Includes an improved route with additional underground line and more benefits for New Hampshire.
Today we announced significant changes to the Northern Pass project as part of a newly unveiled Forward New Hampshire Plan. This major development eliminates potential view impacts in around the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, and Franconia Notch area by burying an additional 52 miles of line – for a total of 60 miles of underground line – and eliminating more than 400 structures in this region.
These route changes and the entire Forward NH Plan are the results of conversations we’ve had with people across New Hampshire. They are part of a balanced solution that provides clean, affordable energy our region needs and unique benefits to New Hampshire while also addressing the concerns about potential view impacts.
Beyond additional burial, the Forward NH Plan will deliver more than $3 billion in direct economic benefit to New Hampshire, including 2,400 jobs during construction, $80 million annually in lower energy costs for New Hampshire – as well as additional energy costs savings from a Power Purchase Agreement for Eversource NH customers – $30 million in annual tax benefits and a more than $2 billion increase in the state’s economic activity. The project will also create a $200 million “Forward NH Fund” dedicated to supporting initiatives in tourism, economic development, community investment, and clean energy innovations, with an emphasis on North Country opportunities.
Last week, a Maine-based company called Conservation Media Group released a blatantly misleading video that uses heavily doctored images in an attempt to pressure Concord city officials into opposing the project. The video does not identify who is paying for the spot. The partners in this deceptive video are only revealed by clicking on a link and scrolling to the bottom of a separate page. These partners include the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and the Appalachian Mountain Club.
This is not the first time professional opposition groups have produced a misleading video, but it is arguably the most egregious. A number of sections of this video are inaccurate, misleading or manipulative, including shots where existing power lines were removed from the image.
Northern Pass has hired an independent firm to prepare professional view impact assessments as part of its New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee approval process. The opposition groups that produced this latest video have made no effort to meet such professional standards.
Instead, and unfortunately, opponents have taken the unethical approach of doctoring photographs and misrepresenting facts in an attempt to further mislead the public. New Hampshire and the region face tremendous challenges in the cost of electricity, lack of fuel diversity, and dwindling energy supplies. Residents and ratepayers deserve better than to have those issues distorted for political or fundraising purposes.
Here are some examples of the deceptive nature of this latest video by opposition groups:
The scene that is apparently most intended to shock viewers also happens to be the most blatantly inaccurate. At the 42-second mark, we see a string of structures pop up around a small playground.
Truth is, as seen below in an undoctored image, that playground was built directly underneath several power lines that have been there for decades and are clearly visible today. These power lines do not appear in the video because the video producers deliberately photoshopped those lines out of the shot.
At the 15-second mark, a string of transmission structures pop up from the ground. These are not the same kind of structures that will be used in Concord, nor is it clear this land is even located in Concord. A factual representation of the Concord structures has been provided to Concord by Northern Pass and is posted on the city’s website. During the same scene, “1500 Towers” appears on screen, leaving the casual observer with the impression that this is the number of structures to be built in Concord. In fact, this is a reference to the total number of structures along the entire 187 mile Northern Pass proposed route. Not the 8.1 miles in Concord.
The New Hampshire State House is shown at the 33-second mark as the video discusses possible impact to the city, however, the Northern Pass line will not be visible from the state Capitol grounds, nor from any portion of the downtown area. The closest the project will come to the State House is 2.3 miles, and that section of the project is within a commercially developed area.
At both the 28 and 30-second marks of the video, the viewer is given the impression that the Northern Pass line will be visible from the Canterbury Shaker Village and the Tilton Arch in Northfield. Neither location is in Concord, as the text implies, and neither location will have a view of the Northern Pass line.
The video also includes images of questionable origin, including at the 1:04-mark. While we cannot definitively say where this shot was taken, we do know this is not a right-of-way in New Hampshire.
Northern Pass announced on Thursday it is part of a new effort that will bring more than $4.5 million in land conservation and restoration grants to New Hampshire. Called Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife, this program is aimed at restoring and sustaining healthy forests and rivers throughout the state.
