We are reminded again of how delicate the region’s electrical grid is, with the announcement last week that the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, which provides about five percent of the region’s energy, may close. The so-called “shale gas revolution” is lowering the price of energy and making it difficult for many older power plants to stay online – yet New England remains somewhat isolated from the nation’s natural gas supply. The result is declining supply, increasing price volatility, and serious economic implications.
While developers are working on plans to increase the region’s access to natural gas, others are also looking to diversify our energy sources. This includes tapping a variety of wind, solar, and hydroelectric resources to usher New Hampshire and New England through a time of energy transition.
Tough times, no easy answers for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant
Boston Globe, 26 September 2015
Why America’s power grid needs natural gas now more than ever
Fortune, 27 September 2015
The 20 Percenters: Nuclear Energy Faces Reality – and Its Likely Decline
U.S. News & World Report, 28 September 2015
Time to end New England’s energy isolation
Boston Globe, 28 September 2015
Paper mill crisis bring criticism from Governor LePage
WCSH, 29 September 2015
State Sen. Stanley Rosenberg says energy officials made gas pipeline promises during trip to Washington
Springfield Republican, 1 October 2015
Baker says state is at energy crossroads
CommonWealth Magazine, 29 September 2015
Maine’s wind investment is worth it — even if wind doesn’t always blow
Bangor Daily News, 27 September 2015
Northern Pass has begun the process of seeking a Certificate of Site and Facility from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). This certificate is required before construction can begin on large energy facilities in New Hampshire, such as natural gas pipelines, certain electric power generating plants, and high-voltage transmission lines, including Northern Pass.
Northern Pass has already completed its pre-application Public Information Sessions, held in September in each of the five counties where the project will be located. The project expects to file an application sometimes after October 15.
Changes were recently made to state law to allow for more public involvement, including adding two members of the public to the SEC. State law also provides a number of opportunities for public comment, including two additional public sessions where New Hampshire residents and other stakeholders can speak about Northern Pass.
Commenting in Person
Sometime within the 60 days after Northern Pass files its application, the SEC will review the application and determine whether to accept it as “administratively complete.” Within 45 days of the SEC’s acceptance, Northern Pass must hold another round of Public Information Session in each county where the project will be located – Merrimack, Rockingham, Grafton, Coös and Belknap counties. The SEC and other state agencies will also hold at least one joint public hearing on Northern Pass in each of these five counties within 90 days of its acceptance of the application. The public will be able to comment and ask questions at all of these public sessions.
The dates and times of these events have not been scheduled, but will be posted here on the Northern Pass website.
Commenting in Writing
The Site Evaluation Committee recently opened a docket for the Northern Pass project, which provides a place for members of the public to submit their written comments. Written comments can be sent by mail, email or fax to the addresses below.
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
Members of the public can also file a written comment with the SEC at one of the upcoming Public Information Sessions or joint public hearings.
Other ways to comment
In addition to the SEC process, Northern Pass is the midst of its federal permitting process. This includes the preparation and review of an Environmental Impact Statement by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The draft EIS, which was issued in July, is a comprehensive study of the potential environmental impact of the project, as well as a number of alternatives routes reviewed by the DOE.
This is a separate process that also includes opportunities for you to comment on the project. Click here if you’d like to learn more about how to submit your comment to the DOE.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will accept comments on the Northern Pass project and its draft Environmental Impact Statement until Dec. 31, 2015. This comment period is an opportunity for New Hampshire residents and other key stakeholders to formally submit their thoughts on the project to the DOE, either in person orally or in writing.
To keep people up-to-date on its permitting process, the DOE has set up a website specifically for the Northern Pass project (http://www.northernpasseis.us/). It includes the draft EIS, other public documents, and information on how to submit a comment. Because there is a vast amount of information on the DOE’s Northern Pass website, we’ve provided this short tutorial to help walk you through the commenting process.
