One viewpoint often heard in debate about The Northern Pass project is that New Hampshire doesn’t need this energy, because we are currently a “net exporter” of electricity. The perception is that all of the benefit of the project will go to Massachusetts and Connecticut.
While it’s true that the power plants located in our state contribute more to the regional “power pool” than New Hampshire consumers draw from that pool—on most days of the year—our economy and energy supply are inextricably linked to those of our neighboring states. If every state had to take care of itself from an energy perspective, we’d have some major reliability problems on our hands. We’d also be facing much greater risks of price volatility.
Here are a couple things to consider:
- As a March 22 editorial in the Laconia Citizen pointed out, New Hampshire is not an island. We are part of a regional energy system. Like other sources of energy in the region, the energy transmitted via The Northern Pass will be delivered into the New England “power pool” that all energy suppliers in the region draw from—including those who supply New Hampshire customers. A study by Charles River Associates on the impact of The Northern Pass estimates a wholesale cost reduction of between $200 – $325 million in New England as a result of The Northern Pass, including a cost reduction in New Hampshire of $25 – $30 million.
- Our energy position is not as invulnerable as some may think. The region’s energy supply, which New Hampshire draws from, is becoming less diverse and more susceptible to price volatility and reliability risks. Looking forward, ISO-New England is concerned about the region’s growing dependency on natural gas, its diminishing fuel diversity, and the performance of its energy resources under stressed operating conditions. New Hampshire is not immune from these risks, and would benefit from the inclusion of reliable, competitively priced hydropower from The Northern Pass in the regional power pool.