Posted on October 5th, 2017 by

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

The SEC also heard from members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) last week, who testified about the job opportunities available for New Hampshire workers, as well as Allen Bouthillier, Lancaster business owner and member of the Coös County Business and Employers Group, who spoke about the economic opportunities Northern Pass will bring to the North Country.

The Counsel for the Public and intervenors are set to begin presenting their witness testimony later this week.

Other Recent Project Milestones include:

  • The U.S. Forest Service has released its Draft Record of Decision (ROD) recommending that the agency issue a special use permit allowing Northern Pass Transmission to bury approximately eleven miles of transmission lines in areas along existing roads through the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF).
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass, concluding that the proposed route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts
  • Eversource, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Quanta Services, Inc., and ABB Inc. finalized a comprehensive Project Labor Agreement
  • The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NH PUC) has approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and public lands
  • The NH PUC determined that Eversource has the legal authority to lease its existing rights-of-way to Northern Pass
  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation issued its final report to the NH SEC saying it will issue a permit for the project
  • The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) issued four key approvals of the project, pertaining to the Wetland, Shoreland and Alteration of Terrain permits, and the 401 Water Quality Certificate.  The approvals are essential components of the state siting process being conducted by the NH SEC and, per DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application

Posted on October 5th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates

Posted on September 18th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) today began hearing testimony from President of Normandeau Associates and former New England Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Robert Varney about his review of Northern Pass and how it relates to the orderly development of New Hampshire. Below is more information about Varney and a summary of his findings, provided in his pre-filed testimony submitted to the SEC.

ROBERT VARNEY is the President of Normandeau Associates, an environmental science consulting firm based in Bedford, where he began in 2009 as Executive Vice President. He served nearly eight years as Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, New England; as the Executive Director of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission; as senior planner at the Lakes Region Planning Commission; as the Commissioner of the NH Department of Environmental Services from 1989 to 2001; and as Chairman of the NH Site Evaluation Committee for that same 12-year period. In addition, Mr. Varney has worked on initiatives associated with climate change, energy efficiency and renewable energy, integration of energy and environmental programs, and restoration of rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. He will speak on the impact the Northern Pass Transmission Project will have on air quality and the project’s consistency with the goals of state, regional, and national air quality and climate change policies.

Key Points:

  • By using transmission corridors and existing roadways for 83 percent of the route and locating substantial portions of the project underground, Northern Pass is following sound planning and environmental principles that reinforces local patterns of development and minimizes environmental impacts
  • Of the 32 miles of new right-of-way (ROW) along the 192-mile route, 24 are in a working forest and forest management within this area will continue uninterrupted after construction
  • The 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
  • Northern Pass will help reduce NOx and SO2 emissions, which contribute to the regional haze problem and to acid rain. This will improve visibility in the region’s parks and wilderness areas, as well as help improve the health of New Hampshire’s lakes, ponds and forests
  • The project will not interfere with the orderly development of the region and any potential effect on land use is minimal. The project’s impact on the local economy and jobs is positive

For More Information:

Northern Pass’ application to the NH Site Evaluation Committee; Vol. II; Pre-Filed Testimony; Varney

Posted on September 18th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Uncategorized

Posted on September 13th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) issued an order yesterday outlining procedures for the rest of the Northern Pass hearing schedule that could affect the date of the final decision.  We appreciate the SEC’s efforts to ensure the remainder of the hearings are not, as they state, “bogged down by unnecessary and inefficient friendly cross-examination.”  The SEC further concludes that it would be “unreasonable” to accept the amount of time requested by interveners.  We are encouraged that the SEC is taking steps to ensure efficiency for the balance of the proceedings and remain hopeful that the process will be complete earlier than the recently announced March deadline.

