Posted on November 13th, 2017 by

Northern Pass Reaches Agreement to Lease Rights-of-Way

$15 million in clean energy benefits to New Hampshire customers

The Staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC), the New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA), Eversource, and Northern Pass have reached a settlement that will enable Northern Pass to lease transmission rights-of-way from Eversource. The agreement, now pending final approval by the NHPUC, will provide significant customer benefits and complete the last of several NHPUC approvals needed for Northern Pass to proceed.

“We appreciate the effort and collaboration the PUC staff and the OCA put into this settlement, which will provide significant benefits to New Hampshire customers and will also move this important clean energy project forward,” said Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan. “Based on the terms of the agreement, New Hampshire residents will have greater access to clean energy technologies of the future.”

Under the proposed agreement, which the parties agreed is in the public interest, Northern Pass will make annual lease payments to Eversource, which will be used to off-set Eversource’s transmission costs. Additionally, Northern Pass has committed to making annual payments, which will total $15 million over the lifetime of the project. The funds will be under the control and direction of the NHPUC for “programs, projects or other purposes that provide benefits to New Hampshire distribution customers.” These programs may include investments in distributed generation, energy storage, electric vehicles, demand response and other initiatives.

The settlement agreement follows an order in April from the PUC stating Eversource has shown that it has the right to lease the use of its existing rights-of-way to Northern Pass. Hearings on the project are continuing before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), with a decision on NPT’s application for a Certificate of Site and Facility expected from the SEC in early 2018.

 

Northern Pass Concludes Its Case-In-Chief Before the SEC

The final witnesses for Northern Pass completed testimony before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) on October 2, 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

 

What’s Next for Northern Pass

The Counsel for the Public and intervenors will continue presenting witnesses before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC).

The SEC is expected to issue a decision on Northern Pass in early 2018.

The U.S. Forest Service is expected to issue its final Record of Decision later this year. In September, the Forest Service issued a draft Record of Decision recommending a special use permit to bury transmission lines along existing roads in the White Mountain National Forest.

The Dept. of Energy is expected to issue its Record of Decision and Presidential Permit this year.

Northern Pass representatives continue to meet with business owners along the route to discuss any concerns regarding the construction process.

Partners for NH's Fish and Wildlife Grant Award Ceremony, October 3, 2017

Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife Grant Award Ceremony, October 3, 2017

National Fish and Wildlife Grantees Announced at UNH Manchester Event

For the third consecutive year, Eversource’s and Northern Pass’ continued partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is helping environmental grant recipients to restore and preserve New Hampshire’s and New England’s forest and wildlife habitats. On October 3 at the University of New Hampshire Manchester campus, Eversource New Hampshire Operations President Bill Quinlan joined NFWF leaders in awarding four grants totaling nearly $400,000 funded through the Eversource-NFWF “Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife.”

NFWF works with a variety of stakeholders — private landowners, government agencies, academic institutions and conservation groups — to cultivate science-based conservation strategies and cost-effective on-the-ground projects.

“Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife is a proven example of the good that can happen when businesses and nonprofits link arms, and is in perfect step with Eversource’s commitment to environmental sustainability.” — Bill Quinlan

The 2017 Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife grant recipients are:

Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Inc. — this project will document how Bicknell’s thrush uses young forest habitat in managed commercial forest stands in Coös County and Maine. The project will use the data collected to revise and update the existing best management practices in timber forests.

University of New Hampshire — this project will develop forest management practices to benefit priority forest birds, including wood thrush and the black-throated blue warbler. The project will enable 82 landowners in the upper Androscoggin and Saco River watersheds to implement the appropriate management practices to improve the care of 1,500 acres of early successional and late successional habitat.

University of New Hampshire — for the first time, this project will document how New England cottontail and other young-forest-dependent species respond to planned early successional forest habitat management activities in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine. The project will result in the development of a landscape scale model to predict future abundance on 28,800 acres of restored habitat.

Belknap Conservation District — this project will restore instream habitat structure that will create pools and spawning habitat for Eastern brook trout on Poorfarm Brook in the Gunstock Recreation Area. The project will restore two miles of historic habitat to be used as a demonstration of the effectiveness of the technique.


