Over the last year, Northern Pass contractors conducted archeological field investigations along the Project’s proposed route. Archeological investigations included shovel test sampling for resources in various locations along the existing transmission corridor, and along public roads. The top-most layer, sometimes referred to as the “sod cap”, is removed, and the soil beneath is sifted to search for artifacts.
Once the investigation is completed the soil is backfilled, tamped down, and the top-most layer replaced. This work, which is nearly complete, is required for the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 process, and for the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). All findings are considered culturally sensitive and confidential.
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC) announced recently that Northern Pass has the technical, managerial and financial expertise to operate as a public utility once the project is fully permitted, and that it is in the public good for the project to do so. As a public utility, Northern Pass operations will be subject to the jurisdiction of the NHPUC once the project is in service. This is consistent with how other transmission owners operate in New Hampshire.
“This approval is another milestone for the project, which promises to deliver significant environmental, economic, and energy cost savings to New Hampshire,” said Bill Quinlan of Eversource. “We appreciate the excellent work by the NHPUC staff and Commissioners in evaluating the project, and look forward to further dialogue as the evaluation process continues.”
In addition to granting Northern Pass public utility status, the NHPUC order formalizes Northern Pass’ commitment to provide $20 million ($2 million a year for 10 years) for programs or initiatives approved by the NHPUC that advance clean energy innovation, community betterment, and economic development in New Hampshire, including energy efficiency programs. The funding for these initiatives will come from the Forward NH Fund, which will be established by Northern Pass to provide unique benefits to New Hampshire.
This approval by the NHPUC follows another key regulatory milestone for Northern Pass. In July, Northern Pass was granted an I.3.9 approval by the regional grid operator, ISO New England, which officially determined that the clean energy project can reliably interconnect with the regional electric grid. You can view the NHPUC order on Public Utility Status on the agency’s website.
Northern Pass recently completed the Technical Session review phase of the state permitting process. These informal hearings were an opportunity for the parties involved in the Northern Pass state permitting process to ask questions of the project and are part of the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee’s (SEC) ongoing review of the project.
The SEC review process will soon move on to Northern Pass’ review of testimony and information provided by experts and witnesses representing the Counsel for the Public and others. For more information about the SEC process, go to the SEC docket on Northern Pass, posted on the agency’s website. You can also find updates about the project and its permitting process on the Northern Pass Project Journal.
A joint transmission project between Eversource and National Grid is putting local companies and residents to work in the Merrimack Valley, while the launch of a lineworker certificate program at Manchester Community College is training people for future projects.
A number of New Hampshire-based companies and workers were selected to begin the first phase of construction on the Merrimack Valley Reliability Project (MVRP), a transmission project between Londonderry and Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Local companies include Triple L Trucking and Greymont Trucking of Henniker, M & R Wood Recycling of Derry, A.B. Excavating of Lancaster, U.S. Silt & Site Supply of Bow, Redimix Companies Inc. of Manchester, New England Mat Company of Winchester, and Busby Construction of Atkinson. Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 104 and other local unions will also provide workers for the project. Non-union workers will also be employed in a variety of roles.
Eversource also announced in October its partnership with Manchester Community College (MCC), the National Electrical Contractors Association, and IBEW Local Unions 104 and 1837 to offer a certification program that will help prepare the next generation of electrical lineworkers in New Hampshire. The partnership offers a limited number of candidates valuable training and the opportunity to progress into Eversource’s paid apprenticeship program.
“This new program fits perfectly into our philosophy of giving students hands-on learning opportunities which lead directly to well-paying jobs in the market,” says Susan Huard, President of Manchester Community College. “This will be an attractive new program for those looking to advance their skills, pursue a new career path with Eversource, or work toward completing a degree.”
For more information about the MCC lineworker certificate program or the Eversource apprenticeship program go to the company website.
New Hampshire resident Michael Van Natta sees a lot of upside when it comes to Northern Pass, like stabilizing energy costs, underground lines reducing potential view impacts, and funding for communities in New Hampshire.
“The benefits package that’s going to communities, if you want to support New Hampshire, you should support it,” said Van Natta. “It’s money coming in to these communities that don’t have a lot of funding.”
