Posted on October 13th, 2017 by

Document proposes approval of Northern Pass underground route in the White Mountain National Forest

Northern Pass was pleased to get the news in early September that the U.S. Forest Service had released its Draft Record of Decision (ROD) recommending that the agency issue a special use permit allowing the project to bury approximately 11 miles of transmission lines in areas along existing roads through the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). The Draft ROD is another significant step forward for Northern Pass in the permitting process, and comes on the heels of the Final Environmental Impact Statement released by the U.S. Department of Energy in August — both highlighting the soundness of the proposal and the benefits to New Hampshire and the region.

“This proposed decision by the U.S. Forest Service continues to move Northern Pass forward so that it will have all necessary state and federal permits to begin construction by mid-2018,” Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan said. “It is consistent with the key findings of other permitting agencies, including the Department of Energy, the NH Department of Environmental Services and the NH Department of Transportation.”

The Draft ROD is the culmination of seven years of review and extensive public input. In 2015, Northern Pass announced an improved route that included 52 additional miles of underground to avoid any potential view impacts in and around the WMNF or along the Appalachian Trail. The Draft ROD supports the project’s conclusion that burial along Interstate 93 is not a reasonable alternative, and states that the improved route “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”

The Forest Service also said that the project will increase the reliability of New England’s power supply by reducing reliance on imported natural gas; helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with public policy goals and the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan; and, providing “meaningful benefits to air quality” in the White Mountain National Forest.

“Meeting long-term energy needs in a sustainable, secure, and cost-effective manner for this region of the country is certainly in the public’s interest,” the Forest Service states.

The following excerpts are from the U.S. Forest Service Draft Decision

“I fully understand and acknowledge that there will be short-term, construction-related, impacts to natural and cultural resources on the WMNF, visitors to the area, and private lands/properties located along NH Routes 112 and 116. My decision does not ignore or make light of these effects. I believe the intensity and duration of these effects is more than outweighed by the benefits associated with bringing additional hydropower to the New England grid.”

“I believe that the technology is comprehensive, and that the Applicant possesses the ability to effectively construct, operate, and maintain the line underground…since these alternatives bury the line on the WMNF, instead of the initial proposal for overhead lines, I believe the tradeoffs and environmental impacts to the National Forest and connected areas under Alternatives 4c and 7 are reasonable.”

“…the alternatives utilizing I-93 are not consistent with my understanding of NHDOT policies… Therefore, I did not select alternatives that buried the transmission line across the WMNF in the I-93 corridor.”

Important Agreement, Part of Federal Permitting Process Finalized

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass, which marks further progress in the federal permitting process for the clean energy project. The PA is a legally binding agreement that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects. The PA is part of a larger process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and is separate from the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) environmental review.

The signatories to the PA include officials from DOE, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, and Northern Pass Transmission.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR NORTHERN PASS

  • The Counsel for the Public and intervenors are set to begin presenting witness testimony in October.
  • The DOE has announced its intention to issue a Presidential Permit for Northern Pass.

