Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Site Tour Clearing

N.H. Site Evaluation Committee members, Counsel for the Public, interveners and Northern Pass representatives toured the project route this summer.

Northern Pass Achieves Key Permitting Milestone

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Northern Pass on August 10, concluding the project’s proposed route is the “preferred alternative.” The final EIS also stated that Northern Pass provides substantial environmental and economic benefits for New Hampshire and the region and will result in only minimal impacts. Required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the FEIS is the result of years of review of project environmental impacts and reflects the careful consideration of thousands of comments submitted by key stakeholders and the public.

Northern Pass is now awaiting the issuance of its federal permits, including DOE’s Presidential Permit, a Special Use Permit from the U.S. Forest Service, and the Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Northern Pass has already received the final permitting decisions from New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services, Public Utilities Commissions and Department of Transportation, and continued with final hearings before the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee in August.

Conclusions from the Final Environmental Impact Statement

REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

  • The “total average scenic impact” of Northern Pass is considered “low” to “very low”
  • There will be no “population-level effects to any protected species” due to Northern Pass
  • Northern Pass poses no health risks associated with EMFs
  • There are no authoritative studies that demonstrate impacts on tourism from transmission lines. Tourism is affected more by factors such as the national economy and the price of gasoline
  • Noise levels associated with Northern Pass during operation will be well below EPA guidance levels

MEETING THE REGION’S ENERGY NEEDS

  • New England will see an annual reduction of CO2 emissions by 9 percent, or 2.5 million metric tons
  • Northern Pass will diversify New England’s electricity supply, reducing reliance on natural gas
  • Low-carbon hydropower from Northern Pass is a non-intermittent source of energy that can help meet public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

ECONOMIC BOOST FOR N.H.

  • Northern Pass will create 6,747 jobs in New Hampshire during construction, as well as 901 permanent jobs
  • During construction, Northern Pass will generate more than $734 million of additional economic output within New Hampshire
  • New Hampshire will see an increase of $37 million in annual statewide property tax collections once Northern Pass is built

OTHER BENEFITS FOR N.H. In addition to the benefits highlighted in the FEIS, Northern Pass will provide — and in some cases has already provided — significant investment in on-the-ground conservation and economic development programs.

  • $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment and tourism
  • $7.5 million to the North Country Job Creation Fund to develop and retain jobs in the North Country
  • 5,000 acres set aside for conservation, recreation and mixed-use
  • $3 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Fund for its Partner’s for NH’s Fish and Wildlife initiative supporting conservation and restoration of key state habitats and species

What’s Next for Northern Pass

  • Final hearings continue before the SEC in September, including testimony on aesthetics and orderly development
  • Northern Pass expects to finish presenting its testimony before the SEC by mid-September
  • The Counsel for the Public and intervenors will have an opportunity beginning in September to present witness testimony
  • The DOE is expected to issue a Presidential Permit for Northern Pass sometime this fall

Site Tour Weeks

Site Tours Along North Country, Underground Route

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) recently toured a number of sites along the proposed Northern Pass routes. The visits, held on July 27 and 28, included stops in Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Dummer, Stark, Lancaster, Bethlehem, Franconia, Easton and Woodstock.

The locations of these stops were proposed by Counsel for the Public in a request that the SEC consider viewing portions of the proposed underground burial route as well as proposed additional above-ground sites in northern New Hampshire.

The July visits were in addition to four days of site visits held in March 2016 that included stops in Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Colebrook, Stark, Lancaster, Whitefield, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Bristol, Franklin, Canterbury, Concord, Pembroke, Allenstown and Deerfield.

Northern Pass Reaffirms Commitment to Hiring Local Workers First

Northern Pass has long been committed to hiring New Hampshire workers first for the construction of Northern Pass. Eversource, Northern Pass’ parent company, recently reaffirmed that commitment with a project labor agreement. On August 7, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced a finalized agreement that covers both union workers and non-union workers and businesses, including workers needed for the construction of access roads, logging and clearing, trucking and other key construction-related activities.

The announcement is positive news for New Hampshire’s electrical workers as Northern Pass now presents an opportunity for them to work on a project in their home state, closer to their family and friends.

Tiler Eaton of the IBEW said, “Given the size of this project and the number of trained electrical workers needed, we anticipate this project will not only fully utilize all available New Hampshire members, but will also provide work for hundreds of our members from Massachusetts.” You can read the announcement on the Northern Pass website in our Document Library, www.northernpass.us/document-library.htm.


Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Posted In: Jobs, SEC, Updates

Tags:


Posted on August 29th, 2017 by

The N.H. Site Evaluation Committee will hear testimony today from historical and archeological experts who conducted research about the route for Northern Pass. Below you will find information about these experts and information about their work.