To hear more of what Van Natta said, go to the Northern Pass videos page.
Northern Pass experts will be in Concord on Monday to answer questions about the construction of the 192-mile transmission line and other work needed to connect the project to the regional electric grid. This includes the overhead and underground portions of the route, the converter terminal in Franklin, and upgrades to a substation in Deerfield.
The experts will appear before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee as part of its ongoing review of the project, known as Technical Sessions. These informal hearings are an opportunity for the parties involved in the Northern Pass state review process to ask questions of the project.
Experts speaking about the Northern Pass construction process include:
Experts speaking on construction will discuss a wide range of topics, including Northern Pass’ objective to provide clean, renewable, competitively-priced electricity for consumers in New Hampshire and the rest of New England. Some other key points include:
You can find additional information about construction of the project, as well as the pre-filed testimony from the above experts, on the Northern Pass website. Technical Sessions will continue throughout September. You can find a schedule for all the technical sessions here
It’s tough to do business without affordable, reliable electricity. We’ve heard more and more businesses and opinion leaders make this point, urging New England to address these energy challenges before they further harm the region’s economic competitiveness.
Across the region, there is a desire to invest in various kinds of energy infrastructure. There is now a clear consensus that new and diverse energy sources will help alleviate this critical issue – and deliver a potential host of other benefits. From jobs and tax revenue to carbon reduction and reliability, building a strong energy economy is central to maintaining a strong overall economy.
Paul Markwardt: More energy needed to power NH
New Hampshire Union Leader, 9 May 2015
“…the undeniable fact is that without a major focus on bringing more power supply to the grid, the cost of electricity – essentially, the cost of doing business – will continue to increase, harming the competitiveness of New Hampshire businesses in U.S. and global markets.”
Charles M. Arlinghaus: New Hampshire is being ruined by too many BANANAS
New Hampshire Union Leader, 5 May 2015
“Slowly but surely the dynamism that used to be our job market has turned to stagnation. Mediocre job growth means people don’t move here much, younger people can’t stay even if they want to, and too many Granite Staters have to work in Boston or some other place at the end of a horrific commute. . . And the biggest hole in our competitive armor is electricity.”
Solar installation firm to open second NH office
New Hampshire Business Review, 4 May 2015
“The new office reflects the increased competition and growth of the solar energy industry in New Hampshire. Last week, SolarCity, the nation’s largest installer of residential solar energy systems, said it would soon be opening an office in Manchester and hiring as many as 100 people.”
Transmission line upgrades would add jobs, tax revenue, study finds
Albany Times Union, 6 May 2015
“Transmission line upgrades by National Grid would add $20 million to the tax base in the Capital Region and lead to 264 new permanent jobs locally, according to a new study commissioned by the utility.”
Maine wind energy advocates unveil study touting industry’s benefits
Bangor Daily News, 5 May 2015
“Among other things, the study found carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 decreased by 490,000 tons because of wind-generated power from Maine. According to Payne, that’s the equivalent to the pollution from 94,000 Maine automobiles.”
View: Nuclear energy faces market crunch
Lower Hudson, 5 May 2015
“Nuclear energy plants in New York also employ more than 3,440 highly skilled employees with an annual payroll of $274 million. They contribute more than $55 million in state and local taxes, and are critical to the economic livelihood of communities across the state.”
NH moves up to 21st in magazine’s ‘Best & Worst States for Business’ list
New Hampshire Union Leader, 10 May 2015
“Jim Roche, president of the state’s Business and Industry Association, noted that energy costs were not a factor in the rankings. . . ‘If they were, our ranking would very likely be much worse,’ he said. ‘New England businesses and residents paid $2 billion more for electricity during the winter just ended than we did during the winter of 2011-12, a more normal winter with a balanced supply of energy to meet demand.’”
Manchester, N.H., January 29, 2014 – The Northern Pass project, a proposed transmission line carrying low-cost renewable hydroelectric power to New Hampshire and New England, announces the formation of the Coös County Jobs Creation Association. The Association held its first official meeting today at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield.
