Water Quality Certificate.  The approvals are essential components of the state siting process being conducted by the NH SEC and, per DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application

Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Site Tour Clearing

N.H. Site Evaluation Committee members, Counsel for the Public, interveners and Northern Pass representatives toured the project route this summer.

Northern Pass Achieves Key Permitting Milestone

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Northern Pass on August 10, concluding the project’s proposed route is the “preferred alternative.” The final EIS also stated that Northern Pass provides substantial environmental and economic benefits for New Hampshire and the region and will result in only minimal impacts. Required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the FEIS is the result of years of review of project environmental impacts and reflects the careful consideration of thousands of comments submitted by key stakeholders and the public.

Northern Pass is now awaiting the issuance of its federal permits, including DOE’s Presidential Permit, a Special Use Permit from the U.S. Forest Service, and the Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Northern Pass has already received the final permitting decisions from New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services, Public Utilities Commissions and Department of Transportation, and continued with final hearings before the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee in August.

Conclusions from the Final Environmental Impact Statement

REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

  • The “total average scenic impact” of Northern Pass is considered “low” to “very low”
  • There will be no “population-level effects to any protected species” due to Northern Pass
  • Northern Pass poses no health risks associated with EMFs
  • There are no authoritative studies that demonstrate impacts on tourism from transmission lines. Tourism is affected more by factors such as the national economy and the price of gasoline
  • Noise levels associated with Northern Pass during operation will be well below EPA guidance levels

MEETING THE REGION’S ENERGY NEEDS

  • New England will see an annual reduction of CO2 emissions by 9 percent, or 2.5 million metric tons
  • Northern Pass will diversify New England’s electricity supply, reducing reliance on natural gas
  • Low-carbon hydropower from Northern Pass is a non-intermittent source of energy that can help meet public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

ECONOMIC BOOST FOR N.H.

  • Northern Pass will create 6,747 jobs in New Hampshire during construction, as well as 901 permanent jobs
  • During construction, Northern Pass will generate more than $734 million of additional economic output within New Hampshire
  • New Hampshire will see an increase of $37 million in annual statewide property tax collections once Northern Pass is built

OTHER BENEFITS FOR N.H. In addition to the benefits highlighted in the FEIS, Northern Pass will provide — and in some cases has already provided — significant investment in on-the-ground conservation and economic development programs.

  • $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment and tourism
  • $7.5 million to the North Country Job Creation Fund to develop and retain jobs in the North Country
  • 5,000 acres set aside for conservation, recreation and mixed-use
  • $3 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Fund for its Partner’s for NH’s Fish and Wildlife initiative supporting conservation and restoration of key state habitats and species

What’s Next for Northern Pass

  • Final hearings continue before the SEC in September, including testimony on aesthetics and orderly development
  • Northern Pass expects to finish presenting its testimony before the SEC by mid-September
  • The Counsel for the Public and intervenors will have an opportunity beginning in September to present witness testimony
  • The DOE is expected to issue a Presidential Permit for Northern Pass sometime this fall

Site Tour Weeks

Site Tours Along North Country, Underground Route

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) recently toured a number of sites along the proposed Northern Pass routes. The visits, held on July 27 and 28, included stops in Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Dummer, Stark, Lancaster, Bethlehem, Franconia, Easton and Woodstock.

The locations of these stops were proposed by Counsel for the Public in a request that the SEC consider viewing portions of the proposed underground burial route as well as proposed additional above-ground sites in northern New Hampshire.

The July visits were in addition to four days of site visits held in March 2016 that included stops in Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Colebrook, Stark, Lancaster, Whitefield, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Bristol, Franklin, Canterbury, Concord, Pembroke, Allenstown and Deerfield.

Northern Pass Reaffirms Commitment to Hiring Local Workers First

Northern Pass has long been committed to hiring New Hampshire workers first for the construction of Northern Pass. Eversource, Northern Pass’ parent company, recently reaffirmed that commitment with a project labor agreement. On August 7, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced a finalized agreement that covers both union workers and non-union workers and businesses, including workers needed for the construction of access roads, logging and clearing, trucking and other key construction-related activities.

The announcement is positive news for New Hampshire’s electrical workers as Northern Pass now presents an opportunity for them to work on a project in their home state, closer to their family and friends.

Tiler Eaton of the IBEW said, “Given the size of this project and the number of trained electrical workers needed, we anticipate this project will not only fully utilize all available New Hampshire members, but will also provide work for hundreds of our members from Massachusetts.” You can read the announcement on the Northern Pass website in our Document Library, www.northernpass.us/document-library.htm.