CHERILYN WIDELL is principal of Widell Preservation Services in Chestertown, Maryland, and has worked in the field of historic preservation throughout the United States and internationally for 40 years. She was appointed by the Governor of California to serve as State Historic Preservation Officer with oversight of all aspects of historic resource protection throughout California. Ms. Widell also served as the federal preservation officer for the Presidio Trust—the federal agency responsible for the conversion of the Presidio of San Francisco from an Army post to a National Park—where she was responsible for agency compliance with federal regulations for more than 450 historic buildings and the archeological resources. Ms. Widell conducted assessments of the potential effects that the Northern Pass project may have on above-ground historic properties and cultural landscapes in New Hampshire.

VICTORIA BUNKER is the owner and principal investigator at Victoria Bunker, Inc., archeological consultants in Alton, NH. She has more than 35 years of experience in New England archeology, and is listed as qualified to conduct archeological surveys in New Hampshire by the NH Division of Historical Resources. In her career, Dr. Bunker has completed 750 projects relative to Section 106 compliance at Phase I, II and III level of study, and has conducted regional research surveys in the Lamprey, Merrimack, Pemigewasset and Mad River Valleys and throughout the White Mountain National Forest. She has authored numerous publications on New England archaeology and served the New Hampshire Archeological Society as President Emeritus, on the Board of Directors, and as past editor. Dr. Bunker conducted archaeological assessments for Northern Pass.

Key Points:

  • The project will have no unreasonable adverse effect on historic resources
  • The experts’ assessments have been used in the planning process by project engineers to help avoid and minimize the impact to historic resources
  • Ms. Widell assessed the project’s potential effect on historic resources, working closely with Preservation Company of Kensington, NH, mapping and cataloguing more than 1,300 properties, historic districts and cultural landscapes within the project’s Area of Potential Effect
  • More than 200 of those properties were then subject to more intense analysis because they met the National Register of Historic Places age and integrity eligibility criteria and are potentially in view of the project. Of these properties, the project experts have concluded that   might be adversely effected by the project, mostly indirectly
  • The project will not create an adverse effect in the setting of a National Historic Landmark, the Webster Farm and Daniel Webster Family Home. Although the project will have an adverse indirect visual effect on the Weeks Estate, that will not cause it to be removed from the National Register of Historic Places because of a loss of integrity.
  • Victoria Bunker, Inc. has assessed the entire project route to identify archeologically sensitive areas and archeological sites. Ms. Bunker has concluded that the project has substantially avoided impact to archeological resources, and that there will be no unreasonable adverse effect to such resources.
  • To address any impact, Northern Pass will undertake all mitigation measures as required by the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in consultation with NH Department of Historical Resources (NHDHR) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, as part of the Section 106 process.

Facts at a Glance:

The review of the potential impact of the Northern Pass project on historic and archeological resources is required under the state’s energy project siting laws, and also by the U.S. DOE under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

For More Information:

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

Pre-filed Testimony; Bunker


Posted on August 29th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC

Tags:


Posted on August 15th, 2017 by

Local Unions Pleased to See Release of FEIS

Northern Pass is expected to create 2,600 jobs during construction. That’s why local labor unions have applauded the recent release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Northern Pass. In addition to reaching this major permitting milestone, Eversource recently finalized a project labor agreement that will ensure local workers will be given hiring priority

 

Statement from New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett on the Department of Energy’s Release of the Northern Pass Transmission Line Project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement

“The New Hampshire AFL-CIO represents the men and women who will build this important clean energy infrastructure project, and we are excited about the opportunity the Northern Pass presents for New Hampshire working families. We were pleased to see that the U.S. Department of Energy’s official position is that the construction of the Northern Pass will create thousands of jobs for New Hampshire workers, and will not result in significant harm to our environment or scenic views.  We have long known that building the Northern Pass will not only create jobs for thousands of construction workers, but will help jump start the local economy in New Hampshire’s North Country. It’s great to see that the Department of Energy agrees. As someone who grew up in the North Country, I know we need to do as much as we can to bring economic development to that part of our state. Building the Northern Pass will do just that.

“Knowing that our beautiful Granite State’s environment will be protected throughout this project’s lifetime is important to every Granite Stater, including our Brothers and Sisters who will be working to construct, operate, and maintain it. We are thrilled to see yesterday’s announcement from the Department of Energy that construction of the Northern Pass will not create unreasonable adverse impacts.”

 

Statement from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 104 Business Manager Brian Murphy on the Release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass

“The men and women of IBEW Local 104 applaud today’s release of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Northern Pass Transmission project. After an exhaustive review of the project and considerable public comment, the EIS makes it clear that the Northern Pass project as proposed has minimal environmental effects and that the route selected is the best option for minimizing impacts on New Hampshire citizens. The Northern Pass project will provide work for hundreds of highly trained, local electrical workers, and IBEW Local 104 appreciates the timely, thorough work undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Department’s focus on facts over rhetoric.”