The $7.5 million Jobs Creation fund, announced last August, is aimed specifically at creating jobs in the state’s North Country. The Association is made up of Coös County business and economic development leaders who will ultimately decide how best to invest these funds for maximum job creation.
Former State Senator John Gallus of Gallus & Green Real Estate in Berlin will chair the Association. Joining him are Allen Bouthillier, owner of AB Logging in Lancaster; David Atkinson, also of AB Logging in Lancaster and former manager of the Wausau Paper Mill in Groveton; Chris Diego, managing director of the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield; and Ted Burns, co-owner of the Grand Ole Lodge in North Stratford.
“The Coös Jobs Creation Association is one more tool in our economic development tool box to build new and sustainable jobs,” said Gallus. “We owe it to our children to create a secure local future for them here in Coös County. Our young workers have had to leave home for far too long to support their families.”
The fund emphasizes job creation in the County, with a focus on supporting existing local businesses that are expanding or renovating, or helping to attract new businesses to the area. It was created after months of discussions between Northern Pass and local leaders and business people about economic development in Coös County.
“The Coös County Jobs Creation Association, with this leadership, will go a long way in helping North Country residents build a stronger economy,” said Gary Long, President – New Hampshire Renewable Energy Policy Development at Northeast Utilities. “Local control of the Association assures the funding will be used in ways that best support North Country growth by investing in initiatives that make sense for the region.”
Northern Pass is providing the Association with $200,000 in seed money to begin its work. The fund will receive $1 million at the time Northern Pass receives acceptable federal and state permits and actual construction commences, and $500,000 each year thereafter, until it has received $7.5 million total.
The Northern Pass project announced a new proposed route in the North Country last year and is in the midst of the U.S. Department of Energy’s permitting process. ISO-NE, the regional grid operator, granted the project a key approval in December 2013 and the DOE is expected to issue its draft Environmental Impact Statement later this year. A permit application will also be filed with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee to initiate the separate, state-level permitting process. Details on the project can be found at northernpass.us.
Lauren Collins, 603-634-2418, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Skelton, 603-634-3270, email@example.com
The project recently announced a $7.5 million jobs creation fund aimed specifically at increasing employment in the North Country. The announcement of the fund follows months of discussions with local leaders and business people about the economic challenges in Coös County, and how the project can bring additional value to the area that is above and beyond the construction jobs and tax benefits associated with the project.
The fund will be managed by an advisory group made up of Coös County business and economic development leaders and elected officials and will ultimately decide what jobs creation efforts will be funded, and at what amounts.
Gary Long, President of Renewable Energy Development for New Hampshire, along with Former State Senator John Gallus and Allen Bouthillier of A.B. Logging announced the creation of the fund at an event in Lancaster at A.B. Logging on August 19th.
The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce recently voiced support for the Northern Pass project, citing the creation of jobs and reduced energy costs, as significant benefits for New Hampshire’s business community, and others:
“…Reducing energy costs for all customers, substantial job creation, generating new tax revenue for state and local government, protecting our environment by reducing carbon emissions, and planning for our future energy needs are all laudable policy goals that our state is striving towards. Meeting each of these goals individually is a challenge, yet Northern Pass is a chance for New Hampshire to take a step forward on all fronts. We simply cannot afford to let an opportunity like Northern Pass slip by…
Northern Pass is how the free market is supposed to work – private enterprise working to bring superior, lower cost products to consumers. It’s time to work together to make this project a reality…”
Chamber President and CEO Robin Comstock outlined the group’s endorsement in a document that was published in the Sunday News on July 29. It is republished here with the permission of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Northern Pass project has benefits for state
By Robin Comstock
As one of the state’s largest business organizations with nearly 1,000 members, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce advocates on a variety of issues that have a significant impact on New Hampshire businesses.
One such issue that has been hotly debated as of late is the Northern Pass Project, which the Chamber believes will advance two of our organization’s strategic goals: promoting regional economic development and promoting a sound infrastructure.
Looking past all the controversy, emotion, and rhetoric surrounding this project, it is clear the Northern Pass project will greatly benefit our state’s business community.