Facts ABOUT NORTHERN PASS

  • FACT: Northern Pass will not impact views in the White Mountain National Forest
    • New Hampshire is a beautiful place and our mountains and protected lands are part of the state’s character. That is why more than 80 percent of the project is along existing power line corridors or buried under public roads, including 52 miles in and around the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). Scenic vistas within the WMNF, from the Appalachian Trail, and Franconia Notch State Park would not be impacted.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy recently released its Environmental Impact Statement, which determined the average scenic impact from the project is “low to very low.” The U.S. Forest Service also reviewed a portion of the underground route in the WMNF and determined it “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”
  • FACT: Northern Pass will provide many benefits to New Hampshire
    • Northern Pass will provide millions of dollars in benefits to New Hampshire. Here are some of the benefits the state will see:
    • $30 million in additional tax revenue for communities along the route.
    • $62 million savings annually in energy costs
    • 2,600 jobs, with a commitment to hire local workers first
    • Reducing CO2 emissions by 3.2 million, or the equivalent of taking 670,000 cars off the road
    • $200 million Forward NH Fund for economic development, community betterment, tourism and clean energy initiatives in communities throughout the state
    • $7.5 million North Country Job Creation Fund, run by and administered to North Country residents to help businesses grow and hire more workers
    • Preserving a 7-acre parcel in Concord to expand the habitat of the Karner blue butterfly, New Hampshire’s state butterfly
    • A $3 million payment to NH’s Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund (ARM) to address potential impacts from construction
    • $3 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support the Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife grants, which have already funded dozens of conservation and restoration projects in New Hampshire.
  • FACT: N.H. will benefit from Northern Pass’ power
    • Northern Pass will carry clean hydropower from the New Hampshire border with Canada, south to where it will be distributed throughout the regional grid from a substation in Deerfield. A portion of the energy will be used in New Hampshire, as well as the other New England states.
    • In our regional energy system, the price of electricity is based on how much power is available to everyone in all New England states. When a new source of low-cost energy is added, it affects the price of electricity for everyone. An energy market study showed that the added power from Northern Pass will lower energy costs by $600 million regionally and by $62 million annually here in New Hampshire.
  • FACT: Northern Pass has environmental benefits
    • The U.S. Department of Energy recently issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement, which said it intended to issue the project a Presidential Permit. After a multi-year review of the project, the DOE concluded our proposal is the “preferred alternative” and the project will help diversify the electric supply and provide clean hydropower that “can help meet public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The N.H. Department of Environmental Services has also concluded its technical review and has recommended approval of the project.
    • Northern Pass will have a major impact on the region’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses. The project will reduce CO2 emissions by 3.2 million tons per year, equivalent to taking 670,000 cars off the road. It will make the New England electric grid, which New Hampshire. is a part of, less reliant on natural gas for generating electricity, and provides a clean back-up source of energy for other intermittent sources, like wind and solar.

Posted on October 13th, 2017 by

Posted In: Uncategorized, Updates


Posted on October 5th, 2017 by

The final witnesses for Northern Pass completed their testimony before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) on Monday, marking the conclusion of Northern Pass’ witness presentation before the SEC. Northern Pass presented 25 witnesses over 43 hearing days, describing in detail the following aspects of the project.

Forward NH, Project Route, Clean Energy RFP         Financial 

Public Health & Safety                                                             System Reliability         

Construction                                                                                  Environmental               

Tourism                                                                                             Property Taxes                

Property Values                                                                           Historical/Archeological 

Aesthetics                                                                                       Orderly Development                                                            

The SEC also heard from members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) last week, who testified about the job opportunities available for New Hampshire workers, as well as Allen Bouthillier, Lancaster business owner and member of the Coös County Business and Employers Group, who spoke about the economic opportunities Northern Pass will bring to the North Country.

The Counsel for the Public and intervenors are set to begin presenting their witness testimony later this week.

Other Recent Project Milestones include:

  • The U.S. Forest Service has released its Draft Record of Decision (ROD) recommending that the agency issue a special use permit allowing Northern Pass Transmission to bury approximately eleven miles of transmission lines in areas along existing roads through the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF).
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass, concluding that the proposed route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts
  • Eversource, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Quanta Services, Inc., and ABB Inc. finalized a comprehensive Project Labor Agreement
  • The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NH PUC) has approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and public lands
  • The NH PUC determined that Eversource has the legal authority to lease its existing rights-of-way to Northern Pass
  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation issued its final report to the NH SEC saying it will issue a permit for the project
  • 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 NH SEC and, per DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application

Posted on October 5th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on October 4th, 2017 by

The following op-ed by Martin Murray, spokesman for Northern Pass, recently appeared in a number of New Hampshire newspapers, including the Laconia Daily Sun