Posted on August 15th, 2017 by

Posted In: Jobs

Tags: ,


Posted on August 10th, 2017 by

Final Environmental Impact Statement Finds Project as Proposed is “Preferred Alternative”

 

MANCHESTER, N.H. (August 10, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project (NPT), representing a significant step forward in the permitting process.  The FEIS concluded that the proposed Northern Pass route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts.  Required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the FEIS is a product of years of review of project environmental impacts by the DOE in cooperation with other federal agencies, and reflects input collected from thousands of comments submitted by key stakeholders and the public.

As stated in today’s DOE decision, “The proposed DOE action in the final EIS is to issue a Presidential permit to the Applicant, Northern Pass LLC, to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a new electric transmission line across the U.S./Canada border in northern New Hampshire (NH).” The FEIS also recognizes Northern Pass’ ability to help meet the region’s energy challenges. “In addition to diversifying the electricity supply, the utilization of low-carbon hydropower can help meet public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We are extremely pleased that DOE has completed its FEIS and greatly appreciate the years of hard work by all of the experts involved in this thorough review of Northern Pass,” said Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource operations in New Hampshire.  “As this clean energy project continues to advance through the final stages of the New Hampshire permitting process, we are encouraged to have reached this major federal permitting milestone.  We are now another step closer to realizing the many benefits Northern Pass has to offer New Hampshire and the region.”

Highlights of the FEIS include:

  • DOE concludes the proposed Northern Pass route is the “preferred alternative”
  • New England will see a reduction of carbon emissions by 9 percent or 2.5 million metric tons
  • The “total average scenic impact” of Northern Pass is considered “low” to “very low”
  • Northern Pass will create 6,747 jobs in New Hampshire during construction, as well as 901 permanent jobs
  • During construction, Northern Pass will generate more than $734 million of additional economic output within New Hampshire
  • New Hampshire will see an increase of $37 million in annual statewide property tax collections once Northern Pass is built
  • There will be no “population-level effects to any protected species” due to Northern Pass
  • Noise levels associated with Northern Pass during operation will be well below EPA guidance levels
  • Northern Pass poses no health risks associated with EMFs
  • There are no authoritative studies that demonstrate impacts on tourism from transmission lines. Tourism is affected more by factors such as the national economy and the price of gasoline

Northern Pass is now awaiting the issuance of its federal permits, including DOE’s Presidential Permit, a Special Use Permit from the U.S. Forest Service, and the Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  All major state and federal permits are expected in 2017, and all major contractor and equipment contracts are fully executed.  Northern Pass will be substantially complete by the third quarter of 2020.  Following testing, the line will be in service by the end of 2020.

“New Hampshire and the region are facing serious energy challenges, including having some of the highest electricity prices in the Continental United States,” said Quinlan.  “Customers, businesses and elected officials have been calling for solutions, and the issuance of the FEIS positions NPT well to help address these critical challenges.”

Beyond its clean energy benefits and energy cost savings, Northern Pass will provide a number of benefits unique to New Hampshire, including millions annually in additional tax revenue to communities along the route; $7.5 million to the North Country Job Creation Fund to develop and retain jobs in the North Country; thousands of acres set aside for conservation, recreation and mixed-use; and the $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment, and tourism.

The Northern Pass transmission line begins at the Canadian border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and extends 192 miles to Deerfield, New Hampshire where it connects to the New England grid.  More than 80 percent of the line will be located along existing transmission corridors or buried along roadways to eliminate potential view impacts in the White Mountain National Forest area.  Northern Pass will provide a robust, new interconnection path between the Québec and New England electric systems, and will be controlled by the regional system operator, ISO-New England.

The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will bring to New England 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower.  This reliable and affordable source of power will also bring a wide range of benefits to the region, including millions of dollars in energy cost savings and a significant reduction in carbon emissions.  To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us.

Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its approximately 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and superior customer


Posted on August 10th, 2017 by

Posted In: Press Releases, Updates

Tags: ,


Posted on August 7th, 2017 by

Northern Pass has long been committed to hiring New Hampshire workers first for the construction of Northern Pass. Eversource, Northern Pass’ parent company, recently reaffirmed that commitment with a project labor agreement. Below is an announcement from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) about the agreement which covers both union workers and non-union workers and businesses.

The announcement is great news for New Hampshire’s electrical workers as Northern Pass now presents an opportunity for them to work on a project in their home state, closer to their family and friends.

Tiler Eaton of the IBEW said “Given the size of this project and the number of trained electrical workers needed, we anticipate this project will not only fully utilize all available New Hampshire members, but will also provide work for hundreds of our members from Massachusetts.”

IBEW, Eversource & Major Contractors Complete Project Labor Agreement to Build Northern Pass

Agreement confirms commitment to New Hampshire and Massachusetts jobs

Boston, MA –The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) Second District announced today that it, along with Eversource, Quanta Services, Inc., and ABB Inc., recently finalized a comprehensive Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the Northern Pass transmission project. The agreement ensures that a trained workforce will be used, including apprentice opportunities for the IBEW’s members and other construction trades, to build the 192-mile transmission line that will deliver clean energy to New England through an interconnection to the region’s electric grid in Deerfield, New Hampshire.

