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

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Posted on July 24th, 2017 by

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. Breaking this down into different categories, it will mean in the first year:

  • Approximately $21 million to $26 million for municipal and local education property taxes;
  • Approximately $4 million for county taxes; and
  • Approximately $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.

Franklin City Manager Elizabeth Dragon said in her pre-filed testimony for the NH Site Evaluation Committee proceedings that the revenue from Northern Pass – between $3.2 million and $7 million – “will have a transformational effect on the City of Franklin.”

“In a community where one out of every two children is living at or below the poverty level, this is huge,” said Dragon. “Revenue from the taxes paid by Northern Pass Transmission will benefit the public by, amongst other things, allowing the city to better fund its schools and maintain its roads.”

Dragon went on to say that the city has been forced to convert some paved roads to dirt to save money, hindering economic development. By adding a substantial source of tax revenue, Franklin can begin to address these challenges, she said.

Here is the range of tax benefits for some other communities along the route.

Allenstown:  $443,056 – $848,069

Bethlehem: $842,557 – $1.5 million

Concord: $639,908 – $982,958

Deerfield: $1.7 million – $2.7 million

Northumberland: $435,791 – $793,113

Plymouth:  $716,431 – $1 million

Woodstock: $1 million – $1.9 million

To learn more about the infrastructure investment Northern Pass will be making in your community and the tax payments that will result, go to www.northernpass.us/towns.htm.


Posted on July 24th, 2017 by

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Posted on July 18th, 2017 by

No Evidence of Negative Impact on Regional Travel Demand

Tourism is an important part of New Hampshire’s economy, representing about 10 percent of the jobs in the state. A study conducted by Nichols Tourism Group and submitted to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee as part of the Northern Pass application, shows that there are a number of issues that influence a visitor’s decision on where they will travel, but there is very little evidence to show that the location of transmission lines is one.

Using 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, the Nichols report concludes that tourists consider a range of factors when deciding where to travel, such as how easy it is to access the destination, the range of activities available, offering new or improved attractions, marketing, weather, and the overall value for the money.

There is a lack of empirical evidence that transmission lines influence tourism, as no known studies of transmission line development shows a quantifiable impact on the tourism industry. The Nichols Tourism Group said 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.

A Look at a Project in Maine

Neighboring Maine provides strong evidence that supports the conclusions in the Nichols Report. The Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP) is a $1.4 billion project constructed between 2010 and 2015 that included power line and substation upgrades in 75 communities, including popular southern coastal towns, Western Maine foothills, and quaint Down East communities. According to the Maine Office of Tourism, the state set tourism records in 2015 and in 2016, with a 10 percent increase in tourism spending over the two years.

Data collected from 2015 show that one of the largest growth areas was in outdoor recreation, particularly travel packages that include outdoor activities like hiking, boating and winter sports. The increase in tourism was statewide, with data from 2016 showing revenue increased in every county in the state. The rise was not limited to years of and after completion on MPRP. Tourism spending has been on the rise in Maine since 2012, which was during construction, and the number of tourism-related businesses grew in years 2008 to 2013, including years when the project was in development.

Maine travel experts attribute the increase in visitors and tourism spending to good weather, low gas prices, helping destinations develop better experiences for visitors, and a national marketing campaign. This conclusion is in line with the conclusions reached by the Nichols Tourism Group on what motivates visitation and drives tourism revenue.

Tourism Industry and Tourists Agree

Who better to ask about the decisions that influence their travel than the people most likely to visit New Hampshire?

A survey of active travelers from the seven Northeast states showed the majority were seeking good value for their money, a range of things to do, and convenience, like good cell service and being close to home. While the survey points to possible barriers, the research showed that when a place has much to offer, the collective power of the destination far outweighs concerns regarding power lines.

Nichols also spoke with members of New Hampshire’s tourism industry about the factors that influence business performance. They included weather, the economy, gas prices, exchange rates for Canadian visitors, and changing interests of the younger generation. No one said that past large infrastructure projects had been a significant factor influencing the state’s travel industry, the Nichols’ report found.