You can quickly file a comment through the DOE’s online comment form. This page provides links to the Northern Pass draft EIS, as well as the DOE’s Section 106 Review. The draft EIS is a comprehensive study of the potential environmental impact of the project, as well as a number of alternatives routes reviewed by the DOE. The Section 106 Review is part of the overall federal permitting process and is required by the National Historic Preservation Act. It includes studies of the Northern Pass’ potential impact on New Hampshire’s cultural and historic resources, such as historic homes and iconic views.
You can also mail, email or phone in your comments directly to the DOE. Here’s how:
Commenting in person
The DOE will host four public hearings on the Northern Pass project, which will include an opportunity to make an oral comment. These hearings have not been scheduled yet, but will be held before the comment period ends in December.
Other ways to comment
Northern Pass is also in the process of filing an application to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). This is a separate process that also includes opportunities for you to comment on the project. Click here if you’d like to learn more about how to submit your comment to the SEC.
The U.S. Department of Energy today said it will soon supplement its recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in order to address the modifications we recently announced as part of our Forward NH Plan.
The DOE decision was in response to a recent request from members of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation, as well as several environmental organizations, who said the adjustments in our proposal, including the placement of an additional 52 miles of the project underground in order to eliminate any potential visual impact in and around the White Mountain National Forest, warrant additional time for the public to consider and understand.
According to the DOE, public scoping meetings, at which members of the public can comment on the EIS, including the supplement, will be held prior to December 31, 2015, the end of the extended public comment period.
We do not anticipate the change in the DOE calendar to impact the Northern Pass project’s overall schedule. While the DOE’s work continues, the state portion of the project’s permitting process will commence with the filing, as planned next month, of our application with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). The comprehensive SEC process includes substantial opportunities for public participation and comment, beginning with Public Information Sessions that the project will schedule, following our application filing, in each of the five counties through which the project traverses. A similar series of required “pre-application” Public Information Sessions was successfully completed earlier this month.
It’s that time of year again – the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler and the region is getting an idea of how expensive this winter’s utility bills will be. Yet again, the cost of electricity is going up, largely thanks to the constrained supply of natural gas.
There is consensus that New England needs new infrastructure to increase and diversify the region’s energy supply by integrating solar, tapping natural gas from the west and bringing wind and hydropower from the north. The approaching winter is another reminder that time is of the essence, to bring rate relief and stability to homeowners and businesses in New Hampshire and throughout New England.
Up 21 percent: National Grid bills carry winter jolt
Boston Herald, 16 September 2015
Analysis: The price of power
Portland Press Herald, 20 September 2015
More New England generation, transmission, pipelines needed: ISO-NE
Platts, 16 September 2015
Massachusetts Gov. Baker pressing lawmakers on hydro, solar power bills
AP via Penn Energy, 11 September 2015
PUC Staff Gives Nod to Plan for Electricity Customers to Fund Gas Pipelines
NHPR, 17 September 2015
Eversource finding ‘balance’ is key to progress
Seacaostonline.com, 20 September 2015
Northern Pass is urging the Department of Energy to keep its scheduled public hearings on the draft Environmental Impact Statement and address the question of whether a new analysis of the Project’s additional underground is needed.
This week, five organizations sent a joint letter to the DOE asking the agency to conduct a detailed analysis of the Project’s new route to supplement its 1,000 page draft Environmental Impact Statement released in July. They have also requested the DOE postpone four public hearings set for October and lift the deadline for submitting comment on the draft EIS. This strategy could delay the Project, along with the substantial rate relief, jobs, and other economic benefits it stands to provide the people of New Hampshire at a time when residents and business owners are bracing for another winter of double digit energy rate increases.
We find it disingenuous that the same groups which argued for increased underground to protect areas such as the White Mountain National Forest are now seeking to delay the public’s chance to weigh in on these very changes. The public deserves the opportunity to express their views about the Project, and the long-scheduled hearings will give them the opportunity to do that.