“This agreement confirms Northern Pass’ commitment to utilize a local labor force for its advanced, shovel-ready project,” said Mike Monahan, Vice President, IBEW Second District.  “We are pleased to have a fully executed PLA in place that will provide substantial work opportunities—as early as the spring of 2018—for our members in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and other parts of New England.”

The agreement outlines the partners’ commitment to prioritize the hiring of New Hampshire and Massachusetts workers in meeting the staffing needs for the project. Eversource expects the project to create 2,600 jobs during peak construction, with hundreds of them being skilled electrical workers.

“With a plan to begin construction in 2018 and to place Northern Pass in service in 2020, it was imperative that we finalize this critical agreement with the IBEW, and our major contractors, Quanta Services, Inc. and ABB, Inc.,” said Bill Quinlan, President of Eversource NH Operations. “We appreciate the commitment of our partners to ensuring that local workers and businesses will have the opportunity to participate in this project that will deliver unparalleled benefits to New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New England.”

Parties to the PLA include:

  • IBEW Second District – covers all of New England
  • IBEW Local 104 – of Barrington, NH, serves the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and Vermont.
  • IBEW Local 490 – of Concord, NH
  • Quanta Services, Inc. – the largest transmission and distribution specialty contractor in North America, Quanta will serve as general contractor through its subsidiary, PAR Electrical Contractors, with an office in Bow, New Hampshire
  • ABB Inc. – The global leader in high voltage direct current (HVDC) technologies, ABB will install the underground transmission line cable and build the convertor station in Franklin, New Hampshire

“We are pleased to have a firm and fully executed agreement with Eversource to build the Northern Pass project and to be part of this PLA,“ said Duke Austin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Quanta Services. “This exclusive general services contract is unique to Northern Pass and Quanta. We have a long history of working with Eversource and the IBEW, and believe adding ABB, Inc. to this partnership creates an incredibly strong team capable of safely delivering the Northern Pass project, which is designed to provide clean energy benefits to the region.”

“We look forward to working with Quanta and our IBEW partners on this project,” said Tomas Leander, ABB senior vice president and general manager of HVDC in North America. “In addition to installing the underground transmission line, a major focus of our work will be constructing the Franklin converter terminal, which will require a variety of skilled trades. Having an executed PLA in place now, along with a firm and fully executed contract for equipment and installation, provides certainty, ensures opportunities for local workers, and allows us to hit the ground running when construction begins.”

In addition to outlining areas of union work, the Northern Pass PLA also defines the scope of work that will be open to non-union workers and businesses. These include construction of access roads, logging and clearing, trucking and other key construction-related activities.

IBEW 2nd District encompasses the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont and represents approximately 40,000 members throughout these New England states.

IBEW Local 104 represents more than 1,000 outside electrical linemen, trained and skilled to install and repair high-voltage electrical systems from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island.

IBEW Local 490 represents workers in the electrical construction, maintenance, and telecommunications industry in New Hampshire.

Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its approximately 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and superior customer service.  For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@EversourceCorp) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceEnergy).

Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will bring to New England 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower.  This reliable and affordable source of power will also bring a wide range of benefits to the region, including millions of dollars in energy cost savings and a significant reduction in carbon emissions.  To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us.

Quanta Services is a leading specialized contracting services company, delivering infrastructure solutions for the electric power, oil and gas and communications industries.  Quanta’s comprehensive services include designing, installing, repairing and maintaining energy and communications infrastructure.  With operations throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Australia and select other international markets, Quanta has the manpower, resources and expertise to safely complete projects that are local, regional, national or international in scope. For more information, visit www.quantaservices.com.

ABB (NYSE: ABB) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 132,000 employees.  (www.abb.com)


Posted on August 7th, 2017 by

Posted In: Jobs, Press Releases, Project People

Tags: ,


Posted on August 4th, 2017 by

The NH Site Evaluation Committee recently heard testimony on how Northern Pass relates to property values. Below is information about the testimony from real estate appraiser Dr. Jim Chalmers.

JAMES CHALMERS is the Principal of Chalmers & Associations LLC in Billings, Montana, and is an economist, appraiser, and nationally recognized expert in assessing the impacts of large-scale infrastructure projects on the value of real estate. Dr. Chalmers holds a Certified General Real Estate Appraiser license in several states. For the Northern Pass, Dr. Chalmers conducted analysis of the possible effects of the project on property values in local and regional real estate markets.