Northern Pass is Committed to Working with Businesses Along the Route

By Martin Murray

Earlier this month, the U.S. Forest Service issued a draft Record of Decision recommending approval of Northern Pass’ underground route within the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). It said the project is in the public interest because it will meet the region’s “long-term energy needs in a sustainable, secure, and cost-effective manner.” Northern Pass is a clean energy project that will transmit enough hydropower to power 1 million homes. It will reduce CO2 emissions by 3.2 million metric tons a year, the equivalent of taking 670,000 cars off the road. The project is consistent with New Hampshire’s Clean Energy Action Plan and will provide an affordable and reliable baseload source of clean energy as older power plants close and we continue to add more intermittent sources such as solar and wind.

The draft Record of Decision also supports the project’s proposed route, saying it “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”

The decision to bury the project for a total of 60 miles, with 52 of those miles in and around the White Mountain National Forest, came after numerous meetings with New Hampshire residents and stakeholders, who emphasized the importance of avoiding view impacts in that region. The improved route does just that, eliminating view impacts in the Forest, Franconia State Park area, and along the Appalachian Trail.

The improved route is part of our effort to reduce the impact to New Hampshire while also bringing affordably-priced clean energy to the region. We’ve also reached out to each community along the route to discuss how best to avoid impacts during construction. Through mutually agreed upon memorandums of understanding, or MOUs, Northern Pass can address a community’s unique needs, such as consideration of community events and other local and seasonal activities, equipment storage and staging areas, coordination with emergency responders, and establishing responsibility for any damage to roads. We have already signed MOUs with four towns and are in discussions with others.

We appreciate that running a small business can be challenging and that a project of this magnitude may cause concern. We know we must find ways to lessen the impact of construction, and we will work with local chambers and other groups to promote and support uninterrupted commerce throughout construction. Northern Pass has submitted a construction plan to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee that includes regular communications with business owners, traffic management plans, signage directing customers to temporary parking, outreach to customers through newspapers and other media, and a special “hotline” and online communications for quick response to problems, should they arise.

We have made a pledge to hire New Hampshire workers first. Workers who, as much as any small business owner along the route, want to see this state succeed. Those workers will need to fill up their gas tanks, grab a meal, wash their clothes, spend the night, and make other purchases while on the job. These are purchases that will be made in towns along and around the route, and economic data shows spending associated with Northern Pass will boost New Hampshire’s economy, not diminish it.

Northern Pass has sent letters and updates to landowners and businesses along the route, asking for feedback and inviting anyone with questions or concerns to give us a call. We are a New Hampshire company with many long-time New Hampshire residents working to bring more clean energy to the region. We want to see New Hampshire businesses grow and succeed, and are dedicated to working with local officials, meeting with businesses and communicating to residents and tourists alike that their favorite destinations are open for business.

Any business owner who would like to talk to a Northern Pass representative may do so by calling 1-800-286-7305.

 


Posted on October 4th, 2017 by

Posted In: Community, Uncategorized


Posted on September 29th, 2017 by

A letter this week from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding potential impacts along the northernmost area of the proposed Northern Pass route contains no new information and Eversource has confirmed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) that the letter will not affect the decision regarding a required ACOE wetlands permit.  It is also important to note that Northern Pass does not require a permit from the U.S. EPA.  The agency’s letter this week was directed to the ACOE, which is expected to issue a required wetlands permit to Northern Pass before the end of the year.  EPA’s comments were a repeat of what the agency said last year.  Northern Pass responded to the EPA in an October, 2016 letter, noting that “our proposed route is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative…” Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy last month issued the project a Final Environmental Impact Statement, concluding that the proposed Northern Pass route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts.

The N.H. Department of Environmental Services issued a state wetlands permit to Northern Pass in March, 2017, following a comprehensive review, including a study of the issues originally raised by the EPA last year and Northern Pass’ wetlands mitigation plan.  The project’s wetlands mitigation plan includes a $3 million payment to the N.H. Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund (ARM) and the dedication of  1,627 acres of approved land for wetland mitigation – exceeding the state and federal requirements for wetlands mitigation the project must meet.  The mitigation package also includes eight conservation sites which are valued for having numerous wetlands, floodplains, streams, vernal pools, or are connected to other conservation lands.


