There were two significant developments last week that have the potential to change the shape of New England’s energy landscape. The U.S. Department of Energy released a report that recommends the permitting of a clean energy transmission project and the New Hampshire Legislature passed a bill that lays the framework for completing deregulation in the state.
At first blush, these seem to be two very different energy issues. One deals with adding clean, renewable hydropower to the grid and the other anticipates the divestiture of the generating assets of the state’s largest utility. Yet they share the common goal that nearly every pending energy proposal seeks to claim – to help ease the burden of the region’s high energy prices.
There are, however, many milestones that energy projects must meet on the path to becoming reality – both in the form of permitting and earning support. Along the way, compromise and reason are keys to ensuring projects like these help solve the challenge of high electricity costs.
Canadian power line project for New England advances
Boston Globe, 4 June 2015
“TDI’s $1.2-billion proposal would involve burying 154 miles of cables under Lake Champlain and over land in Vermont. It is one of several proposed transmission projects to bring non-fossil fuel electricity into New England. Other proposals include an undersea cable from Maine backed by National Grid , an overland transmission route supported by Eversource , and a joint proposal by National Grid and Emera, a Maine utility.”
House OKs bill key to settling with Eversource
New Hampshire Union Leader, 3 June 2015
“Supporters say the settlement will provide stable electric rates for Eversource customers for years to come instead of the rate volatility of recent years. And they say it will save ratepayers $380 million in costs over the next five years.”
Study: Transmission Line Under Lake Would Have Minor Environmental Impact
Vermont Public Radio, 4 June 2015
“In essence, the study says that if this project doesn’t work out, Vermont will still have to do something to meet demand. It’s possible meeting demands through other means would bring non-renewable energy into the state’s portfolio, so not building a transmission line that’s expected to bring hydro-electric power from Canada to Vermont carries some environmental risk.”
Vote clears way for sale of N.H. power plants; payment for scrubber set
Concord Monitor, 4 June 2015
“’Many of us made a campaign promise to do what we could to control electric costs in the state,’ Republican House Majority Leader Jack Flanagan said in a statement. ‘This is a proactive measure that will save New Hampshire electric ratepayers millions of dollars.’”
Pipeline backer: Shortage is ‘painful for families’
New Hampshire Union Leader, 6 June 2015
“In a June 2 filing with the PUC, Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) notes New Hampshire and the New England region ‘are consistently experiencing the highest electricity and natural gas prices in the continental United States,’ which it claims can be ‘significantly reduced through contracting for and building additional pipeline capacity in the region.’”
A long road lies ahead for pipeline plan
Keene Sentinel, 7 June 2015
“The project won’t need a input from the N.H. Legislature, and local zoning requirements are unlikely to stand in the way of Kinder Morgan’s path once federal approval is granted.
‘There isn’t a simple process,” Silverman said. “It would be nice if there was.’”
Poll: New Hampshire split on energy projects
AP via Foster’s Daily Democrat, 30 May 2015
“The WMUR Granite State poll shows 18 percent of New Hampshire adults are very familiar with the Northern Pass project to bring hydro-electric power from Canada through New Hampshire. Among those who have at least some familiarity with the project, 42 percent support it and 34 percent oppose it.”
Monitor Board of Contributors: Solutions to big problems become possible only when ideology is absent
Concord Monitor, 4 June 2015
“There are major, serious problems to be solved in our world, nation and state: addressing climate change, providing affordable and effective health care to all, reforming tax laws to be more fair and equitable, finding the right level of regulation so we can have both a healthy environment and robust private enterprise. None of this can be solved by ideologues or rigid ideologies.”
Lights On: Energy Customers Grapple With Soaring Prices
CBS Boston, 1 June 2015
“Utility company phone lines have been lighting up with customers seeking answers on the amount their bill indicates they now owe.”