Key Points:

  • There is no evidence that high-voltage transmission lines result in consistent measurable effects on property values. Where there are effects, they are small and decrease rapidly with distance
  • Chalmers completed a research report in 2015 called High Voltage Transmission Lines and New Hampshire Real Estate Markets: A Research Report. In conducting the research, Chalmers analyzed 25 different studies on transmission lines and their impact on property value.
  • Chalmers also included additional New Hampshire-specific research:
    • Case studies of a wide variety of properties crossed by a high-voltage transmission line
    • A subdivision study examining the selling price and length of time on the market at 13 subdivisions
    • Market activity research looking at sales data from towns in which some portion of the town falls within one mile of a high-voltage transmission line
  • About half of the studies find some impact related to a residential property’s proximity to the line. Half of the studies find none.
  • Where effects are found, they are usually in the range of a 1% to 6% decrease. Effects tend to decrease rapidly the further the property is from the HVTL, and two of the studies concluded they dissipate over time as well
  • Based on the Case Study research, those properties that could potentially be affected are homes very close to the transmission corridor that do not have a clear view of the existing HVTL today, but will have clear visibility of the Northern Pass lines
  • Of the 58 New Hampshire-based case studies, 10 cases showed sales prices were affected, 11 cases suggested a possible sale price effect, and 37 cases, or about 64%, found no sale price effect. In 41 of the 58 cases, there was no marketing time effect of the HVTL
  • Where sale price effects were found, they were small and decreased quickly with distance. In every case, proximity had to be combined with a clear view of the transmission line for there to be a sale price effect
  • Very few homes along the Northern Pass route are within 500 feet of the transmission corridor in the northern 40 miles. The 52 miles of the route in and around the White Mountain National Forest will be underground and have no view impact. From the point where the line travels overhead again, the new high-voltage line is in an existing transmission corridor, so proximity of homes with respect to the existing right-of-way will not change
  • To address these potential impacts, Northern Pass designed the Guarantee Program, which ensures that the owners of such properties do not face an economic loss caused by the construction of Northern Pass in the event they sell their property within five years after construction begins

For More Information:

Northern Pass’ application to the NH Site Evaluation Committee; Vol. II; Pre-Filed Testimony; Chalmers http://www.northernpass.us/assets/filings/Volume%20II/NHSEC%20Docket%20No%202015-06%20Pre-Filed%20Testimony.pdf


Posted on August 4th, 2017 by

Posted In: Uncategorized


Posted on August 3rd, 2017 by

The NH Site Evaluation Committee recently heard testimony on how Northern Pass relates to tourism in the state. Below is information about tourism expert Mitch Nichols and his testimony.

 

MITCH NICHOLS is Founder and President of Nichols Tourism Group in Bellingham, Washington. He has more than 20 years of experience working with and analyzing tourism destinations across the country. He has worked with states including Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Washington to develop a long-range tourism strategic plan and an assessment of its identity in the tourism marketplace. Mr. Nichols has also worked on broad strategic planning efforts for destinations like Sarasota, Florida, the Mt. Hood region in Oregon, and Ashville, North Carolina, as well as heritage destinations such as Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg, Virginia. Mr. Nichols has provided an assessment of the New Hampshire tourism industry in relation to the Northern Pass project.

Key Points:

  • Northern Pass will not affect regional travel demand or have a measurable effect on New Hampshire’s tourism industry
  • Nichols research included examining data from New Hampshire’s Division of Travel and TourismDevelopment, Plymouth State University’s Institute for New Hampshire Studies, interviews with representatives from the state’s tourism industry, a prospective visitors’ survey, and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data
  • There are no published studies that address the quantitative impacts of transmission lines to a destination’s tourism industry
  • Nichols review of an existing transmission line in Maine and another in New Hampshire provides no indication that the number of tourism establishments and employees was negatively affected by the construction and operation of those lines
  • A survey of prospective visitors from key feeder markets to New Hampshire supports Mr. Nichols’ overall opinion that it is the collective mix of destination attributes that influences visitors’ choice of destination, and the presence of power lines is of very low importance
  • Nichols’ research found that visitors come to New Hampshire because of the diversity of experiences, the state’s ease of access, and its general affordability. The presence, or absence, of transmission lines does not drive their decision to choose New Hampshire. Even for those New Hampshire visitors who have a negative attitude towards transmission lines, other destination factors are of far greater importance in their travel decisions

For More Information:

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

http://www.northernpass.us/assets/filings/Volume%20XXXIV/Appendix%2045%20Northern%20Pass%20Transmission%20and%20New%20Hampshires%20Tourism%20Industry.pdf


Posted on August 3rd, 2017 by

Posted In: Uncategorized


Posted on August 3rd, 2017 by

Public input is an essential part of the permitting process for energy projects in New Hampshire.  Over the last several years, Granite Staters have had many opportunities to provide state and federal officials with feedback about the Northern Pass proposal, with more opportunities still to come. Comments have been submitted in person and in writing to both the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee and the U.S. Department of Energy, agencies charged with reviewing and permitting the project.

Below is a list of public hearings which were held to provide information about the project and give residents an opportunity to meet with Northern Pass experts, as well as let state and federal officials know their thoughts on the project. These hearings are in addition to the written comments submitted to state and federal officials.