Excerpts from the procedural order:

  • “At the third prehearing conference, the intervenors indicated a desire to conduct cross-examination for 235 hours–the equivalent of 39 additional hearing days. The intervenors’ estimates suggest that there is an intention to engage in improper friendly cross-examination.”
  • “Something must be done, however, to ensure that the proceedings are not bogged down by unnecessary and inefficient friendly cross-examination.”
  • “In some types of matters, friendly cross-examination is used to repeat points made in prefiled testimony or to provide a witness the opportunity to testify about matters not addressed in the prefiled direct testimony. In this case, however, both tactics are unnecessary to ensure a full and true disclosure of facts.”
  • “…it is unreasonable to accept the estimates provided by the intervenors for friendly cross-examination of the witnesses for a number of other parties.”
  • “…the presiding officer may limit ‘irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious cross-examination or cross-examination that is not required for a full and true disclosure of the facts.’”
  • “…the hours of the day may be extended in the Chair’s discretion.”

Posted on September 13th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC

Posted on September 11th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will today hear from Terry DeWan and Jessica Kimball of  Terrence J. DeWan & Associates, a landscape architecture and planning firm located in Yarmouth, Maine. Both conducted research and compiled data that was submitted as part of the Northern Pass’ state application, including view simulations along the proposed route. Northern Pass has made the photo simulations of the proposed route available on its website.

Key Points:

  • A visual impact assessment, or VIA, is a systematic analysis of possible changes to the visible landscape resulting from proposed development activity, and the investigation of possible means to avoid, minimize or mitigate the effects of the change
  • The methodology follows a systematic path of inventory, analysis, and determination of effect. It is based upon established criteria developed by federal and state agencies over the past several decades, and is similar to previous work done with regards to transmission lines and other VIA projects
  • Scenic resources are defined as publicly accessible places that have been recognized by local, regional, state, or national authorities for their scenic or recreation quality and are visited by the general public, in part for the use, observation, enjoyment, and appreciation of natural, cultural, or visual qualities. All scenic resources that were identified within the Northern Pass Project Study Area were mapped and added to a database for further evaluation
  • Of the 525 scenic resources identified within three miles of the proposed route, none had overall visual impacts that were characterized as ‘high’, based on the observations and methodology used
  • A significant number of mitigation measures have been incorporated into the planning and design of Northern Pass including:
    • Locating portions of the Project underground to avoid sensitive scenic resources, such as the White Mountain National Forest
    • Using existing road rights-of-way (ROW) for most of the underground sections to minimize the need for new cleared transmission corridors
    • Co-locating the majority of the transmission line in existing transmission corridors to minimize the amount of new corridors
    • Using weathering steel monopole structures in certain areas results in a decrease in color contrasts with the surrounding landscape because they are generally darker in color and have a hue that is more commonly found in the landscape. Monopole structures also have a thinner profile and a simpler appearance than lattice structures
    • Locating new transmission structures in proximity to existing structures in certain locations to maintain the same spacing and avoid irregular linear patterns that can be caused by adjacent conductors being out of synch with each other
    • Matching the materials used for both the relocated 115 kV structures and the proposed transmission structures to minimize contrasts in color and texture and contribute to a sense of visual continuity within the corridor
    • Relocating existing transmission and distribution lines within the existing corridors to provide adequate clearance for the proposed structures and minimize the amount of clearing necessary for their installation
  • Northern Pass as a whole will not be a dominant feature in the landscape. The views from most of the scenic resources already contain evidence of existing human development, often prominently visible from the key observation points
  • Northern Pass will not result in unreasonable adverse effects on aesthetics, to either the six subareas that were identified or to the approximately 900 square-mile Project Study Area as a whole


Posted on September 11th, 2017 by

Posted In: Permitting, SEC


Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

The NH Site Evaluation Committee today voted to extend the deadline for their final written decision on Northern Pass by six months, to March 31, 2018.

Northern Pass is disappointed in today’s decision considering this review process was already extended by nine months, from what was originally a 12-month process under recently enacted NH law.

We’re encouraged by the SEC’s willingness to pursue options for concluding the review in advance of the new deadline.

We remain confident in our ability to achieve a 2020 in-service date.  Further, we are convinced that we have submitted the most mature project into the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP and we continue to believe that we will be in a position to start construction in the second quarter of 2018.

Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC


Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Site Tour Clearing

N.H. Site Evaluation Committee members, Counsel for the Public, interveners and Northern Pass representatives toured the project route this summer.

Northern Pass Achieves Key Permitting Milestone

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Northern Pass on August 10, concluding the project’s proposed route is the “preferred alternative.” The final EIS also stated that Northern Pass provides substantial environmental and economic benefits for New Hampshire and the region and will result in only minimal impacts. Required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the FEIS is the result of years of review of project environmental impacts and reflects the careful consideration of thousands of comments submitted by key stakeholders and the public.

Northern Pass is now awaiting the issuance of its federal permits, including DOE’s Presidential Permit, a Special Use Permit from the U.S. Forest Service, and the Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Northern Pass has already received the final permitting decisions from New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services, Public Utilities Commissions and Department of Transportation, and continued with final hearings before the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee in August.

Conclusions from the Final Environmental Impact Statement


  • The “total average scenic impact” of Northern Pass is considered “low” to “very low”
  • There will be no “population-level effects to any protected species” due to Northern Pass
  • Northern Pass poses no health risks associated with EMFs
  • There are no authoritative studies that demonstrate impacts on tourism from transmission lines. Tourism is affected more by factors such as the national economy and the price of gasoline
  • Noise levels associated with Northern Pass during operation will be well below EPA guidance levels


  • New England will see an annual reduction of CO2 emissions by 9 percent, or 2.5 million metric tons
  • Northern Pass will diversify New England’s electricity supply, reducing reliance on natural gas
  • Low-carbon hydropower from Northern Pass is a non-intermittent source of energy that can help meet public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions


  • Northern Pass will create 6,747 jobs in New Hampshire during construction, as well as 901 permanent jobs
  • During construction, Northern Pass will generate more than $734 million of additional economic output within New Hampshire
  • New Hampshire will see an increase of $37 million in annual statewide property tax collections once Northern Pass is built

OTHER BENEFITS FOR N.H. In addition to the benefits highlighted in the FEIS, Northern Pass will provide — and in some cases has already provided — significant investment in on-the-ground conservation and economic development programs.

  • $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment and tourism
  • $7.5 million to the North Country Job Creation Fund to develop and retain jobs in the North Country
  • 5,000 acres set aside for conservation, recreation and mixed-use
  • $3 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Fund for its Partner’s for NH’s Fish and Wildlife initiative supporting conservation and restoration of key state habitats and species

What’s Next for Northern Pass

  • Final hearings continue before the SEC in September, including testimony on aesthetics and orderly development
  • Northern Pass expects to finish presenting its testimony before the SEC by mid-September
  • The Counsel for the Public and intervenors will have an opportunity beginning in September to present witness testimony
  • The DOE is expected to issue a Presidential Permit for Northern Pass sometime this fall

Site Tour Weeks

Site Tours Along North Country, Underground Route

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) recently toured a number of sites along the proposed Northern Pass routes. The visits, held on July 27 and 28, included stops in Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Dummer, Stark, Lancaster, Bethlehem, Franconia, Easton and Woodstock.

The locations of these stops were proposed by Counsel for the Public in a request that the SEC consider viewing portions of the proposed underground burial route as well as proposed additional above-ground sites in northern New Hampshire.

The July visits were in addition to four days of site visits held in March 2016 that included stops in Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Colebrook, Stark, Lancaster, Whitefield, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Bristol, Franklin, Canterbury, Concord, Pembroke, Allenstown and Deerfield.

Northern Pass Reaffirms Commitment to Hiring Local Workers First

Northern Pass has long been committed to hiring New Hampshire workers first for the construction of Northern Pass. Eversource, Northern Pass’ parent company, recently reaffirmed that commitment with a project labor agreement. On August 7, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced a finalized agreement that covers both union workers and non-union workers and businesses, including workers needed for the construction of access roads, logging and clearing, trucking and other key construction-related activities.

The announcement is positive news for New Hampshire’s electrical workers as Northern Pass now presents an opportunity for them to work on a project in their home state, closer to their family and friends.

