The Northern Pass permitting process continues to advance, with final hearings beginning in two weeks, on April 13. The hearings are conducted by the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and are the last step in the state siting process before the SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass. The final hearings follow the recently completed “discovery phase,” which involved several months of technical sessions.
The final hearings are formal legal proceedings, during which testimony will be presented by Northern Pass and project experts to the SEC, including data on benefits, construction procedures, environmental impact, and other aspects of the project. The Counsel for the Public and interveners will also provide witness testimony at this stage. Witnesses for all parties will be subject to cross-examination. The dates of the final hearings are available on the SEC website under the Northern Pass docket.
The commencement of final hearings in April follows a series of important milestones and achievements for Northern Pass, which include:
- The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) issued four key approvals of the project, pertaining to the Wetland, Shoreland and Alteration of Terrain permits, and the 401 Water Quality Certificate. The approvals are essential components of the state siting process being conducted by the SEC, and according to DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application
- As part of the permitting process for the Northern Pass transmission project, the NH SEC has held 40 technical sessions – these sessions are an informal opportunity for the parties involved in the Northern Pass state review process to ask and answer questions
- Northern Pass submitted an updated economic analysis to the NH SEC showing that the project will reduce wholesale energy costs in New England by more than $600 million annually, and eliminate more than 3 million tons of carbon emissions in the region each year
- Northern Pass secured a key regulatory approval as ISO New England officially determined that the clean energy project can reliably interconnect with the regional electric grid
- The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission granted Northern Pass utility status, determining that the project has the technical, managerial, and financial expertise to operate as a public utility once the project is fully permitted, and that it is in the public good for the project to do so
- Eversource and Hydro-Québec filed a power purchase agreement (PPA) that ensures Eversource customers in New Hampshire will receive a substantial supply of clean energy from Northern Pass
- Northern Pass and its contractors completed engineering, or geotechnical, field investigations along the underground portions of the proposed project route – a required step in the permitting process to support the progression of a project’s design
- Northern Pass submitted an advanced design to the NH Department of Transportation for the portions of the project that will be buried under or adjacent to the roadway
- Northern Pass secured agreements with a highly experienced team of contractors and material suppliers who will execute the engineering, design and construction of the transmission line
- The NH SEC and the U.S. Department of Energy held a series of public meetings across New Hampshire to gather feedback as part of their respective permitting processes
- Business leaders from across the state announced their support for Northern Pass in a joint statement to the NH SEC. The diverse group of New Hampshire businesses, including some of the state’s largest employers, urged elected officials to join them as they support the Forward NH Plan, and the “direct economic and unparalleled environmental benefits it will provide to the people and businesses of New Hampshire”
- The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in favor of Northern Pass – confirming that the proposal by Northern Pass to use public highways for underground installation of electric transmission lines is clearly allowed under state law