Posted on September 29th, 2017 by

Posted In: Uncategorized


Posted on September 18th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) today began hearing testimony from President of Normandeau Associates and former New England Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Robert Varney about his review of Northern Pass and how it relates to the orderly development of New Hampshire. Below is more information about Varney and a summary of his findings, provided in his pre-filed testimony submitted to the SEC.

ROBERT VARNEY is the President of Normandeau Associates, an environmental science consulting firm based in Bedford, where he began in 2009 as Executive Vice President. He served nearly eight years as Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, New England; as the Executive Director of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission; as senior planner at the Lakes Region Planning Commission; as the Commissioner of the NH Department of Environmental Services from 1989 to 2001; and as Chairman of the NH Site Evaluation Committee for that same 12-year period. In addition, Mr. Varney has worked on initiatives associated with climate change, energy efficiency and renewable energy, integration of energy and environmental programs, and restoration of rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. He will speak on the impact the Northern Pass Transmission Project will have on air quality and the project’s consistency with the goals of state, regional, and national air quality and climate change policies.

Key Points:

  • By using transmission corridors and existing roadways for 83 percent of the route and locating substantial portions of the project underground, Northern Pass is following sound planning and environmental principles that reinforces local patterns of development and minimizes environmental impacts
  • Of the 32 miles of new right-of-way (ROW) along the 192-mile route, 24 are in a working forest and forest management within this area will continue uninterrupted after construction
  • The Northern Pass will improve air quality, public health and the environment, and help address climate change by reducing pollutants such as NOx, SO2, and CO2 emissions that affect New Hampshire and the New England region, consistent with national, regional, and state air quality and climate change goals
  • Northern Pass will help reduce NOx and SO2 emissions, which contribute to the regional haze problem and to acid rain. This will improve visibility in the region’s parks and wilderness areas, as well as help improve the health of New Hampshire’s lakes, ponds and forests
  • The project will not interfere with the orderly development of the region and any potential effect on land use is minimal. The project’s impact on the local economy and jobs is positive

For More Information:

Northern Pass’ application to the NH Site Evaluation Committee; Vol. II; Pre-Filed Testimony; Varney

http://www.northernpass.us/assets/filings/Volume%20II/NHSEC%20Docket%20No%202015-06%20Pre-Filed%20Testimony.pdf


Posted on September 18th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Uncategorized


Posted on September 13th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) issued an order yesterday outlining procedures for the rest of the Northern Pass hearing schedule that could affect the date of the final decision.  We appreciate the SEC’s efforts to ensure the remainder of the hearings are not, as they state, “bogged down by unnecessary and inefficient friendly cross-examination.”  The SEC further concludes that it would be “unreasonable” to accept the amount of time requested by interveners.  We are encouraged that the SEC is taking steps to ensure efficiency for the balance of the proceedings and remain hopeful that the process will be complete earlier than the recently announced March deadline.

Excerpts from the procedural order:

  • “At the third prehearing conference, the intervenors indicated a desire to conduct cross-examination for 235 hours–the equivalent of 39 additional hearing days. The intervenors’ estimates suggest that there is an intention to engage in improper friendly cross-examination.”
  • “Something must be done, however, to ensure that the proceedings are not bogged down by unnecessary and inefficient friendly cross-examination.”
  • “In some types of matters, friendly cross-examination is used to repeat points made in prefiled testimony or to provide a witness the opportunity to testify about matters not addressed in the prefiled direct testimony. In this case, however, both tactics are unnecessary to ensure a full and true disclosure of facts.”
  • “…it is unreasonable to accept the estimates provided by the intervenors for friendly cross-examination of the witnesses for a number of other parties.”
  • “…the presiding officer may limit ‘irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious cross-examination or cross-examination that is not required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.’”
  • “…the hours of the day may be extended in the Chair’s discretion.”