You can find the story about Maine’s record-setting tourism years below.

2016: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/03/27/maine-hospitality-industry-finished-2016-at-record-3-6-billion/

2015: http://www.pressherald.com/2016/03/22/tourism-spending-in-2015-topped-5-6-billion/

Nichols Tourism Group Study

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


Posted on July 18th, 2017 by

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Posted on July 11th, 2017 by

Northern Pass proponents recently voiced their support for the project during two public comment sessions in Concord, hosted by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). The next public comment session held by the SEC will be on Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 5-8 p.m.  Your voice matters in this process and we appreciate all who have spoken publicly or have sent a written comment.  If you would like to submit a written comment to the SEC, send it to:

New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee

Pamela G. Monroe, Administrator

21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10

Concord, NH 03301

Phone: 603-271-2435 Fax: 603-271-3878

Email: Pamela.Monroe@nh.gov

Here are some examples of statements the SEC heard during the recent public comment sessions:

Steven Binette, owner of Ray’s Electric and GC, Inc. of Berlin, NH:

“Over the last decade, we’ve seen a large decline in commercial and industrial electrical projects and we’ve had to expand into general contracting and excavation. Northern Pass and the Eversource president have reached out to local contractors to keep us updated on this project so we can work on a project this area so desperately needs.”

Meredith Briggs, Deerfield resident:

“I am confident Deerfield will benefit from this project. I believe it will create jobs. I do believe it will create tax revenue. If we work together, we can arrive at a solution we can all live with.

John Dumais, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Grocers Association:

“Our position has always been to encourage any responsible means to lower electricity costs. The only plausible relief in the near future is Northern Pass.” 

Tracy Hatch, Nashua Chamber of Commerce:

“On behalf of 600 plus members of the Chamber, I am here to express strong support for the Northern Pass project.  The Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce is made up of large and small businesses…Despite all the surface differences, they all have one common concern: the cost and stable supply of energy…Our economy and our businesses need reliable stable energy.”

Mike Skelton, President of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce:

“Our support is rooted in the belief of the need to lower the cost of energy in New England and the impact it has on the economy. There is no perfect source of energy. Whether it’s a power plant and transmission line or a solar installation – they all have benefits and they all include potential impacts. The key question is do the benefits ultimately outweigh the potential impacts? Our view after many years is that Northern Pass, the way it has evolved, the answer is yes.”

Anastasia Park, Lee, NH:

I am an iron worker by trade and I am a journeyman and what I am very tired of doing is traveling to Massachusetts for work. In the four years I’ve been working as an iron worker, I’ve had two jobs in this beautiful state. It kills me. We are losing business to the high cost of electricity in this state. People don’t want to build here because they can’t afford to stay here.  The construction jobs are the backbone of the economy. When we build (Northern Pass) here we can spend our money back here.”

Mark Bailey, Director of Facilities for BAE Systems:

“BAE Systems, and all of New Hampshire businesses, need low-cost, reliable energy in the state to remain competitive in a global marketplace. The Northern Pass Project provides clean, renewable hydroelectric power needed to improve our region’s energy deficit, and it does so while addressing environmental impact concerns. This is why BAE Systems stands with a group of roughly 50 New Hampshire businesses in support of the New Hampshire — the Northern Pass.”

Tad Dziemian, Owner of Neighborhood Energy of New England

“I am here today to fully, without any question, and convicted with passion, that I support the Northern Pass, because I get firsthand feedback, primarily of complaints from my clients, regarding the high cost of electricity. Shamefully, our region holds the dubious distinction of having each state in the top ten of our wonderful nation in terms of having the highest cost of energy.”

 


Posted on July 11th, 2017 by

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Posted on June 29th, 2017 by

USFish and Wildlife_kbb

Karner blue butterfly (photo: USFWS)

Permitting Update

New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) hearings on Northern Pass resumed in June, focusing on a wide range of issues related to the project. The SEC also heard comments from the public during two half-days of public hearings, offering residents and business owners another chance to let state officials know their thoughts on the project.