Posted on November 13th, 2017 by

Posted In: newsletter, Permitting, Updates

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Posted on February 1st, 2017 by

The coming year will bring two major decisions regarding the Northern Pass project. The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will hold adjudicative hearings in the spring and is expected to make a final decision on the project in mid to late summer. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to release its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this year, as well. With these major milestones ahead, the project will continue discussions with landowners, residents and businesses along the route to keep them aware of developments as the permitting process moves towards completion.

site-visit1

SEC HEARINGS TO BEGIN IN APRIL
Adjudicative hearings are the last step in the SEC approval process. During these formal legal hearings, which are similar to those you might find in a court of law, information will be presented by Northern Pass and project experts to the SEC, including data on benefits, construction procedures, environmental impact and other aspects of the project. Witnesses for the Counsel for the Public and interveners will also provide testimony at this stage.
At the conclusion of the adjudicative hearings, the SEC will decide whether to grant the project a Certificate of Site and Facility, taking into consideration the testimony received and comments from the public.

FINAL EIS EXPECTED FROM DOE
The DOE is expected to issue its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Northern Pass sometime in 2017. The final EIS is based on information in the draft EIS issued in July 2015 and feedback the agency received on the draft as supplemented in November 2015.
The final EIS is a public document that reflects extensive analysis and research conducted by the DOE, and includes a detailed summary of possible environmental impacts of the project along the proposed route and an analysis of a number of alternative routes. This analysis is required prior to issuing the Presidential Permit that will allow the transmission of electricity across the U.S.- Canadian border.

A GROWING NEED
Gordon van Welie, the head of the regional grid operating system, ISO New England, recently highlighted the changing nature of our electric grid. Because of the retirement of older power plants, the region’s growing reliance on natural gas for generating electricity, and the lack of pipeline capacity to get natural gas to generators during cold winter days, van Welie warns of “the unavoidable conclusion” that New England needs more energy infrastructure to ensure a reliable system.
“Until large transmission lines are built to reach hydro and wind resources, and unless additional fuel infrastructure is added to meet the ever-increasing demand for natural gas to heat homes and businesses and to generate the power that lights those homes and businesses, we see a future with challenges that may require the ISO to employ suboptimal solutions,” van Welie said. Those “suboptimal solutions” include higher prices for consumers and an increase in carbon emissions.
High electricity costs are another issue elected officials seek to tackle in 2017. Incoming New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu urged policymakers to look at all energy solutions, including adding new sources of power.
“Whatever we do we’re focusing on, how is this going to drop rates for consumers, for individuals, for businesses? That has to be our primary focus, and then we’ll have tangible results,” Sununu said, according to the Portsmouth Herald. “This is an all-the-above whether we’re talking about the Northern Pass, bringing in more natural gas, a better renewable energy portfolio for the state, it’s all about efficiency.”

Northern Pass sees 2017 as an opportunity to take an important step forward in the region’s efforts to lower costs, ensure reliability and move toward a cleaner energy future.

 

2016: A YEAR OF PROGRESS
Last year was a landmark year for Northern Pass, during which the project reached a number of milestones that will be key in the effort to gain final approval in 2017. Some of the highlights include:
• ISO New England officially determined in July that Northern Pass can reliably interconnect with the regional electric grid. By approving the project’s I.3.9 application, ISO New England determined Northern Pass will not have a significant, adverse effect on the reliability or operating characteristics of the regional grid and its participants.
• The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decided in October that Northern Pass has the technical, managerial and financial expertise to operate as a public utility, and that it is in the public good for the project to do so. Northern Pass also committed to provide $20 million ($2 million a year for 10 years) for programs or initiatives approved by the PUC that advance clean energy innovation, community betterment, and economic development in New Hampshire, including energy efficiency programs.
• Eversource and Hydro-Québec reached a significant agreement that ensures Eversource customers in New Hampshire will receive a substantial supply of clean energy from the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project. In addition to the hundreds of million dollars to electric customers throughout New Hampshire and New England, the power purchase agreement, or PPA, will reduce price volatility for Eversource customers.
• Northern Pass announced in April the major contractors and material suppliers who will participate in the construction of the Northern Pass transmission line once the project receives its state and federal permits. Northern Pass contractors also conducted field work along the proposed route, including soil boring tests to log soil characteristics, as well as shovel test sampling for historical artifacts, as required under the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 process and by the SEC.