The price of energy is commonly cited by our members and businesses across New Hampshire as a concern. Northern Pass will bring 1,200 megawatts (enough to power one million homes) of cheap, renewable energy from Canada into New England. This translates into significant energy savings for New Hampshire and the region. Indeed, Northern Pass will reduce energy costs for New Hampshire customers by $20-35 million annually.
In addition, Northern Pass will provide New Hampshire with fuel diversity at a time when New England is becoming more and more dependent on natural gas, the price of which will likely not always be so low. Diversity, which brings stability, is good for business.
On the job front, Northern Pass will create 1,200 jobs per year over a three-year construction period at a time when job creation in the state remains sluggish. Northern Pass is committed to using local New Hampshire companies and labor for this project first, giving a shot in the arm to our neighbors and the local business community. In the long term, the creation of an additional 200 New Hampshire jobs per year is anticipated as a result of reduced energy costs as businesses can afford to invest elsewhere when energy is more affordable.
These economic benefits can be realized without compromising New Hampshire’s environment, an element of the project that appeals to members of the Chamber’s Green Committee. Indeed, the cheap, renewable hydropower made possible by the Northern Pass Project will improve the environment by reducing regional carbon dioxide emissions by up to five million tons each year – the equivalent of a year’s worth of emissions from one million cars.
It should also be remembered that the construction of transmission lines to import hydroelectric and wind power from Canada is an action recommended by the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan issued in March, 2009.
Reducing energy costs for all customers, substantial job creation, generating new tax revenue for state and local government, protecting our environment by reducing carbon emissions, and planning for our future energy needs are all laudable policy goals that our state is striving towards. Meeting each of these goals individually is a challenge, yet Northern Pass is a chance for New Hampshire to take a step forward on all fronts. We simply cannot afford to let an opportunity like Northern Pass slip by.
Northern Pass is how the free market is supposed to work – private enterprise working to bring superior, lower cost products to consumers. It’s time to work together to make this project a reality.
Robin Comstock is president and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
The Northeastern Apprenticeship and Training (NEAT) Program is seeking applicants for an apprenticeship program that trains individuals for a career in the industry that builds and maintains power line systems, like the proposed Northern Pass project
The IBEW electrical workers’ union has additional information here on the NEAT program.
The Northern Pass project is expected to generate more than 1,000 jobs during its three year construction period. Here is a listing of the expected job opportunities; and, fill out this form to be updated on job opportunities.
An ongoing project in the State of Maine provides an example of the impact a transmission project can have on employment. This April news article reported that more than 2,500 people work on the project on a daily basis. Additional information about that project’s economic impact is posted here.
A significant transmission system upgrade project in the State of Maine is steadily moving forward. A recent news article in the Bangor Daily News cited a Central Maine Power (CMP) official as reporting that the $1.4 billion project is on schedule and budget.
The article includes a mention of the jobs associated with the project. CMP reports that between 2,500 – 2,700 people are working on the project on a daily basis.
The Northern Pass project also anticipates job creation. Our economic study released one year ago estimates a peak in the range of 1,330 – 1,680 jobs during the first two years of the three year construction period.
The New England Power Generator’s Association today claimed that Northern Pass has overestimated the number of jobs that will be created as part of the project.
It is not surprising that the NEPGA opposes Northern Pass, since the cleaner and more economic energy it provides into the regional power pool may displace some of their own.
This is the same group of multinational corporations that last spring tried to argue that the savings Northern Pass will deliver isn’t enough.
To argue the project on the basis of jobs is surprising, though.
Just look no further than the neighboring state of Maine.
That’s a real life example of the positive impact Northern Pass will have here … and yet the power generators study did not even take a look at that project.
Here in New Hampshire, we’ve already heard from more than 550 individuals, who are seeking information about Northern Pass job opportunities. Their experience includes heavy equipment operation; general construction; welding; real estate; trucking; fiber optic splicing; concrete; and, administration.
We expect to be working with project partners here in New Hampshire on a future job fair.
A similar event was held in Maine and was very successful in attracting local workers who are now participating in the project.
Here’s a list of the job opportunities we anticipate being available when the Northern Pass construction project begins.