Posted on August 29th, 2017 by

The N.H. Site Evaluation Committee will hear testimony today from historical and archeological experts who conducted research about the route for Northern Pass. Below you will find information about these experts and information about their work.

CHERILYN WIDELL is principal of Widell Preservation Services in Chestertown, Maryland, and has worked in the field of historic preservation throughout the United States and internationally for 40 years. She was appointed by the Governor of California to serve as State Historic Preservation Officer with oversight of all aspects of historic resource protection throughout California. Ms. Widell also served as the federal preservation officer for the Presidio Trust—the federal agency responsible for the conversion of the Presidio of San Francisco from an Army post to a National Park—where she was responsible for agency compliance with federal regulations for more than 450 historic buildings and the archeological resources. Ms. Widell conducted assessments of the potential effects that the Northern Pass project may have on above-ground historic properties and cultural landscapes in New Hampshire.

VICTORIA BUNKER is the owner and principal investigator at Victoria Bunker, Inc., archeological consultants in Alton, NH. She has more than 35 years of experience in New England archeology, and is listed as qualified to conduct archeological surveys in New Hampshire by the NH Division of Historical Resources. In her career, Dr. Bunker has completed 750 projects relative to Section 106 compliance at Phase I, II and III level of study, and has conducted regional research surveys in the Lamprey, Merrimack, Pemigewasset and Mad River Valleys and throughout the White Mountain National Forest. She has authored numerous publications on New England archaeology and served the New Hampshire Archeological Society as President Emeritus, on the Board of Directors, and as past editor. Dr. Bunker conducted archaeological assessments for Northern Pass.

Key Points:

  • The project will have no unreasonable adverse effect on historic resources
  • The experts’ assessments have been used in the planning process by project engineers to help avoid and minimize the impact to historic resources
  • Ms. Widell assessed the project’s potential effect on historic resources, working closely with Preservation Company of Kensington, NH, mapping and cataloguing more than 1,300 properties, historic districts and cultural landscapes within the project’s Area of Potential Effect
  • More than 200 of those properties were then subject to more intense analysis because they met the National Register of Historic Places age and integrity eligibility criteria and are potentially in view of the project. Of these properties, the project experts have concluded that   might be adversely effected by the project, mostly indirectly
  • The project will not create an adverse effect in the setting of a National Historic Landmark, the Webster Farm and Daniel Webster Family Home. Although the project will have an adverse indirect visual effect on the Weeks Estate, that will not cause it to be removed from the National Register of Historic Places because of a loss of integrity.
  • Victoria Bunker, Inc. has assessed the entire project route to identify archeologically sensitive areas and archeological sites. Ms. Bunker has concluded that the project has substantially avoided impact to archeological resources, and that there will be no unreasonable adverse effect to such resources.
  • To address any impact, Northern Pass will undertake all mitigation measures as required by the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in consultation with NH Department of Historical Resources (NHDHR) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, as part of the Section 106 process.

Facts at a Glance:

The review of the potential impact of the Northern Pass project on historic and archeological resources is required under the state’s energy project siting laws, and also by the U.S. DOE under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

For More Information:

Northern Pass’ Application to the NH Site Evaluation Committee; Vol. II; Pre-Filed Testimony; Widell

Pre-filed Testimony; Bunker


Posted on August 15th, 2017 by

Local Unions Pleased to See Release of FEIS

Northern Pass is expected to create 2,600 jobs during construction. That’s why local labor unions have applauded the recent release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Northern Pass. In addition to reaching this major permitting milestone, Eversource recently finalized a project labor agreement that will ensure local workers will be given hiring priority

 

Statement from New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett on the Department of Energy’s Release of the Northern Pass Transmission Line Project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement

“The New Hampshire AFL-CIO represents the men and women who will build this important clean energy infrastructure project, and we are excited about the opportunity the Northern Pass presents for New Hampshire working families. We were pleased to see that the U.S. Department of Energy’s official position is that the construction of the Northern Pass will create thousands of jobs for New Hampshire workers, and will not result in significant harm to our environment or scenic views.  We have long known that building the Northern Pass will not only create jobs for thousands of construction workers, but will help jump start the local economy in New Hampshire’s North Country. It’s great to see that the Department of Energy agrees. As someone who grew up in the North Country, I know we need to do as much as we can to bring economic development to that part of our state. Building the Northern Pass will do just that.