Posted on September 13th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC


Posted on September 11th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will today hear from Terry DeWan and Jessica Kimball of  Terrence J. DeWan & Associates, a landscape architecture and planning firm located in Yarmouth, Maine. Both conducted research and compiled data that was submitted as part of the Northern Pass’ state application, including view simulations along the proposed route. Northern Pass has made the photo simulations of the proposed route available on its website.

Key Points:

  • A visual impact assessment, or VIA, is a systematic analysis of possible changes to the visible landscape resulting from proposed development activity, and the investigation of possible means to avoid, minimize or mitigate the effects of the change
  • The methodology follows a systematic path of inventory, analysis, and determination of effect. It is based upon established criteria developed by federal and state agencies over the past several decades, and is similar to previous work done with regards to transmission lines and other VIA projects
  • Scenic resources are defined as publicly accessible places that have been recognized by local, regional, state, or national authorities for their scenic or recreation quality and are visited by the general public, in part for the use, observation, enjoyment, and appreciation of natural, cultural, or visual qualities. All scenic resources that were identified within the Northern Pass Project Study Area were mapped and added to a database for further evaluation
  • Of the 525 scenic resources identified within three miles of the proposed route, none had overall visual impacts that were characterized as ‘high’, based on the observations and methodology used
  • A significant number of mitigation measures have been incorporated into the planning and design of Northern Pass including:
    • Locating portions of the Project underground to avoid sensitive scenic resources, such as the White Mountain National Forest
    • Using existing road rights-of-way (ROW) for most of the underground sections to minimize the need for new cleared transmission corridors
    • Co-locating the majority of the transmission line in existing transmission corridors to minimize the amount of new corridors
    • Using weathering steel monopole structures in certain areas results in a decrease in color contrasts with the surrounding landscape because they are generally darker in color and have a hue that is more commonly found in the landscape. Monopole structures also have a thinner profile and a simpler appearance than lattice structures
    • Locating new transmission structures in proximity to existing structures in certain locations to maintain the same spacing and avoid irregular linear patterns that can be caused by adjacent conductors being out of synch with each other
    • Matching the materials used for both the relocated 115 kV structures and the proposed transmission structures to minimize contrasts in color and texture and contribute to a sense of visual continuity within the corridor
    • Relocating existing transmission and distribution lines within the existing corridors to provide adequate clearance for the proposed structures and minimize the amount of clearing necessary for their installation
  • Northern Pass as a whole will not be a dominant feature in the landscape. The views from most of the scenic resources already contain evidence of existing human development, often prominently visible from the key observation points
  • Northern Pass will not result in unreasonable adverse effects on aesthetics, to either the six subareas that were identified or to the approximately 900 square-mile Project Study Area as a whole

 


Posted on September 11th, 2017 by

Posted In: Permitting, SEC

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Posted on September 6th, 2017 by

Draft Record of Decision Addresses Construction of Underground Line Along Existing Roads

The U.S. Forest Service has released its Draft Record of Decision (ROD) recommending that the agency issue a special use permit allowing Northern Pass Transmission to bury approximately eleven miles of transmission lines in areas along existing roads through the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF).  The Draft ROD represents another significant step forward for Northern Pass in the permitting process, and comes on the heels of the Final Environmental Impact Statement released by the U.S. Department of Energy last month – both highlighting the soundness of the proposal and the benefits to New Hampshire and the region.

“This proposed decision by the U.S. Forest Service continues to move Northern Pass forward so that it will have all necessary state and federal permits to begin construction by mid-2018,” Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan said.  “It is consistent with the key findings of other permitting agencies, including the Department of Energy, the NH Department of Environmental Services and the NH Department of Transportation.”

