The NH House of Representatives today passed, 317 – 51, an amended version of legislation which seeks to prohibit the taking of property as part of a transmission facility project.
We do not view House passage of the amended HB648 as halting The Northern Pass.
The project holds the potential for significant economic and environmental benefits for New Hampshire, and we remain optimistic that we can work with communities and with the Legislature to earn their ultimate support.
As we noted in an earlier Journal post, 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 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.
HB648 now heads to the Senate.