“Knowing that our beautiful Granite State’s environment will be protected throughout this project’s lifetime is important to every Granite Stater, including our Brothers and Sisters who will be working to construct, operate, and maintain it. We are thrilled to see yesterday’s announcement from the Department of Energy that construction of the Northern Pass will not create unreasonable adverse impacts.”

 

Statement from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 104 Business Manager Brian Murphy on the Release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass

“The men and women of IBEW Local 104 applaud today’s release of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Northern Pass Transmission project. After an exhaustive review of the project and considerable public comment, the EIS makes it clear that the Northern Pass project as proposed has minimal environmental effects and that the route selected is the best option for minimizing impacts on New Hampshire citizens. The Northern Pass project will provide work for hundreds of highly trained, local electrical workers, and IBEW Local 104 appreciates the timely, thorough work undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Department’s focus on facts over rhetoric.”


Posted on August 10th, 2017 by

Final Environmental Impact Statement Finds Project as Proposed is “Preferred Alternative”

 

MANCHESTER, N.H. (August 10, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project (NPT), representing a significant step forward in the permitting process.  The FEIS concluded that the proposed Northern Pass route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts.  Required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the FEIS is a product of years of review of project environmental impacts by the DOE in cooperation with other federal agencies, and reflects input collected from thousands of comments submitted by key stakeholders and the public.

As stated in today’s DOE decision, “The proposed DOE action in the final EIS is to issue a Presidential permit to the Applicant, Northern Pass LLC, to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a new electric transmission line across the U.S./Canada border in northern New Hampshire (NH).” The FEIS also recognizes Northern Pass’ ability to help meet the region’s energy challenges. “In addition to diversifying the electricity supply, the utilization of low-carbon hydropower can help meet public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We are extremely pleased that DOE has completed its FEIS and greatly appreciate the years of hard work by all of the experts involved in this thorough review of Northern Pass,” said Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource operations in New Hampshire.  “As this clean energy project continues to advance through the final stages of the New Hampshire permitting process, we are encouraged to have reached this major federal permitting milestone.  We are now another step closer to realizing the many benefits Northern Pass has to offer New Hampshire and the region.”

Highlights of the FEIS include:

  • DOE concludes the proposed Northern Pass route is the “preferred alternative”
  • New England will see a reduction of carbon emissions by 9 percent or 2.5 million metric tons
  • The “total average scenic impact” of Northern Pass is considered “low” to “very low”
  • Northern Pass will create 6,747 jobs in New Hampshire during construction, as well as 901 permanent jobs
  • During construction, Northern Pass will generate more than $734 million of additional economic output within New Hampshire
  • New Hampshire will see an increase of $37 million in annual statewide property tax collections once Northern Pass is built
  • There will be no “population-level effects to any protected species” due to Northern Pass
  • Noise levels associated with Northern Pass during operation will be well below EPA guidance levels
  • Northern Pass poses no health risks associated with EMFs
  • There are no authoritative studies that demonstrate impacts on tourism from transmission lines. Tourism is affected more by factors such as the national economy and the price of gasoline

Northern Pass is now awaiting the issuance of its federal permits, including DOE’s Presidential Permit, a Special Use Permit from the U.S. Forest Service, and the Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  All major state and federal permits are expected in 2017, and all major contractor and equipment contracts are fully executed.  Northern Pass will be substantially complete by the third quarter of 2020.  Following testing, the line will be in service by the end of 2020.

“New Hampshire and the region are facing serious energy challenges, including having some of the highest electricity prices in the Continental United States,” said Quinlan.  “Customers, businesses and elected officials have been calling for solutions, and the issuance of the FEIS positions NPT well to help address these critical challenges.”

Beyond its clean energy benefits and energy cost savings, Northern Pass will provide a number of benefits unique to New Hampshire, including millions annually in additional tax revenue to communities along the route; $7.5 million to the North Country Job Creation Fund to develop and retain jobs in the North Country; thousands of acres set aside for conservation, recreation and mixed-use; and the $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment, and tourism.

The Northern Pass transmission line begins at the Canadian border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and extends 192 miles to Deerfield, New Hampshire where it connects to the New England grid.  More than 80 percent of the line will be located along existing transmission corridors or buried along roadways to eliminate potential view impacts in the White Mountain National Forest area.  Northern Pass will provide a robust, new interconnection path between the Québec and New England electric systems, and will be controlled by the regional system operator, ISO-New England.

The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will bring to New England 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower.  This reliable and affordable source of power will also bring a wide range of benefits to the region, including millions of dollars in energy cost savings and a significant reduction in carbon emissions.  To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us.

Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its approximately 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and superior customer