 

A NORTHERN PASS VIDEO

Mike Collins

Mike Collins is a North Country resident who supports Northern Pass because of the jobs it will bring to New Hampshire. “This amount of work close to home and the amount of jobs it will create in general, I think it’s great.” To hear more of what Collins said, go to www.northernpass.us/multimedia.

 

STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NORTHERN PASS
We have a number of ways for you to stay informed on the latest Northern Pass developments as the project moves through the permitting process. In addition to mailing this monthly newsletter to all landowners along the route and other stakeholders, we have a comprehensive website (www.northernpass.us) that includes detailed maps, view simulations, information about project benefits, environmental information and details about the project in each community along the route. Our website also includes the Northern Pass “Project Update” blog, where we post project and energy news updates regularly.
Northern Pass is committed to staying engaged with those interested in the project. We regularly post news, links, videos, and other energy information on social media, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As always, you can reach out to our hotline via email or phone.
Project Journal: http://blog.northernpass.us/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenorthernpass/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheNorthernPass
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/NorthernPassUS
Email: info@northernpass.us
Phone: 1-800-286-7305


Posted on February 1st, 2017 by

Posted In: newsletter


Posted on December 29th, 2016 by

Northern Pass Field Work Highlights: GEOTECHNICAL

drilling-geotech

Throughout 2016, Northern Pass and its contractors conducted engineering, or geotechnical, field investigations along the underground portions of the proposed project route. Geotechnical work is a required step in the permitting process to support the progression of a project’s design. Geotechnical field investigations began in several locations following the completion of a thorough survey of the underground route and the acquisition of required permits.

Work was located in the shoulder, or just off the shoulder, of the roadways of Route 3, Route 112, Route 116, Route 18, and Route 302 and involved a series of drilled holes three inches in diameter, located approximately every 1,000 feet. Holes varied in depth from 15 feet to 65 feet, and core samples were taken at various intervals to document sub-surface conditions. After each hole was complete, they were returned to pre-work conditions in compliance with state permitting requirements. The same process was used at each proposed transition station, converter terminal, and at the Deerfield Substation.

While work was occurring, crews utilized project flaggers and, where necessary, police officers to ensure traffic moved smoothly and safely past project work zones.

Northern Pass Submits Designs and Traffic Control Plans to State

As part of our ongoing permitting process, Northern Pass recently submitted an advanced design to the NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT) for the portions of the project that will be buried under or adjacent to the roadway in the northern section of the proposed route. The design includes a traffic control plan for the underground construction phase of the project to ensure all local traffic will have access to residences and businesses, and that the safety of workers and the traveling public is considered.

Northern Pass is committed to working together with the host communities to minimize potential impact and traveler delay. We have contacted town officials and landowners along the underground route about the traffic control plan and will continue to communicate with them. The project will hold meetings with local officials, business owners, residents and other stakeholders before construction work begins to go over the construction process and expected timeline. Northern Pass will also have a team on the ground to work one-one-one with people along the underground route to individually address the specific needs of each business and resident.

The advanced design and traffic control plan will be reviewed by the NH DOT as part of the permitting process and we anticipate it will be posted on the agency’s website.

NH Manufacturers Warn of the Impact of High Energy Costs

This holiday season, chances are you’ll find some Lindt & Sprungli in your stocking or at your neighbor’s Christmas party. The Swiss chocolate company has a strong New Hampshire connection, operating a plant in Stratham which employs around 1,500 people. But future growth in the state is threatened. The facility pays more than $5 million a year for electricity, a cost the company expects to rise by another half-million in 2017.

