We acknowledge the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests’ intensive effort to raise $850,000 necessary for the purchase of a conservation easement on about 5,800 acres of land surrounding The Balsams resort that was recently sold by the Tillotson Trust to Balsams View LLC. (Balsams View LLC purchased a total of about 7,700 acres, including the 5,800 that are within the conservation easement.)
As a reminder, the Northern Pass project had also offered to purchase the conservation easement, if the sale to the SPNHF did not occur. In addition, the project offered the Trust an additional $2.2 million for a designated utility right of way in the northern tip of The Balsams property, and for a non-contiguous parcel in West Stewartstown.
For our part, we believe that the use of the utility right of way by Northern Pass could co-exist hand-in-hand with the conservation effort, building jobs, ensuring the continuation of a working forest and bringing clean renewable power to New Hampshire and the region. The additional $2.2 million could have been used by the Trust to help meet its objective of providing economic benefit to the North Country.
While Northern Pass had an interest in this specific utility right of way, we are continuing to successfully work with landowners as we consider other routing alternatives. We look forward to soon announcing a new proposed route that has the support of underlying land owners.
Transmission Structures and Corridors on the SPNHF Conserved Lands
Separate from the specific utility right of way that SPNHF will obtain, the Tillotson Trust has retained the right to construct transmission structures and access roads anywhere on the property, including the SPNHF conserved land, in order to connect to wind turbines on two parcels of land, abutting The Balsams, that the Trust has retained for the future construction of wind farms.
As the owner and operator of the transmission system within the state, Public Service of New Hampshire is required by the federal government to ensure that such energy developments are connected to the regional power grid.
A recent example is the connection to the grid of the Granite Reliable project located in New Hampshire’s North Country. (See photo, below.) Each of the 33 turbines atop nearby mountain ridges are 400 feet tall from ground to tip of blade.
In that case, as with the future wind farms at The Balsams, the developer is responsible for constructing the corridors and structures to connect to the existing transmission system; PSNH is responsible for then making the connection.