On August 18, Northern Pass unveiled a redesigned Project that dramatically reduces the potential for visual and other impacts by placing more than 60 miles of the proposed HVDC transmission line underground in public roads. All but 3 miles of the new, 192-mile long route have already been thoroughly analyzed as they are included in the alternative routes in the draft EIS. The remaining 3 mile portion avoids the potential for visual impacts around the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests’ Rocks Estate, among other public areas, and is entirely underground in public roads. Elsewhere along the route, the total number of transmission structures will go down significantly, and the average structure height will also be lower, particularly in sensitive areas.
Case law – as well as the guidance of the National Environmental Policy Act – makes it clear that “a minor variation” that is qualitatively within the range of alternatives considered requires no further analysis. We would support the DOE’s preparing a supplemental analysis to evaluate and document its decision as to whether an addendum to the draft EIS is need. We firmly expect that, should DOE conduct such an analysis, it agree that the draft EIS more than amply evaluates the redesigned Project and that a supplemental EIS would not be required.
Click here to read the Project’s letter to the DOE
The following release was issued jointly today by Hydro-Québec and Eversource Energy.
AUGUST 31, 2015 (St. John’s, Newfoundland) - Hydro-Québec and Eversource Energy today underscored their firm commitment to help solve New England’s energy challenges through their long-standing partnership. The two companies are working together to build the Northern Pass Transmission project, which will export 1,000 megawatts of hydropower from Québec’s world-class generation fleet to New England, increasing clean energy trade between the Northeast U.S. and Eastern Canadian electricity markets, a primary goal of the New England Governors and the Eastern Canadian Premiers.
This continued commitment follows the recent announcement by Eversource of its Forward NH Plan that addresses feedback from New Hampshire stakeholders, the issuance by the U.S. Department of Energy of a favorable draft Environmental Impact Statement, and in anticipation of the Clean Energy and Transmission Request for Proposals (Clean Energy RFP).
“Eversource will be our partner in the offering of new, clean energy that will be delivered to the New England power system through the innovative approach of the Clean Energy RFP,” said Eric Martel, Hydro-Québec’s CEO. “We are confident that the Northern Pass project will be the leading solution for delivering significant reliability, environmental, and economic benefits to both New England and Eastern Canada.”
Clean energy from Hydro-Québec will help to solve the unique energy challenges facing the New England power system, including the region’s reliance on natural gas for power generation and its need to expand use of renewable energy. Using new HVDC technology, the view impacts of Northern Pass will be reduced, while still providing energy cost savings and much-needed clean, reliable energy to the region. As the project’s comprehensive public permitting process moves forward, Eversource is continuing its outreach and soliciting additional feedback from New Hampshire stakeholders. Northern Pass will soon file for New Hampshire state siting approval. Hydro-Québec is pursuing a similar permitting process to construct a transmission line in Canada to connect its generation to Northern Pass at the border.
“Eversource is proud to partner with Hydro-Québec on this important clean energy project that will provide New England with energy stability and diversity, lower energy costs, and cleaner air for decades to come,” said Tom May, Chairman, President & CEO of Eversource Energy. “We look forward to the New Hampshire siting process, and believe Northern Pass is well-positioned to economically meet the clean energy goals of the New England governors and their states with this firm and reliable energy supply.”
Hydro-Québec today also committed to the development of an energy verification and tracking process. This effort will ensure that clean energy is delivered to the jurisdictions that purchase it, a vital element of the Clean Energy RFP.
About The Northern Pass Transmission project
The Northern Pass Transmission project would deliver 1,000 megawatts of clean, renewable hydropower from the vast reserves of Hydro-Québec into the New England grid and offer unique economic and clean energy benefits to the state of New Hampshire. The estimated $1.4 billion project has received its draft Environmental Impact Statement from the U.S. Department of Energy and will file its application with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee this fall, with a target in-service date of spring, 2019. For more information, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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)
Includes an improved route with additional underground line and more benefits for New Hampshire.
