Developer Les Otten recently testified in support of Northern Pass at the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee public information session in Coös County. In his remarks, he spoke not only about his proposed redevelopment of The Balsams Resort in Dixville and the opportunities this will bring to the North Country economy, but also about the economic and clean energy benefits that Northern Pass offers to New Hampshire. Otten is a strong supporter of renewable energy, having a wood pellet business among his portfolio of ventures. He believes the Northern Pass is a critical source of affordable, low-carbon energy that will help move our region toward our clean energy goals, while also bringing jobs and economic activity to communities along the route.
We at Northern Pass also want to see an economic revival in the North Country and believe it’s critical that The Balsams redevelopment stay on schedule. That’s why we’re pleased to advance $2 million from the Forward New Hampshire Fund to ensure that the project breaks ground this summer. The plans for The Balsams are precisely what we envisioned when we set the goals for the Forward New Hampshire Fund.
The Forward New Hampshire Fund is a cornerstone of the Forward New Hampshire Plan, announced by Northern Pass last August. The $200 million we have committed to this Fund is aimed at supporting economic development, community betterment, tourism, and clean energy initiatives in the cities and towns along the route, especially those in the North Country. There is perhaps no single effort at this time that supports these goals more than the current plans to redevelop The Balsams and return it to a world class destination resort. Like Northern Pass, The Balsams redevelopment has the opportunity to be transformative for the North Country, bringing jobs, economic development and injecting a much needed boost into the area’s tourism industry.
The Northern Pass has already supported several key initiatives aimed at supporting New Hampshire communities and the environment, including the Coos County Job Creation Association, the Morse Mountain cell tower, and the Partners for New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife. Northern Pass and The Balsams both present significant opportunities for Coös County, the state, and beyond. We’re pleased to support the redevelopment of this North Country showpiece.
Across New Hampshire, we have spoken to many people who like the substantial benefits Northern Pass offers and who support our efforts to bring clean, affordable hydropower into the region. We appreciate this support and wanted to thank those who have added their voice to the growing consensus that we need to invest in our energy infrastructure and move closer toward a cleaner, more affordable energy future. Here are just a few of the supportive words we’ve heard from people around the state:
“The electrical power plants are shutting down, getting old, and our electric bills are skyrocketing. We need something new. We need to get the power. … My neighbors are all like, ‘My energy bill is so high. I’m paying so much for electric.’ I’m like, ‘Well then, we need to do Northern Pass. Otherwise, they’re just going to keep going up.’” – Cheryl Ulm of Laconia
“The power coming through Northern Pass is clean power, generated from water turbines in Canada. This is exactly the kind of clean, sustainable energy strategy we’ve identified as a priority for New Hampshire.” – State Senator Lou D’Allesandro
“The ‘Forward NH’ Plan proposes to balance the energy deficit in New England by delivering clean, renewable, hydroelectric power to New Hampshire and the region while addressing environmental impact concerns. Equally important, the project promises to provide unmistakably clear benefits to New Hampshire by bringing low-cost electricity directly to the state’s residents and businesses, creating hundreds of jobs, and providing millions in tax revenue to local communities.” – Paul Markwardt, VP and Deputy GM of Nashua-based BAE Systems
“Berlin represents a third of the county’s residents and even though the line will not be going through Berlin, don’t forget a lot of those laborers and a lot of those electricians and apprentice candidates will come from the Berlin/Gorham area. The recreational opportunities – many of those folks will come from the Berlin/Gorham area. I don’t downplay the fact that in my community, it’s going to have a pretty significant positive effect. It’s really going to make the glass a lot more than half full.” – Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier
We’ve also received support from a number of the state’s newspapers, particularly for our efforts in addressing concerns about potential view impact and providing substantial benefits unique to New Hampshire. Here is what these newspapers have been saying:
“Northern Pass, Seacoast Reliability Project and the divestiture of power plants are all now progressing because Eversource has listened to stakeholders, respected their testimony and changed the projects to address their concerns. Getting these projects built in a manner that provides wide economic benefits while protecting property values and scenic beauty is vital for New Hampshire and New England, because our energy costs, already high, will increase again this winter and in successive winters until the region increases its electrical capacity.” – Foster’s Daily Democrat and Portsmouth Herald
“Environmentalists who say they favor “green power” such as hydro should warm to a plan that eliminates above-ground lines in the national forest. North Country residents and small businesses should embrace a plan with substantial immediate and long-term benefits. Businesses large and small throughout New Hampshire are already hailing a plan that provides some relief from high electricity costs. Northern Pass and Eversource have made the compromise they needed to make. It is time for on-the-fence politicians and understandably skeptical North Country partisans to do likewise.” – New Hampshire Union Leader
“To ensure reliability and guarantee that the region’s remaining coal plants run as little as possible, we support the Northern Pass project, which does less to exacerbate climate change than fossil fuel options.” – Concord Monitor
A question asked via email focused on the formation of the entity that is “Northern Pass.” Here’s an explanation:
Northern Pass Transmission LLC is a New Hampshire limited liability company that is jointly owned by NU Transmission Ventures, Inc. (75%), and NSTAR Transmission Ventures, Inc. (25%). NU Transmission Ventures, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Northeast Utilities. NSTAR Transmission Ventures, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of NSTAR. NU Transmission Ventures, Inc. has named Mr. James A. Muntz and Mr. Gary A. Long as its representatives on the Members Committee (the equivalent of a board of directors). NSTAR Transmission Ventures, Inc. has named Mr. Paul D. Vaitkus and Mr. Geoffrey O. Lubbock as its representatives on the Members Committee. The Members Committee has named the following as officers of Northern Pass:
James A. Muntz, President;
David R. McHale, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer;
Gregory B. Butler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel;
Randy A. Shoop, Vice President and Treasurer;
Jay S. Buth, Vice President-Accounting and Controller;
Samuel K. Lee, Secretary;
Susan B. Weber, Assistant Treasurer-Finance;
O. Kay Comendul, Assistant Secretary.
This is the first in a series of posts that will introduce some of the people who are working on The Northern Pass transmission project.
Community Relations Specialist
What is your role in The Northern Pass project?
I am the Community Relations Specialist focusing on the North Country. In the near term I will be teaming up with our real estate agents and working with the landowners impacted by the proposed transmission line in the North Country. In the long term, I expect to cultivate and maintain relationships in the North Country to provide information about the project, address community issues, and answer questions.
How is this project different than others you’ve worked on?
My background is in the management of pulp and paper mills and economic development. I’ve also worked on the full design and permitting for a pellet manufacturing facility. I have worked very closely with communities and State officials on many projects. Being a Community Relations Specialist allows me to draw from my experience over the last 35 years, especially the 20 years I’ve lived and worked in Northern New Hampshire.
Why do you support this project?
As our economy continues to struggle, this project provides an immediate boost for jobs over three years. Being a major part of the pulp and paper mills in Northern New Hampshire has given me a strong appreciation for what the North Country has gone through. This project is also a major step to contribute to addressing global warming.