Tiler Eaton of the IBEW said, “Given the size of this project and the number of trained electrical workers needed, we anticipate this project will not only fully utilize all available New Hampshire members, but will also provide work for hundreds of our members from Massachusetts.” You can read the announcement on the Northern Pass website in our Document Library,

Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Posted In: Jobs, SEC, Updates


Posted on August 29th, 2017 by

The N.H. Site Evaluation Committee will hear testimony today from historical and archeological experts who conducted research about the route for Northern Pass. Below you will find information about these experts and information about their work.

CHERILYN WIDELL is principal of Widell Preservation Services in Chestertown, Maryland, and has worked in the field of historic preservation throughout the United States and internationally for 40 years. She was appointed by the Governor of California to serve as State Historic Preservation Officer with oversight of all aspects of historic resource protection throughout California. Ms. Widell also served as the federal preservation officer for the Presidio Trust—the federal agency responsible for the conversion of the Presidio of San Francisco from an Army post to a National Park—where she was responsible for agency compliance with federal regulations for more than 450 historic buildings and the archeological resources. Ms. Widell conducted assessments of the potential effects that the Northern Pass project may have on above-ground historic properties and cultural landscapes in New Hampshire.

VICTORIA BUNKER is the owner and principal investigator at Victoria Bunker, Inc., archeological consultants in Alton, NH. She has more than 35 years of experience in New England archeology, and is listed as qualified to conduct archeological surveys in New Hampshire by the NH Division of Historical Resources. In her career, Dr. Bunker has completed 750 projects relative to Section 106 compliance at Phase I, II and III level of study, and has conducted regional research surveys in the Lamprey, Merrimack, Pemigewasset and Mad River Valleys and throughout the White Mountain National Forest. She has authored numerous publications on New England archaeology and served the New Hampshire Archeological Society as President Emeritus, on the Board of Directors, and as past editor. Dr. Bunker conducted archaeological assessments for Northern Pass.

Key Points:

  • The project will have no unreasonable adverse effect on historic resources
  • The experts’ assessments have been used in the planning process by project engineers to help avoid and minimize the impact to historic resources
  • Ms. Widell assessed the project’s potential effect on historic resources, working closely with Preservation Company of Kensington, NH, mapping and cataloguing more than 1,300 properties, historic districts and cultural landscapes within the project’s Area of Potential Effect
  • More than 200 of those properties were then subject to more intense analysis because they met the National Register of Historic Places age and integrity eligibility criteria and are potentially in view of the project. Of these properties, the project experts have concluded that   might be adversely effected by the project, mostly indirectly
  • The project will not create an adverse effect in the setting of a National Historic Landmark, the Webster Farm and Daniel Webster Family Home. Although the project will have an adverse indirect visual effect on the Weeks Estate, that will not cause it to be removed from the National Register of Historic Places because of a loss of integrity.
  • Victoria Bunker, Inc. has assessed the entire project route to identify archeologically sensitive areas and archeological sites. Ms. Bunker has concluded that the project has substantially avoided impact to archeological resources, and that there will be no unreasonable adverse effect to such resources.
  • To address any impact, Northern Pass will undertake all mitigation measures as required by the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in consultation with NH Department of Historical Resources (NHDHR) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, as part of the Section 106 process.

Facts at a Glance:

The review of the potential impact of the Northern Pass project on historic and archeological resources is required under the state’s energy project siting laws, and also by the U.S. DOE under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

For More Information:

Northern Pass’ Application to the NH Site Evaluation Committee; Vol. II; Pre-Filed Testimony; Widell

Pre-filed Testimony; Bunker

Posted on August 29th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC


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)


Public Information Session – Coos Additional


5/19/2016 Mountain View Grand Whitefield Coos
Public Information Session – Grafton Additional


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

Tags: ,

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

Posted on July 24th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC

Tags: ,

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.



Nichols Tourism Group Study

Posted on July 18th, 2017 by

Posted In: Links, SEC


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