Today we announced significant changes to the Northern Pass project as part of a newly unveiled Forward New Hampshire Plan. This major development eliminates potential view impacts in around the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, and Franconia Notch area by burying an additional 52 miles of line – for a total of 60 miles of underground line – and eliminating more than 400 structures in this region.
These route changes and the entire Forward NH Plan are the results of conversations we’ve had with people across New Hampshire. They are part of a balanced solution that provides clean, affordable energy our region needs and unique benefits to New Hampshire while also addressing the concerns about potential view impacts.
Beyond additional burial, the Forward NH Plan will deliver more than $3 billion in direct economic benefit to New Hampshire, including 2,400 jobs during construction, $80 million annually in lower energy costs for New Hampshire – as well as additional energy costs savings from a Power Purchase Agreement for Eversource NH customers – $30 million in annual tax benefits and a more than $2 billion increase in the state’s economic activity. The project will also create a $200 million “Forward NH Fund” dedicated to supporting initiatives in tourism, economic development, community investment, and clean energy innovations, with an emphasis on North Country opportunities.
The White House this week released its long-awaited, final version of the Clean Power Plan – an aggressive strategy to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants. New Hampshire and New England, however, are already well positioned to meet the new goals.
The region has dramatically reduced carbon emissions in the last ten years by participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a program that the Clean Power Plan recommends other states examine. New England is also developing a cleaner, more diverse supply of electricity that will further cut greenhouse gasses.
This transformation, which includes the transition to natural gas as a fuel source, the importation of hydroelectricity, and the integration of other renewables, is not without contention as the public and policy makers debate the merits and the methods of achieving energy goals.
Obama heralds impact of power plant greenhouse gas limits
AP via Seacoast Online, 4 August 2015
N.H. officials hopeful that Clean Power Plan will curb wind-borne pollutants in state
Concord Monitor, 4 August 2015
NH well positioned to meet Clean Power Plan standards
Nashua Telegraph, 4 August 2015
Beaton: Hydropower key to meeting state emissions target
Worcester Business Journal, 29 July 2015
11 maps that explain energy in America
Vox, 29 July 2015
R.I. officials to announce $700-million power plant in Burrillville
Providence Journal, 31 July 2015
Can New England plug in to growing Canadian hydropower?
AP via Portland Press Herald, 2 August 2015
Winds Of Change? Rhode Island Hopes For First Offshore Wind Farm
NPR, 1 August 2015
Hundreds attend hearing on Kinder Morgan pipeline
WMUR, 29 July 2015
Gov. Charlie Baker plans to propose solar energy legislation
Springfield Republican, 30 July 2015
Public input is also a critical component in developing a successful project. Last week, the Northern Pass received a draft environmental review that includes a significant amount of public input. The Department of Energy, which issued the report, will continue to take comment for the next three months. The public will soon get a chance to weigh in on a proposed natural gas pipeline, too, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Kinder Morgan hold separate rounds of hearings on the Northeast Energy Direct Project. Both of these projects will also be open for comment in their respective state-level reviews.
In addition to making comments at an open meeting, the public can submit written comments on these projects. It’s a process in place to ensure everyone has a voice in determining the energy future that we’ll all share.
Old Salem power plant falls as new one rises
Marblehead Reporter, 23 July 2015
Massachusetts Senate vote aims to prompt more solar projects
Springfield Republican, 23 July 2015
Offshore Wind Farm Raises Hopes of U.S. Clean Energy Backers
New York Times, 23 July 2015
Durham town officials, residents tour proposed transmission line route
Foster’s Daily Democrat, 22 July 2015
Northern Pass report says burial of transmission line to cost between $1.8 billion and $2.1 billion
Concord Monitor, 22 July 2015
How to submit comments on the Energy Dept.’s Northern Pass Report
New Hampshire Union Leader, 21 July 2015
Pipeline meetings to be held this week
Nashua Telegraph, 27 July 2015
Kinder Morgan plans to hold public meetings for proposed pipeline
New Hampshire Union Leader, 22 July 2015