 

NHSEC Meeting Summary
Event Name Event Type Date Venue Town County
Public Information Session – Merrimack Pre-Filing (SEC)

*Open House

9/2/2015 Grappone Conference Center Concord Merrimack
Public Information Session – Rockingham Pre-Filing (SEC) *Open House  9/3/2015 Deerfield Fair Pavilion Deerfield Rockingham
Public Information Session – Grafton Pre-Filing (SEC) *Open House 9/8/2015 Mountain Club on Loon Resort Lincoln Grafton
Public Information Session – Coos Pre-Filing (SEC) *Open House 9/9/2015 Mountain View Grand Whitefield Coos
Public Information Session – Belknap Pre-Filing (SEC) *Open House 9/10/2015   Lake Opechee Inn & Spa Laconia Belknap
Public Information Session – Merrimack 45-day Post Filing (SEC) *Open House 1/11/2016 Franklin Opera House Franklin Merrimack
Public Information Session – Rockingham 45-day Post Filing (SEC) *Open House 1/13/2016 Londonderry High School Londonderry Rockingham
Public Information Session – Belknap 45-day Post Filing (SEC) *Open House 1/14/2016 Lake Opechee Inn & Spa Laconia Belknap
Public Information Session – Coos 45-day Post Filing (SEC) *Open House 1/20/2016 Mountain View Grand Whitefield Coos
Public Information Session – Grafton 45-day Post Filing (SEC) *Open House 1/21/2016 Mountain Club on Loon Resort Lincoln Grafton
Public Information Session – Belknap 90-day Post Filing (SEC) 3/1/2016 Mill Falls at the Lake Meredith Belknap
Public Information Session – Coos 90-day Post Filing (SEC) 3/7/2016 Colebrook Elementary School Colebrook Coos
SEC Bus Tour Bus Tour 3/7/2016 Coos (north)
SEC Bus Tour Bus Tour 3/7/2016 Coos (south)
Public Information Session – Merrimack 90-day Post Filing (SEC) 3/10/2016 Grappone Conference Center Concord Merrimack

 

Public Information Session – Grafton 90-day Post Filing (SEC) 3/14/2016 Plymouth State University Holderness Grafton
SEC Bus Tour Bus Tour 3/14/2016 Merrimack
Public Information Session – Rockingham 90-day Post Filing (SEC) 3/16/2016 Deerfield Fair Pavilion Deerfield Rockingham
SEC Bus Tour Bus Tour 3/16/2016 Merrimack (south)

Rockingham

Public Information Session – Coos Additional

Hearing

5/19/2016 Mountain View Grand Whitefield Coos
Public Information Session – Grafton Additional

Hearing

6/23/2016 Plymouth High School Plymouth Grafton
Public Comment Hearing 6/15/2017 49 Donavan St Concord Merrimack
Public Comment Hearing 6/22/2017 49 Donavan St Concord Merrimack
Public Comment Hearing 7/20/2017 49 Donavan St Concord Merrimack
SEC Bus Tour Bus Tour 7/27/2017 Coos
SEC Bus Tour Bus Tour 7/28/2017 Grafton

USDOE Meeting Summary

DOE Public Comment Hearing Scoping Hearing (DOE) 10/6/2015 Grappone Conference Center Concord Merrimack
DOE Public Comment Hearing Scoping Hearing (DOE) 10/7/2015 Mountain View Grand Whitefield Coos
DOE Public Comment Hearing Scoping Hearing (DOE) 10/8/2015 Plymouth State University Holderness Grafton

 

DOE Public Comment Hearing (jointly w/ SEC) Scoping Hearing (DOE 3/7/2016 Colebrook Elementary School Colebrook Coos

 

DOE Public Comment Hearing (jointly w/ SEC) Scoping Hearing (DOE) 3/10/2016 Grappone Conference Center Concord Merrimack

 

DOE Public Comment Hearing Scoping Hearing (DOE) 3/9/2016 Waterville Valley Event Center Waterville Valley Grafton
DOE Public Comment Hearing Scoping Hearing (DOE) 3/11/2016 Mountain View Grand Whitefield Coos

 


Posted on August 3rd, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Uncategorized, Updates

Tags: ,


Posted on August 1st, 2017 by

Four days of hearings on Northern Pass were scheduled in July before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), covering Northern Pass property tax revenue and what effect transmission lines have on tourism.

WHY PEOPLE VISIT NH

Mitch Nichols, of the Nichols Tourism Group, spoke about the research he conducted on the New Hampshire tourism industry and whether the presence of transmission lines is considered by tourists or those in the tourism industry as an influential factor.

In his study, Nichols used data collected by Plymouth State University’s Institute for New Hampshire Studies and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, as well as interviews with representatives from the state’s tourism industry and a prospective visitor’s survey. This research showed there are a number of issues that influence a visitor’s decision on where they will travel, including how easy it is to access the destination, the range of activities available, new or improved attractions, marketing, weather, and overall value for the money.