The Draft ROD is the culmination of seven years of review and extensive public input.  In 2015, Northern Pass announced an improved route that included 52 additional miles of underground to avoid any potential view impacts in and around the WMNF or along the Appalachian Trail.  The Draft ROD supports the project’s conclusion that burial along Interstate 93 is not a reasonable alternative, and states that the improved route “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”

The following excerpts are from the Draft ROD:

  • “I fully understand and acknowledge that there will be short-term, construction-related, impacts to natural and cultural resources on the WMNF, visitors to the area, and private lands/properties located along NH Routes 112 and 116. My decision does not ignore or make light of these effects. I believe the intensity and duration of these effects is more than outweighed by the benefits associated with bringing additional hydropower to the New England grid.” 
  • I believe that the technology is comprehensive, and that the Applicant possesses the ability to effectively construct, operate, and maintain the line underground…Since these alternatives bury the line on the WMNF, instead of the initial proposal for overhead lines, I believe the tradeoffs and environmental impacts to the National Forest and connected areas under Alternatives 4c and 7 are reasonable.”
  • “…the alternatives utilizing I-93 are not consistent with my understanding of NHDOT policies…Therefore, I did not select alternatives that buried the transmission line across the WMNF in the I-93 corridor.

The Forest Service also notes that the project will increase the reliability of New England’s power supply, by reducing reliance on imported natural gas; help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with public policy goals and the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan; and, provide “meaningful benefits to air quality” in the White Mountain National Forest.

“Meeting long-term energy needs in a sustainable, secure, and cost-effective manner for this region of the country is certainly in the public’s interest,” the Forest Service states.

In the coming weeks, Northern Pass will continue to review the specifics contained in the Draft ROD.

Recent Project Milestones include:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass, concluding that the proposed route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts
  • Eversource, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Quanta Services, Inc., and ABB Inc. finalized a comprehensive Project Labor Agreement
  • The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NH PUC) has approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and public lands
  • The NH PUC determined that Eversource has the legal authority to lease its existing rights-of-way to Northern Pass
  • The NH Site Evaluation Committee (NH SEC) completed the “discovery phase” of the permitting process, which involved nine months of data requests, document production and technical sessions. The final phase of the state permitting process began in April with the commencement of final adjudicative hearings. The hearings are the last step in the state siting process before the NH SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass
  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation issued its final report to the NH SEC recommending approval of the project
  • 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 NH SEC and, per DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application

Posted on September 6th, 2017 by

Posted In: Permitting, Uncategorized, Updates


Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

The NH Site Evaluation Committee today voted to extend the deadline for their final written decision on Northern Pass by six months, to March 31, 2018.

Northern Pass is disappointed in today’s decision considering this review process was already extended by nine months, from what was originally a 12-month process under recently enacted NH law.

We’re encouraged by the SEC’s willingness to pursue options for concluding the review in advance of the new deadline.

We remain confident in our ability to achieve a 2020 in-service date.  Further, we are convinced that we have submitted the most mature project into the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP and we continue to believe that we will be in a position to start construction in the second quarter of 2018.


Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC

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Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass, which marks further progress in the federal permitting process for the clean energy project.  The PA is a legally binding agreement that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects.  The PA is part of a larger process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and is separate from the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) environmental review.

The signatories to the PA include officials from DOE, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, and Northern Pass Transmission.

Recent Project Milestones include:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass, concluding that the proposed route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts
  • Eversource, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Quanta Services, Inc., and ABB Inc. finalized a comprehensive Project Labor Agreement
  • The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NH PUC) has approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and public lands
  • The NH PUC determined that Eversource has the legal authority to lease its existing rights-of-way to Northern Pass
  • The NH Site Evaluation Committee (NH SEC) completed the “discovery phase” of the permitting process, which involved nine months of data requests, document production and technical sessions. The final phase of the state permitting process began in April with the commencement of final adjudicative hearings. The hearings are the last step in the state siting process before the NH SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass
  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation issued its final report to the NH SEC recommending approval of the project
  • 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 NH SEC and, per DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application

Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Posted In: Uncategorized, Updates

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