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)
|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|
The following press release was issued by Eversource on July 27, 2017. For relevant materials, click here.
Proposals will offer substantial environmental and economic benefits to consumers in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New England
MANCHESTER, N.H. (July 27, 2017) – Eversource and Hydro-Québec (HQ) today submitted two comprehensive proposals in response to the Massachusetts Clean Energy solicitation. Both proposals would use the Northern Pass Transmission project (NPT) to deliver significant amounts of clean energy to the New England grid, interconnecting in New Hampshire. The solicitation is the result of a law passed last year by the Massachusetts Legislature to provide for new sources of clean energy for decades into the future. The two proposals are a 100 percent hydropower option and a hydropower and onshore wind combination option, and both highlight NPT’s advanced project development and Eversource’s extensive experience in building and operating the transmission grid in the region.
“Northern Pass is the most mature and comprehensive solution to meet the region’s clean energy goals and will help provide stability over the price and supply of the energy for years to come,” said Lee Olivier, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Eversource Energy. “As New England’s largest utility, we are uniquely positioned to deliver on that promise. We are excited to begin delivering the substantial benefits of this project to consumers throughout the region.”
The Northern Pass transmission line begins at the Canadian border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and extends 192 miles to Deerfield, New Hampshire 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. NPT 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-NE.
Northern Pass will soon be a shovel-ready project with all major state and federal permits expected in 2017. Moreover, all major contractor and equipment contracts are fully executed to begin construction early in 2018. The majority of the project’s construction will take place in 2018 and 2019. A project labor agreement has been executed and is expected to generate thousands of jobs during peak construction for both Granite State and Bay State workers. Northern Pass will be substantially complete by the third quarter of 2020, and following testing, the line will be in service by the end of 2020 – prior to the critical 2020-2021 winter period.
Clean Energy Solutions
The 100 percent hydropower option included in the Northern Pass bid would deliver 1,090 megawatts of clean hydroelectric energy and the associated environmental attributes from HQ’s existing resources. A second option would combine predominantly firm hydropower from HQ with new wind generation located in Québec, provided by a partnership of wind developers, Gaz Métro and Boralex. The wind power will be backed by hydropower and includes Class I Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Both options guarantee a firm delivery of 1,090 megawatts of clean energy year round, including winter and summer days when demand for energy is greatest.
Achieving Environmental Benefits and Reducing Costs
Northern Pass will be capable of providing up to 9.4 terawatt hours of clean energy that the Massachusetts legislation requires on an annual basis while helping the Bay State attain the clean energy goals required by its Global Warming Solutions Act. The project will also reduce wholesale energy costs, diversify the region’s energy mix, and help fill the gap created by the retirement of older generating plants. Further, Northern Pass will help reduce reliance on natural gas-fired sources, particularly during the winter months when the gas pipeline system into New England is constrained.
Enabling Enhanced Economic and Community Betterment
In an effort to provide additional benefits, Northern Pass has finalized an agreement with leading Massachusetts low-income advocates, including Action for Boston Community Development, Action, Inc., and the National Consumer Law Center, that commits $10 million in funding to support low-income energy programs and services for Massachusetts low-income customers over 20 years.
As the host state for the Northern Pass project, New Hampshire will receive new property tax revenues and additional benefits to promote community betterment and economic development. The project enjoys strong support from many of New Hampshire’s business leaders, labor organizations and elected officials.
In summary, Northern Pass will help stabilize regional energy prices, provide a firm supply of clean energy, lower greenhouse gas emission, and provide hundreds of new jobs and additional economic benefits for Massachusetts residents. With approval of state and federal permits expected by the end of 2017, all major construction and supplier contracts fully executed, the Northern Pass proposal is the most advanced and comprehensive energy solution for Massachusetts.
Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and 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 its approximately 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and superior customerservice. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@EversourceCorp) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceEnergy).
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.