From the beginning, Northern Pass has sought to form partnerships with local communities and organizations to support efforts that strengthen New Hampshire’s economy. We believe this new partnership represents a significant commitment to build upon New Hampshire’s strengths as a place where wildlife can thrive.
Over the next two years, Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife will focus on supporting cost-effective, hands-on conservation projects around the state. Projects will be selected based on their ability to achieve long-term, measurable outcomes that meet the program’s goals. These goals include:
Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife is the result of a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and Northern Pass’ parent company, Eversource. Northern Pass has committed $3 million to the partnership. NFWF and its funding partners are committing an additional $1.5 million, boosting the total conservation impact to at least $4.5 million. Through NFWF’s efforts, there is the potential for more funding from additional partners.
NFWF has already granted funding to two early action projects. In Londonderry and Dover, NFWF has granted $200,000 for protecting and rebuilding habitat for early successional species, or those animals that thrive in young forests, like the New England cottontail and the American woodcock. Overseen by the Wildlife Management Institute, the funding for this project will go toward restoring roughly 30 acres in both communities, as well as provide educational materials about the project to Londonderry High School and Middle School through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Schoolyard Habitat program.
In addition, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc., will use a $180,000 grant toward its Eastern Brook Trout Aquatic Organism Passage project, which will reopen more than 10 miles of fish habitat in Haverhill and create 20 miles of interconnected habitat for the Eastern Brook Trout—a threatened species.
Other partners for these projects include New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the Town of Londonderry, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Trout Unlimited, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and the Town of Haverhill.
In the coming two years, NFWF will continue to solicit additional grant applications from other projects around the state. The next round of proposals will be awarded this summer.
As the state’s largest proposed clean energy project, Northern Pass is proud to be part of a partnership that seeks to protect and strengthen our state’s most treasured and unique habitats. We look forward to seeing the results of the important conservation efforts that will be fostered by this partnership.
Spring means two things in Northern New Hampshire: mud and maple. Down a long, bumpy dirt road in Pittsburg, worn rough by frost heaves, there is a newly-constructed sugar shack. It’s mid-spring and steam pours out of a metal stack in the roof. Snowmobiles are parked near a garage door, ready to skim over the slush and mud into the vast expanse of the sugar bush. The next closest neighbor is in another country—literally—a farmer across the border in Canada.
Here is where you’ll find Jules Rancourt (pictured) and his crew boiling up thousands of gallons of maple syrup—Kate & Jen’s maple syrup to be exact. Kate and Jen are Rancourt’s daughters and this is, by every account, a family business. It’s also a new phase of life for Rancourt, a friendly-faced and hardworking framer who’s ready to put down the hammer and pick up the hydrometer (though his prior craft is evident in the quirky charm of his high-tech sugar shack).
The maple business is labor and land intensive. It takes patience and a lot of land to produce enough syrup for a sugar shack to be an income source. When Rancourt did the math, he knew he needed at least 6,000 hard maple trees to clear the threshold, but the land he was eyeing had been bought by Northern Pass. His hopes were not dashed. He saw opportunity.
Within a few short weeks of contacting Northern Pass, Rancourt signed a lease that gives him access to about 3,400 hard maple trees. That brings his total tap count to well over 8,000, far above the minimum he needed to make his business a success.
This is just one way Northern Pass is working with community members to spur economic development and encourage smart use of the land. We’re pleased to help Rancourt’s burgeoning business get off the ground and wish him sweet success!
To hear Jules tell the story, please check out this video.
In the next five years, New Hampshire and the rest of New England will have some big decisions to make about the region’s energy grid. How will we stabilize natural gas prices in a region so dependent on the fuel for home heating and electricity generation? Will there be support for building clean energy projects, like wind farms or transmission lines that carry Canadian hydropower? And who will pay for these expensive infrastructure projects, investors or customers?
