The N.H. House Science, Technology and Energy Committee this week considered two bills that focus on halting The Northern Pass project. The full House is expected to consider the committee’s recommendations on Wednesday, March 30.
The committee voted to retain HB649, which would require a study of the project, separate from the required Site Evaluation Committee process, by a regional planning commission.
The committee approved an amended version of HB648, which would place restrictions on proposed transmission projects that are “not needed for system reliability.”
Here are our reflections on the impact of HB648 if it were enacted in the future:
- We believe that the amendment is misguided. What started out as a legislative effort to target one particular energy project has now been expanded in a way that will have far reaching unintended consequences for the entire state, and could impact the ability to provide cost effective electricity and to maintain efficient operation of the state’s electrical system.
- If enacted, it would threaten, for example, an upgrade of the “Coös Loop,” which the Independent System Operator has decided is not a system reliability project.
- It would threaten the connection to the grid of any potential new renewable energy development, such as a North Country wind project – or other projects that could bring important environmental or economic benefits to the state – even if those projects enjoy broad support.
- It would basically just say “no” to low-cost energy by precluding important transmission projects that would otherwise be built at no cost to customers.