There is a lack of evidence to show that transmission lines influence tourism, and no known studies of transmission line development show a quantifiable impact on the tourism industry. The Nichols Tourism Group added in its report that during the group’s own work on more than 250 assignments studying a wide range of tourist destinations, they found no indication transmission lines have an impact on tourism.

“Never in the prior 20 years of planning work has any concern been raised regarding the presence of power lines and their possible negative influence on visitor demand,” the report said.

PROPERTY TAX REVENUE FOR COMMUNITIES ON THE ROUTE

Lisa Shapiro, Chief Economist at Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell in Concord, provided testimony on her work estimating the Northern Pass property tax payments to New Hampshire communities.

One of the most direct and immediate benefits the communities along the proposed Northern Pass route will receive is increased property tax revenue. In its first full year of operation, the project will pay an estimated $35 million to $40 million in property taxes. That includes approximately:

  • $21 million to $26 million for municipal and local education property taxes
  • $4 million for county taxes
  • $10 million for state utility education property taxes redistributed to local communities for education

Recently, Northern Pass reached out to all of the incorporated communities along the route to notify them of the expected tax revenue the project will bring over the next 20 years. In Stewartstown, for example, the estimated Northern Pass investment (which is an increase to the town’s tax base) in the first year after construction will be $69.9 million. Once built, Northern Pass will represent 45 percent of the town’s overall property value and yield an estimated first-year payment for municipal and local school taxes of $858,361. That would bring an estimated first-year homeowner tax benefit of up to $830 per $100,000 in home value.

For more information about the Northern Pass property tax revenue in communities along the route, go to www.northernpass.us/towns.htm.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR NORTHERN PASS

  • Final hearings before the SEC will continue throughout the summer, including discussions on property values, aesthetics, and historical and archeological resources.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy expects to release its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Northern Pass in August.
  • The SEC announced an additional 15 final hearing dates in August and September.
  • Northern Pass will continue to reach out to landowner owners and businesses along the route to gather feedback on how the project can address any potential impacts during construction.

ENVIRONMENTAL MITIGATION AND ENHANCING NH’S CONSERVATION EFFORTS

During its design phase, Northern Pass sought to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands along the proposed route whenever possible. However, environmental studies revealed that some wetlands will be impacted from construction and operation of the project. Working with various agencies, and in accordance with state and federal law, Northern Pass has dedicated 1,627 acres of approved land for wetland mitigation — exceeding the state and federal requirements for wetlands mitigation the project must meet. Environmental mitigation is a term used primarily by government agencies and environmental organizations to describe projects or programs intended to offset known impacts to an existing resource, such as a stream, wetland, endangered species, or historic structure.

Enhancing Conservation

Northern Pass has worked with the New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department, Department of Environmental Services (DES), and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to identify land that could be part of the Northern Pass mitigation plan and would also provide additional benefits to other conservation and restoration efforts around the state. The mitigation package includes eight conservation sites that are valued for having numerous wetlands, floodplains, streams, vernal pools, or are connected to other conservation lands.

Highest Ranked Habitats

Much of the land Northern Pass has dedicated to the mitigation package specifically addresses local and regional conservation goals.

They include corridors for lynx, marten and other wildlife, habitats for moose and Northern long-eared bat, deer wintering areas, large forest blocks for forest breeding birds, and a mix of land types from wetlands and early successional forests to mature forests and high-elevation habitat. Six sites, totaling 1,533 acres, are located in the North Country and are adjacent to or near other undeveloped land that offer opportunities for hiking, hunting and fishing.

The sites in the mitigation plan stand out for the significant conservation opportunities they present the state. Approximately 700 acres are considered Highest Ranked Habitat, a determination made by New Hampshire Fish and Game. This designation indicates land that contains wildlife habitat in the best relative condition in the state or region, considering the location of key species, the landscape setting, and the impact humans have had on the area.

PRESERVATION LOCATIONS

The following parcels will be preserved as part of the Northern Pass Wetland Mitigation Package:

Parcel Location Size Characteristics
Hall Stream Road Site Pittsburg 46.5 acres Highest Ranked Habitat, with forest and farmland
Connecticut River Site Pittsburg 550 acres Highest Ranked Habitat with high-quality wetlands
Haynes Road Site Clarksville 153 acres Highest Ranked Habitat, deer wintering area
Wiswell Road Site Clarksville 211 acres Highest Ranked Habitat, offers protection for key species
Roaring Brook Headwaters Site Dixville/Columbia 444 acres High elevation, adjacent to large contiguous parcels, including Nash Stream Forest
Cedar Brook Site Stewartstown 129 acres Highest Ranked Habitat, high-quality wetland
Brush Road Forest Site Pembroke 87 acres Highest Ranked Habitat, vernal pools, preserves open space near urban area
*Pine Barrens Concord 7 acres Pine Barrens is a Highest Ranked Habitat in the region

*This Concord conservation land is in addition to the Wetland Mitigation package and is included in the overall mitigation plan.