Below is the press release regarding the power purchase agreement between Eversource and Hydro-Québec.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (July 25, 2017) – Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) d/b/a Eversource Energy and Hydro Renewable Energy Inc. (HRE), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, have announced their intent to work to replace their existing Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an alternative agreement to provide New Hampshire customers with environmental and potential future economic benefits as part of the Northern Pass Transmission (NPT) project.
“We recognize the importance of delivering value to New Hampshire and are pleased to be cooperating with our partner on a new approach that will result in unique and significant benefits for the Granite State,” said Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource operations in New Hampshire. “PSNH remains firmly committed to pursuing opportunities to lower energy costs for our customers above and beyond the $62 million in annual energy cost savings for New Hampshire consumers.”
“Hydro-Québec is committed to working with Eversource to provide the value of Quebec hydropower environmental attributes to the state of New Hampshire, in addition to the benefits associated with the operation of the Northern Pass Project,” said Steve Demers, Vice-President – Business Development of Hydro-Québec.
In March, the NH Public Utilities Commission (PUC) dismissed the original PPA on the grounds that the agreement was not consistent with the state’s electric restructuring law. A subsequent attempt by New Hampshire lawmakers to address issues raised by the PUC has yet to advance. Importantly, the commitment associated with today’s announcement will be consistent with the PUC’s decision and comes at no cost to New Hampshire customers.
Through the commitment announced today, the parties will work toward an agreement to provide to PSNH the environmental attributes associated with an annual volume of clean energy delivered into the New England region. PSNH would be able to utilize those attributes to satisfy future clean energy requirements and direct any benefits to New Hampshire customers.
There is a clear need to lower energy costs in New England, as well as a growing demand for additional sources of clean energy as the region faces the retirement of many older generating units and the need to achieve the region’s environmental objectives. Together with the competitively-priced and abundant clean energy Northern Pass will provide, the commitment by PSNH and HRE announced today represents significant economic and environmental benefits for New Hampshire.
Eversource (NYSE: ES) is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns and 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 its approximately 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and superior customer service. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@eversourceNH) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceNH).
(May 9, 2017) – The New Hampshire House Science, Technology and Energy Committee (ST&E) voted today, 20-1, to retain SB 128, a bill aimed at clarifying the authority of the NH Public Utilities Commission (PUC) under New Hampshire’s electric restructuring law to consider opportunities by electric utilities to lower consumers’ energy costs.
Clarifying the authority of the New Hampshire PUC to assess the benefits of such measures would ensure consideration of a power purchase agreement (PPA) between Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) and Hydro-Québec (HQ). The proposed PPA would provide 100 MW of favorably priced Northern Pass power to PSNH customers for 20 years.
Importantly, the PPA is not a requirement for state siting approval of Northern Pass by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee. Rather, it was provided in response to New Hampshire stakeholders’ requests for unique clean energy benefits from Northern Pass, above and beyond those received by other New England states.
“We understand the importance of considering this proposed legislation carefully,” said Bill Quinlan, President of NH Operations at Eversource. “We are committed to continuing to work intently with the NH Legislature, the PUC, and other parties to identify solutions for delivering much-needed energy rate relief for our customers.”
“We stand by our commitment to our New Hampshire neighbors, and look forward to delivering the benefits of the PPA in the future, should such an opportunity arise” said Steve Demers, Hydro-Québec’s Vice President of Business Development.
The PPA is only one element of Northern Pass’ robust Forward NH Plan, which will provide more than $3 billion in benefits to New Hampshire. A significant component of this plan is an estimated $600 million annually in regional energy cost savings separate and apart from the PSNH-HQ PPA. These savings result by adding a new and substantial supply of reliable power to the region’s electric grid at Deerfield, NH, which results in a more competitive market and lowers wholesale energy power prices for all New England consumers. New Hampshire’s share of this reduction is projected to be more than $60 million a year.
The Forward NH Plan will also provide about $30 million annually in new tax revenues, create about 2,600 construction jobs, and provide $200 million in funding for community betterment, economic development, clean energy and tourism. Moreover, Northern Pass will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 3 million tons a year.