Construction

The construction panel resumed on May 31 with testimony about the efforts Northern Pass has made to reach out to communities and businesses along the route to address their concerns, such as traffic management and emergency vehicle access. The construction panel concluded on June 2.

Economic Benefits and Cleaner Air

Julia Frayer, a Managing Director with London Economics, spoke about the benefits Northern Pass is expected to bring to New Hampshire and the region, including 2,600 jobs in New Hampshire at the peak of construction, lowering energy costs in New Hampshire by $62 million annually, and increasing New Hampshire’s gross domestic product (GDP) by $2.2 billion through 2030.

Frayer also spoke about the project’s environmental benefits, particularly the reduction in air pollution and carbon emissions. Hydropower from Northern Pass will help reduce the region’s reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels, which will in turn lower CO2 emissions by an estimated 3.2 million metric tons.

Environmental Panel

A panel of five environmental experts spoke about their area of study along the Northern Pass route. Topics covered included the project’s efforts to reduce and mitigate impacts to wetlands, streams, vernal pools, wildlife, and other natural and cultural resources along the route, as well as the efforts Northern Pass made to work with state and federal agencies on these environmental issues.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR NORTHERN PASS

  • Final hearings will continue throughout the summer, including discussions on historic sites, tourism and property taxes.
  • The NH Public Utilities Commission approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and lands on June 20.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy expects to release the 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 Mitigation Plan Expands on Important Habitat

Northern Pass has worked with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, 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. One such site is a 7-acre parcel in Concord that will protect a portion of the Soucook River shoreline and establish additional protected habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

This species can be found in the Upper Midwest and Northeast in sandy scrubland such as pine barrens and oak savannahs. The Karner blue butterfly is New Hampshire’s state butterfly, but the only place it is known to live in the state is the pine barrens near the Concord airport. The parcel Northern Pass has allocated for conservation is adjacent to an existing 28-acre conservation easement specifically dedicated to establishing Karner blue butterfly habitat, and will help expand the efforts already underway to preserve this species.

For more information on the Karner blue butterfly conservation easement in Concord and the efforts to protect this species, go to www.wildlife.state.nh.us/merrimack/karnerblue.html.

 

WORKING WITH COMMUNITIES ALONG THE ROUTE

Northern Pass reached out to the cities and towns along the proposed route earlier this year to discuss concerns they might have regarding the construction of the project. Northern Pass will begin construction of the overhead and underground portions of the line soon after all state and federal approvals have been obtained, including from the SEC.

Some concerns that have already been raised by communities include the project’s hours of operation during construction, impact to traffic and the condition of local roads, as well as maintaining emergency vehicle access. Northern Pass has agreed to work with cities and towns to address their individual concerns, from avoiding work during special town events to taking care to restore roads to their original condition or better.

From these discussions, Northern Pass has executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with two communities — Franklin and Lancaster — and is currently in talks with a number of other communities about designing their own MOUs. The project hopes to continue discussions as the permitting phase moves forward and to learn more about the needs and concerns of each community along the route.

 

LOOKING NEXT DOOR: WHAT A PROJECT IN MAINE CAN TELL US ABOUT NORTHERN PASS

The SEC’s review of the Northern Pass includes discussions about the jobs the project will bring to the state. Northern Pass conducted a study that shows 2,600 jobs will be created and we have pledged to hire New Hampshire workers first whenever possible. There will also be a wider economic boost from the project, from workers buying gas and food from businesses along the route to the project relying on local suppliers to provide some of the materials for the project.

To see how a transmission line project can positively impact the local economy, the Maine

Power Reliability Program (MPRP), completed in 2015, is a good example. The $1.4 billion project included power line and substation upgrades in 75 communities, and represents a host of economic benefits.

A wide variety of local businesses benefited from MPRP, beyond those that directly supplied the project. Convenience stores, gas stations, motor inns and hotels, and diners and restaurants saw an increase in business as well. Similarly in New Hampshire, Northern Pass has already hired New Hampshire companies and workers during the permitting stages, will continue to create jobs during construction, and will provide millions of dollars in revenue to local communities along the route.