“The concerning part for us is that we are at this point, the company is not willing to grow any more in New Hampshire,” said Robert Michalski, vice president of operations at Lindt & Sprungli in a New Hampshire Union Leader article. “The only way that we’re going to be able to grow in New Hampshire further is by finding ways to reduce our energy, our energy costs in this state.”

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

The Union Leader reported there were a number of manufacturing leaders who shared the same concern at the recent NH Business and Industry Association’s 2016 energy symposium in Manchester, including Jeff Chierepko, Sig Sauer’s director of facilities. Sig Sauer employs 1,400 in New Hampshire but opted to build a new 70,000-square-foot plant in Arkansas for its most recent expansion. Arkansas’ energy costs, which are roughly half of that in New Hampshire, were cited as a reason for the decision.

“Our first option was in New Hampshire, but if you look at energy costs and all the other things I mentioned, there’s not even a starting point there,” said Chierepko. “We were pursued by a lot of different states and a lot of them happen to be where energy costs are half. We’d like them all to be in New Hampshire,” he said. “Our energy costs are through the roof.”

The retirement of power plants and New England’s constrained natural gas pipelines during winter months are contributing to high prices. Increasing the supply of diverse sources of new energy to the grid with projects like Northern Pass will help lower energy costs not just for these manufacturers, but for the people who live in New Hampshire as well.

Doing Something about Rates

giunta2

Franklin City Councilor Tony Giunta says he had heard from constituents about the need to do something about New Hampshire’s high energy prices. When businesses can get lower rates in other states, it puts local businesses at a disadvantage, he said. “What I’m saying is, I’m worried,” said Giunta.
He believes lowering costs is important to keeping local businesses here in New Hampshire and can be done through new energy projects like Northern Pass. To hear more of what Giunta said, go to
www.northernpass.us/multimedia.


Posted on December 29th, 2016 by

Posted In: Environment, Filings, ISO New England, Jobs, newsletter


Posted on July 8th, 2013 by

A new issue of the Northern Pass Landowner Newsletter was distributed recently. This issue features an overview of our improved route, which was developed over the past two years in response to public feedback.

From the newsletter…

Over the past two years, the Northern Pass project team has been meeting with residents and officials to answer questions and listen to feedback about our proposed route for the 187-mile-long transmission line. Based on what we heard, we went back to the drawing board to design a route that responds to concerns about potential view impacts and property rights. We are now pleased to announce a new and better route.

Landowner Newsletter – July 2013


Posted on July 8th, 2013 by

Posted In: Collateral, newsletter, Updates

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Posted on December 5th, 2012 by

The sixth issue of the Northern Pass Landowner Newsletter was distributed recently. This issue features an article on the project’s improved tower design for the White Mountain National Forest.


Posted on December 5th, 2012 by

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Posted on August 13th, 2012 by

The fifth issue of the Northern Pass Landowner Newsletter is being distributed this week.

This issue features an interview with a farmer from Bath, NH who has lived and worked near a high voltage transmission line for his entire life.

August 2012 Landowner Newsletter


Posted on August 13th, 2012 by

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Posted on June 19th, 2012 by

June 2012 Landowner Newsletter

Landowner Newsletter - Issue 4.

The fourth issue of The Northern Pass Landowner Newsletter was distributed the week of June 11th.

The newsletter is focused on data collection and an explanation of Direct Current.

 


Posted on June 19th, 2012 by

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Posted on April 2nd, 2012 by

NPT Landowner Newsletter March 2012

Landowner Newsletter - March 2012

The third issue of The Northern Pass – Landowner Newsletter was distributed to property owners on or about March 30.
The issue focuses on the role of transmission and the unique and important habitat that transmission corridors provide.

 


Posted on April 2nd, 2012 by

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Posted on January 31st, 2012 by

Landowner Newsletter Jan 2012

The second issue of the Northern Pass Landowner Newsletter is now available.

The edition focuses on the status of the project; as well as view shed and property value impact.

 


Posted on January 31st, 2012 by

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Posted on November 23rd, 2011 by

We recently mailed this newsletter to landowners along the project’s proposed route.

We’ll continue to post future issues of this bi-monthly publication here.

 


Posted on November 23rd, 2011 by

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