ABOUT NORTHERN PASS

Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will provide New Hampshire and New England up to 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower. This reliable and competitively-priced power will also bring a range of benefits to New Hampshire, including hundreds of millions of dollars in energy cost savings, additional tax revenue, and thousands of jobs during construction and beyond. To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us. You can also email questions to info@northernpass.us or call 1-800-286-7305.


Posted on August 1st, 2017 by

Posted In: Energy Brief


Posted on July 28th, 2017 by

The following press release was issued by Eversource on July 27, 2017.  For relevant materials, click here.

Proposals will offer substantial environmental and economic benefits to consumers in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New England

MANCHESTER, N.H. (July 27, 2017) – Eversource and Hydro-Québec (HQ) today submitted two comprehensive proposals in response to the Massachusetts Clean Energy solicitation. Both proposals would use the Northern Pass Transmission project (NPT) to deliver significant amounts of clean energy to the New England grid, interconnecting in New Hampshire. The solicitation is the result of a law passed last year by the Massachusetts Legislature to provide for new sources of clean energy for decades into the future. The two proposals are a 100 percent hydropower option and a hydropower and onshore wind combination option, and both highlight NPT’s advanced project development and Eversource’s extensive experience in building and operating the transmission grid in the region.

“Northern Pass is the most mature and comprehensive solution to meet the region’s clean energy goals and will help provide stability over the price and supply of the energy for years to come,” said Lee Olivier, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Eversource Energy. “As New England’s largest utility, we are uniquely positioned to deliver on that promise. We are excited to begin delivering the substantial benefits of this project to consumers throughout the region.”

The Northern Pass transmission line begins at the Canadian border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and extends 192 miles to Deerfield, New Hampshire where it connects to the New England grid. More than 80 percent of the line will be located along existing transmission corridors or buried along roadways to eliminate potential view impacts in the White Mountain National Forest area. NPT will provide a robust, new interconnection path between the Québec and New England electric systems, and will be controlled by the regional system operator, ISO-NE.

Northern Pass will soon be a shovel-ready project with all major state and federal permits expected in 2017. Moreover, all major contractor and equipment contracts are fully executed to begin construction early in 2018. The majority of the project’s construction will take place in 2018 and 2019. A project labor agreement has been executed and is expected to generate thousands of jobs during peak construction for both Granite State and Bay State workers. Northern Pass will be substantially complete by the third quarter of 2020, and following testing, the line will be in service by the end of 2020 – prior to the critical 2020-2021 winter period.

Clean Energy Solutions

The 100 percent hydropower option included in the Northern Pass bid would deliver 1,090 megawatts of clean hydroelectric energy and the associated environmental attributes from HQ’s existing resources. A second option would combine predominantly firm hydropower from HQ with new wind generation located in Québec, provided by a partnership of wind developers, Gaz Métro and Boralex. The wind power will be backed by hydropower and includes Class I Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Both options guarantee a firm delivery of 1,090 megawatts of clean energy year round, including winter and summer days when demand for energy is greatest.

Achieving Environmental Benefits and Reducing Costs

Northern Pass will be capable of providing up to 9.4 terawatt hours of clean energy that the Massachusetts legislation requires on an annual basis while helping the Bay State attain the clean energy goals required by its Global Warming Solutions Act. The project will also reduce wholesale energy costs, diversify the region’s energy mix, and help fill the gap created by the retirement of older generating plants. Further, Northern Pass will help reduce reliance on natural gas-fired sources, particularly during the winter months when the gas pipeline system into New England is constrained.

Enabling Enhanced Economic and Community Betterment

In an effort to provide additional benefits, Northern Pass has finalized an agreement with leading Massachusetts low-income advocates, including Action for Boston Community Development, Action, Inc., and the National Consumer Law Center, that commits $10 million in funding to support low-income energy programs and services for Massachusetts low-income customers over 20 years.

As the host state for the Northern Pass project, New Hampshire will receive new property tax revenues and additional benefits to promote community betterment and economic development. The project enjoys strong support from many of New Hampshire’s business leaders, labor organizations and elected officials.

In summary, Northern Pass will help stabilize regional energy prices, provide a firm supply of clean energy, lower greenhouse gas emission, and provide hundreds of new jobs and additional economic benefits for Massachusetts residents. With approval of state and federal permits expected by the end of 2017, all major construction and supplier contracts fully executed, the Northern Pass proposal is the most advanced and comprehensive energy solution for Massachusetts.

 

Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its approximately 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and superior customerservice. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@EversourceCorp) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceEnergy).

The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will bring to New England 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower. This reliable and affordable source of power will also bring a wide range of benefits to the region, including millions of dollars in energy cost savings and a significant reduction in carbon emissions. To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us.

 


Posted on July 28th, 2017 by

Posted In: Environment, Filings, Jobs, Press Releases, Uncategorized, Updates


« Previous PageNext Page »