MPRP also shed some light on how the tourism industry reacts to transmission line projects. According to the Maine Office of Tourism, revenue from tourism has increased in that state every year since 2012, both during and after the construction of MPRP. In fact, Maine set a tourism record in 2015 and again in 2016, with increases in restaurant and lodging revenue seen both on the coast and inland.

You can find the story about Maine’s record-setting tourism in 2015 and 2016.

MAINE POWER RELIABILITY PROGRAM (MPRP)

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

  • More than 3,300 workers on the project
  • Of the 391 suppliers, contractors and subcontractors, 269 are headquartered or have offices in Maine

The project was also expected to:

  • Increase the Maine Gross Domestic Product by $284 million
  • Provide $242 million in wages and salaries
  • Generate $25 million in income and sales tax revenue for the State
  • Generate $25 million per year in new

Posted on June 29th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on June 14th, 2017 by

Karner blue butterfly habitat will be expanded in Concord through the Northern Pass environmental mitigation package.

Karner blue butterfly habitat will be expanded in Concord through the Northern Pass environmental mitigation package (photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service)

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.

Enhancing Conservation

Northern Pass has worked with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, New Hampshire 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 which are valued for having numerous wetlands, floodplains, streams, vernal pools, or are connected to other conservation lands.

Included in the 1,627 acres of conservation land is a 7-acre parcel in Concord that will be used to establish additional protected habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Although it is New Hampshire’s state butterfly, the only place where Karner blue butterflies are known to live in the state is the Pine Barrens near the Concord airport. The Northern Pass parcel is located adjacent to an existing 28-acre conservation easement specifically dedicated to establishing Karner blue butterfly habitat, and will help expand the efforts already underway to preserve this species.

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 nine 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 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.

Supporting NH’s Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund

As part of its wetlands permitting package, Northern Pass will also make a $3 million payment to NH’s Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund (ARM) to cover impacts in the towns and watersheds outside of the communities where the Northern Pass conservation lands will be located.

The ARM Fund is managed by DES, which allocates grants to support projects that restore, enhance and preserve aquatic resources and upland buffers. Since 2007, the ARM Fund has been used to restore a variety of wetland habitats, conserve more than 12,000 acres of land, restore 100 acres of wetland, and improve more than 45 miles of streams.

 


Posted on June 14th, 2017 by

Posted In: Environment, SEC


Posted on June 14th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will hear from a panel of five experts this week covering a wide range of topics related to Northern Pass and the environment.

Members of the panel include Robert Varney, president of Normandeau Associates and former commissioner of the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES); Jake Tinus, project manager in the Environmental Studies and Permitting Global Practice for Burns & McDonnell Engineering, who has assessed the potential impact of Northern Pass on surface water and groundwater quality; Lee Carbonneau, senior principal scientist in the Wetlands/Terrestrial Group and assistant project manager for Normandeau Associates, who also serves as the permitting lead for Northern Pass; Dennis McGee, vice president at Normandeau Associates and senior consultant on special projects, who conducted analysis on the potential impacts Northern Pass could have on rare plants and rare or unusual natural communities; and Dr. Sarah Barnum, senior wildlife ecologist at Normandeau Associates and the author of the report Northern Pass Transmission Project Wildlife Report and Impact Assessment October 2015.