In this video, Northern Pass spokeswoman Lauren Collins delves into these issues and some of the possible solutions, including how Northern Pass can help. As it’s currently proposed, Northern Pass will be built at no cost to consumers. In light of recent proposals that have New England utility customers funding new energy projects, Northern Pass is a unique opportunity for New Hampshire.
“New England needs new energy sources soon, and Northern Pass’ offer of relatively green, relatively cheap Canadian hydropower is one of the best available options. It would be a mistake not to pursue it.” – Boston Globe Editorial September 15th 2013
The need to shift the region’s electricity production toward cleaner and more sustainable resources has been part of the energy conversation in New England for more than a decade. We see Northern Pass as part of the long-term plan to move toward renewable sources by importing 1,200 megawatts of low-cost, renewable hydropower. This energy, when it enters the marketplace, will be available to off-set energy generation from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, helping the region reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the region’s most prominent newspapers, the Boston Globe, pointed to Northern Pass’ environmental benefits in an editorial this weekend endorsing the project. The editors are concerned about the need for new energy sources as older fossil-fuel burning plants retire in coming decades. Like us here at Northern Pass, they see wind and solar as part of the equation, but realize it is not a reliable enough source to be the only solution.
The Boston Globe notes that “over the lifespan of the dam, hydropower adds much less CO2 to the environment than fossil fuels, and the Northern Pass project will help New England reduce its carbon footprint significantly — especially if it’s supplemented by other renewables.”
The newspaper also recognizes that New England’s growing reliance on natural gas, a dependence that the region’s power grid operator has termed its most critical challenge. “As of 2011, over half of all of the region’s current power comes from natural gas, which is relatively difficult to transport and nearly impossible to store at power plants,” the Globe says. “This situation also leaves New England dangerously susceptible to price changes.”
By adding Northern Pass’ steady stream of hydropower to the New England power mix, there will be a cleaner source of low-cost energy available to smooth out price volatility during times of peak usage when demand is up and gas supplies are tight.
New Hampshire is part of the New England energy grid, which means concerns about our energy future are also the concerns of those living in Maine, Massachusetts or Vermont. The commitment to use more renewable energy sources has been made across all six states. Northern Pass believes it can be part of the region’s shift toward renewable energy, fewer greenhouse gas emissions and a more secure energy future.
You can read the entire Boston Globe editorial here.
As the merits of the Northern Pass Transmission project are discussed, its resultant reduction in carbon emissions is often highlighted. But, the project is also expected to have a positive impact on the overall reliability of the regional power grid.
In an informational briefing with media on Thursday, October 7, ISO New England reported that the energy landscape is poised for a transformation over the next few years, and significant improvements are needed for the New England Power System to help address some emerging challenges.
Among several factors that could dramatically change New England’s power grid are the low price of natural gas and the fact that a full quarter of the region’s electricity generation capacity is tied up in aging fossil-fueled plants that may soon retire, increasing the region’s dependence on natural gas.
ISO New England reports the increased demand in the region for natural gas for both heating and electricity needs could become a problem during times for peak energy demand when pipeline capacity becomes an issue. Meanwhile, new development of wind and solar power is also a challenge for the region’s grid, since integrating it and moving the power from remote areas to population centers pose problems.
The Associated Press quotes ISO New England CEO Gordon van Welie as saying, “It’s sobering in the sense that there are a number of forces coming together that will cause a transition. The consequence is that you have to do something about that, and it requires investment in additional infrastructure.”
The Northern Pass Transmission Project will provide much needed diversity to our region – lessening our reliance on one primary energy source greatly benefiting our region.
One common misconception about The Northern Pass project is that all of the transmission structures will be 135 feet high—or taller. In fact, the anticipated height of most Northern Pass transmission structures is as follows:
Taller structures (up to 135 feet) will only be used along the route when necessary:
As a general rule, the wider a ROW, the shorter a structure that is needed.
The following photograph show what The Northern Pass transmission line is expected to look like from actual locations along the preliminary preferred route. For illustrative purposes only, based on preliminary engineering. For a larger version, please click on the image.