Posted on April 27th, 2018 by

Committee asked to give full consideration to proposed solution

Northern Pass officials today asked the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee to reconsider its denial of the project’s application. In its motion filed today, the project emphasized the SEC’s responsibility to thoroughly evaluate the comprehensive solution proposed by Northern Pass and discharge the committee’s legal obligation to consider all criteria by which an application is to be measured. The SEC is expected to deliberate on the project’s motion on May 24.

“We have presented to the SEC a solution that fully addresses the issues they pointed to in their order denying the permit,” said Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan. “The solution is a comprehensive set of commitments and conditions, many of which were proposed by Counsel for the Public, that can be imposed to address the SEC’s concerns.”

The SEC on February 1 abruptly ended deliberations on Northern Pass’ application after two-and-a-half days, with no consideration of conditions that were proposed by the project and others, and having voted on just two of the four required statutory criteria.

Key Commitments

In its original SEC application, Northern Pass contemplated the need to further economic development, tourism, community investment and clean energy innovation, and these are the four focus areas for its $200 million Forward NH Fund. Key commitments highlighted by the project include the following specific allocations from the Fund:

  • $25 million to address property value impacts in affected communities
  • $25 million for promoting tourism and recreation in the affected areas
  • $25 million for economic development in host communities to address local impacts

In addition, the proposed commitments include:

  • Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in the downtown areas of both Plymouth and Franconia to reduce construction impacts to businesses and residents
  • Energy cost benefits for business and low-income customers from the sale of clean energy attributes (up to $300 million)
  • Transmission upgrades in the North Country to promote existing (400MW) and new small-scale renewable generation ($50 million)
  • Dedicated funding for the North Country Job Creation Fund to support economic development and job growth ($7.5 million)
  • Public interest program funding to advance energy efficiency programs for customers ($20 million)
  • Right-of-way lease benefits that will lower customers’ transmission costs and advance distributed generation, energy storage and electric vehicle initiatives ($30 million)
  • The unallocated balance of the $200 million in the Forward NH Fund is available to the SEC for further conditions ($100M)

NP_SEC_Key_Conditions_Chart

Click chart to enlarge

Northern Pass has received the following approvals:

State Approvals

  • NH Department of Environmental Services
    • Wetland final decision
    • Shoreland Protection final decision
    • Alteration of Terrain final decision
    • Section 401 Water Quality certificate
  • NH Department of Transportation
  • NH PUC Authorization to Commence Business as a Public Utility
  • NH PUC Authorization to Cross Public Lands and Waters
  • NH PUC Approval of PSNH Lease

Federal Approvals

  • DOE Final Environmental Impact Statement
  • DOE Record of Decision
  • Presidential Permit
  • U.S. Forest Service Final Record of Decision

Canadian Approvals

  • Québec Provincial Permit
  • Canadian National Energy Board

Three Approvals Remain

  • NH Site Evaluation Committee – Certificate of Site and Facility
  • U.S. Forest Service Special Use Permit (draft issued; final permit expected soon)
  • U.S. Army Corps Section 404 Permit (expected following issuance of SEC permit)

The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will bring to New England 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower.  This reliable and affordable source of power will also bring a wide range of benefits to the region, including millions of dollars in energy cost savings and a significant reduction in carbon emissions.  To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us. 

Eversource (NYSE: ES) is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns, and also supplies water to approximately 9,300 homes and businesses in Hampton, North Hampton and Rye. Eversource is proud to be recognized as the top contributor to United Way in New Hampshire. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of about 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@eversourceNH) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceNH). For more information on our water services, visit www.aquarionwater.com.

CONTACT:

Martin Murray

603-634-2228

martin.murray@eversource.com

Kaitlyn Woods

603-634-2418

kaitlyn.woods@eversource.com


Posted on April 27th, 2018 by

Posted In: Filings, SEC, Updates

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Posted on March 12th, 2018 by

The N.H. Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) today voted to suspend its oral decision. Our statement is below.

We understand the SEC’s decision to suspend its February 1st oral decision, pending issuance of a written order.

We hope it is an indication that the SEC will evaluate the required statutory criteria, as well as thoroughly consider all of the conditions that could provide the basis for granting approval.  At a time when the region needs new and diverse sources of clean energy, it is vitally important that projects like Northern Pass are considered fully and efficiently and without unnecessary delay. 

Northern Pass is the most advanced clean energy project in the region, having received all major permits from the U.S. and Canadian federal governments after years of rigorous review, as well as approvals from all state permitting agencies other than the SEC (e.g., DOT, DES, DHR, PUC).   It is well-positioned to help New Hampshire and New England address critical energy needs and clean energy goals.

 


Posted on March 12th, 2018 by

Posted In: Permitting, SEC, Updates


Posted on January 19th, 2018 by

Northern Pass today filed its final brief with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee. This is a significant step that will lead into the deliberative sessions beginning on January 30. The Executive Summary of this brief highlights our position that Northern Pass satisfies the four statutory criteria necessary for issuance of a Certificate of Site and Facility.

View the Executive Summary here.

View the Northern Pass Final Brief here.


Posted on January 19th, 2018 by

Posted In: Filings, SEC


Posted on November 2nd, 2017 by

$15 million in clean energy benefits to New Hampshire customers

MANCHESTER, N.H. (November 2, 2017) – The Staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC), the New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA), Eversource, and Northern Pass Transmission LLC (NPT) 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 NPT to proceed.  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.

“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, NPT 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 PUC 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.

In addition to the $15 million in funding for New Hampshire customers included in this agreement, Northern Pass will provide the state with millions annually in additional tax revenue to communities along the route; $7.5 million to the North Country Job Creation Fund to develop and retain jobs in the North Country; thousands of acres set aside for conservation, recreation and mixed-use; reduced CO2 emissions and energy costs; and the $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment, and tourism.

The proposed Northern Pass transmission line will begin at the Canadian border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and run to Deerfield where it connects to the New England grid. More than 80 percent of the line will be located along existing transmission corridors or buried along roadways to eliminate potential view impacts in the White Mountain National Forest area. Northern Pass will provide a robust, new interconnection path between the Québec and New England electric systems, and will be controlled by the regional system operator, ISO-New England.


Posted on November 2nd, 2017 by

Posted In: Filings, Permitting, SEC, Uncategorized

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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

http://www.northernpass.us/assets/filings/Volume%20II/NHSEC%20Docket%20No%202015-06%20Pre-Filed%20Testimony.pdf


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

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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

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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

REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

  • 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

MEETING THE REGION’S ENERGY NEEDS

  • 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

ECONOMIC BOOST FOR N.H.

  • 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, www.northernpass.us/document-library.htm.


Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

Posted In: Jobs, SEC, Updates

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