Topics that are likely to be discussed include:

  • Northern Pass will improve air quality, public health and the environment, and help address climate change by reducing pollutants such as NOx, SO2, and CO2 emissions that affect New Hampshire and the New England region, consistent with national, regional, and state air quality and climate change goals
  • More than 83 percent of the proposed route will be along existing transmission corridors or will be buried under public roadways, resulting in reduced potential environmental and visual effects
  • Northern Pass has planned, routed, designed, and engineered the project to protect water quality by carefully avoiding resource impacts, and minimizing impacts where total avoidance is not possible. The project will follow NHDES and EPA requirements regarding water quality, and employ best management practices
  • Avoidance and minimization of impacts to wetlands, streams, vernal pools, and other natural and cultural resources was an essential element of route selection, project design, and developing the construction management plan
  • Northern Pass has been focused on avoiding and minimizing potential impacts to wildlife throughout the course of route selection, siting, and design. The project has developed extensive wildlife impact avoidance and minimization measures and will comply with any additional permit conditions. These conditions will be included in the project plans and construction management plans, and environmental monitors will be responsible for ensuring that construction contractors abide by these measures and conditions
  • Unavoidable impacts to habitat resources will be mitigated through habitat restoration, conservation, and protection, including proposing to place parcels with wildlife habitat value under conservation easements, and other methods detailed in a mitigation plan submitted to the NHDES
  • Northern Pass has dedicated 1627 acres of approved land for wetland mitigation – exceeding the state and federal requirements for wetlands mitigation the project must meet
  • Northern Pass further supports conservation efforts through a $3 million grant to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which has issued grants to groups that are working to restore wildlife habitat and fish passage in NH

Posted on June 14th, 2017 by

Posted In: Environment, SEC


Posted on June 8th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee resumed discussions about the project today, focusing on the economic benefits of Northern Pass to New Hampshire and the effect it will have on the region’s carbon emissions.

Julia Frayer, a managing director with London Economics, will discuss her research on the potential impact Northern Pass will have on the wholesale electricity market, the environment, and the local economy. Frayer specializes in economic analysis and market design issues related to energy infrastructure, such as electric generation facilities, natural gas-related infrastructure, and electricity transmission and distribution systems. She has consulted for a number of regulatory agencies across North America, including Connecticut’s Department of Public Utility Control and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Some key points likely to be discussed today include:

  • Wholesale electricity market benefits resulting from Northern Pass are estimated to average roughly $600 million annually for New England and $62 million annually for New Hampshire over the study timeframe of 2019 through 2029
  • Northern Pass will result in approximately 3.2 million metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions per year in New England
  • Northern Pass will create 2,600 jobs in New Hampshire during construction
  • Northern Pass will create a significant increase in New Hampshire’s Gross Domestic Product, estimated to be $2.2 billion over the Project’s construction period and in the first 10 years of operation
  • New England electricity prices are among the highest in the nation
  • According to regional grid operator ISO New England, securing enough fuel to keep natural gas-fired power plants running during the coldest days of winter has been a challenge. While nuclear, coal, and oil generators can supply energy when natural gas plants are unavailable to run due to fuel shortages, this has resulted in increased greenhouse gas emissions. In the coming years, some older power plants will retire and more natural gas-fired plants will come online, exacerbating the over-reliance on natural gas and potentially causing severe price volatility and reliability issues.

Posted on June 8th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC


Posted on May 30th, 2017 by

Don’t’ miss your final chance to comment on Northern Pass! Tomorrow, May 31 is the deadline to sign up for one of the public comment sessions the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) is holding as part of its review of Northern Pass. These are the last public hearings the SEC will have about Northern Pass and your final opportunity to tell state officials your thoughts on the project.

The public hearings will be held on June 15, June 22 and July 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., at 49 Donovan Street in Concord. People have the option of submitting a public comment or providing oral comment at the session.

The SEC is requiring people who wish to provide an oral comment to pre-register to ensure the proceedings run efficiently and smoothly. If you would like to present an oral statement, please send an email no later than May 31 to Marissa Schuetz, Program Specialist at marissa.schuetz@sec.nh.gov. Please include the following information in your email:

  • Your name, email address and the city or town where you live
  • Your position on the proposed project (support, oppose, no position)
  • Your first second and third choice dates to appear to make your statement
  • Whether you require any special accommodations or if you have any particular requests or limitations regarding the schedule

The SEC will post a schedule of speakers on its website (www.nhsec.nh.gov/projects/2015-06/2015-06.htm) in advance of the first public statement hearing date. People who sign up to comment are asked to review the roster to see which day they are scheduled to speak. If there is time remaining on any of these public comment days, members of the public that did not pre-register will be provided time to speak after those that did pre-register.

We encourage those who are interested in submitting a comment to do so, either in person during one of the public comment sessions, or in writing. You can submit your written comment today by sending it to:

Pamela.Monroe@nh.gov 

or by mail to:

New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee
Pamela G. Monroe, Administrator
21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10
Concord, NH 03301-2429


Posted on May 30th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC


Posted on May 1st, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will hear from a panel of six experts this week about details relating to the construction of Northern Pass.

The final hearings, which began in April, will continue May 1-4 with Kenneth Bowes, Eversource Vice President of Engineering who is responsible for engineering activities for Eversource’s electric transmission and distribution system. The Construction Panel will also include Samuel Johnson, lead Project Manager for the Northern Pass Transmission project; Derrick Bradstreet, Project Manager for Burns & McDonnell Engineering and the lead design engineer for the project; Nathan Scott, Senior Transmission Engineer for Burns & McDonnell Engineering and the underground project manager and lead engineer responsible for the electrical design of the three underground segments of the Northern Pass HVDC transmission line; John Kayser, Project Manager in the Transmission and Distribution division at Burns & McDonnell Engineering; and Lynn Farrington, a licensed Professional Traffic Operations Engineer for Louis Berger of Portland, Maine, who is advising Northern Pass on traffic impacts that may occur temporarily during construction.

Key points that will likely be discussed will include:

  • The project’s objective is to provide clean, renewable, competitively-priced electricity for consumers in New Hampshire and the rest of New England
  • The project will be constructed in areas where Northern Pass will have obtained the necessary regulatory approval for use of public highways, state lands and waters, lease of PSNH ROWs, or has otherwise already secured the right to use land pursuant to leases with private landowners
  • The construction of Northern Pass will be managed and constructed by several specialty contractors who were selected through a bid process based on years of experience in managing and constructing high-voltage transmission lines and substation facilities throughout New England and the United States
  • Northern Pass and Eversource have a project labor agreement (PLA) with its contractors, which outlines their firm commitment to hiring local, New Hampshire workers first and to developing strong working relationships with both large and small contractors who are either union or non-union
  • Construction of the line and all facilities will be done in accordance with the best practices outlined by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (www.nerc.com), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), and other state and federal agencies
  • Construction of the project will occur at more than one location simultaneously and will include locations where it will be necessary to cross or work adjacent to rivers, highways, railroads, gas pipelines or other utilities. Each of these locations will be planned and coordinated with the appropriate agencies and in compliance with applicable permits, plans, specifications, codes and regulations. The work will be planned and performed by qualified contractors using appropriate procedures, equipment and personnel with the necessary technical expertise
  • Northern Pass will provide field inspectors responsible for auditing the various construction contractors who will report directly to the Project Manager of Construction, as is typical with projects of this size
  • The project has made it a priority to reach out to key stakeholders, public officials, business leaders, municipal officials, the general public, businesses and landowners along the route to discuss the project’s status, explain the permitting and construction processes, and to solicit constructive feedback on the route and other project initiatives through a variety of means. All interactions are captured in the project database and forwarded onto project team members as necessary
  • Northern Pass is dedicated to working with local communities, businesses, and the public during construction and restoration phases to explain the status and progress of the project and to resolve landowner and municipal issues if they occur
  • The design of the overhead portion of the Northern Pass line follows the height and clearance requirements of National Electrical Safety Code (NESC), which sets forth the minimum requirements for transmission lines in the United States
  • Northern Pass has created Traffic Control Plans that have been reviewed by NHDOT. The Project will work with NHDOT and local officials to implement the plans safely and communicate with the public about potential interruptions due to construction, as well as plans to manage and mitigate these effects. The project will also submit a Traffic Management Plan prior to construction and work with NHDOT and local officials to implement the plans, once approved, and communicate with the public about potential interruptions

Posted on May 1st, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


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