SB 128 will remain in the House ST&E Committee for further work and consideration this session. The Committee has until the end of 2017 to vote on the bill. SB 128 will then move to the full NH House of Representatives for a vote in January, at the start of its 2018 session.
Northern Pass is in the final stages of securing necessary state and federal permits, with decisions expected this year.
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) will hear today about the impact Northern Pass will have on system stability and reliability, as well as the ISO New England I.3.9 process as part of its ongoing review of the project.
The final hearing today will include Robert Andrew, Director of System Solutions for Eversource. Andrew has more than 35 years of experience in the electrical generation and distribution industry and is responsible for ensuring the optimal performance of Eversource’s electric transmission and distribution system. This includes developing and executing system improvements, collaborating on project designs, and participating in the ISO New England Planning Process.
In July 2016, ISO New England approved the project’s I.3.9 application, determining that the current Northern Pass proposal to deliver 1,090 megawatts of electricity can reliably interconnect with the regional electric grid and will not have a significant, adverse effect on the reliability or operating characteristics of the regional grid and its participants. All energy projects must secure this approval to be connected to the New England grid. In 2014, ISO New England approved the I.3.9 application for the project’s original 1,200 megawatt proposal.
Key points that will likely be discussed include:
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee’s final hearings on Northern Pass continue today with a look at the technical, financial and managerial capabilities of the project. Final hearings began on Thursday with a discussion about the Northern Pass route, the Forward NH Plan, benefits for New Hampshire and the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP.
Today’s hearing will include Kenneth Bowes, Eversource Vice President of Engineering, who is responsible for engineering activities for Eversource’s electric transmission and distribution system, and Michael Auseré, Certified Public Accountant and Vice President of Energy Planning and Economics for Eversource, who will speak to Northern Pass’ financial capability to construct and operate the project.
Other topics that will likely be discussed include:
New Hampshire regulators today issued an order that Eversource has made a reasonable showing that it has the right to lease the use of its existing rights of way to Northern Pass. The ruling clears the way for the N.H. Public Utilities Commission to now consider the benefits of the proposed lease agreement between Eversource and Northern Pass.
More than 80 percent of the proposed Northern Pass route is underground or within existing Eversource rights of way. Under the proposed lease agreement, more than 98 percent of the lease revenue received by Eversource will be credited to customers. The NHPUC will now begin to consider the value of the lease and determine whether it is “for the public good.”
Recent Project Milestones
Northern Pass reached another significant milestone yesterday when the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NH DOT) issued its final report to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (NH SEC) recommending approval of the project. This follows the March 1 announcement by the NH Department of Environmental Services which also recommended approval of the project. Both are essential components of the state siting process being conducted by the NH SEC, which is scheduled to render a final decision on the Northern Pass application later this year.
The approval by the NH DOT follows a series of important milestones and achievements for Northern Pass, which include:
This week, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) dismissed a Petition for Approval of a power purchase agreement (PPA) between affiliates of Eversource and Hydro-Québec that is intended to ensure New Hampshire electric customers receive benefits from the Northern Pass project above and beyond what others in New England could receive. The PPA is not a requirement of the Northern Pass state permitting process, which moves into final hearings in April; however, such an agreement was desired as one aspect of the project’s direct benefits to New Hampshire.
Many people across the state, from the top political leaders to businesses and residential customers, suggested that New Hampshire receive its fair share of the power from Northern Pass in addition to the other benefits the project will bring. The PPA would ensure just that.
The PUC said that approving the PPA would be inconsistent with NH’s existing electric utility Restructuring Act, which was enacted in 1996 with the intention of lowering electricity rates for New Hampshire residents and businesses. The New Hampshire Legislature is currently considering a bill, SB 128, which would make it clear that the PUC has the authority to consider and approve measures that would lower costs for consumers, such as the PPA. The bill would allow the PUC to consider whether the PPA is likely to provide cost saving benefits to customers. That legislation does not provide any authority to shift costs of Northern Pass onto New Hampshire ratepayers as some have suggested. To the contrary, SB 128 expressly forbids inclusion of new infrastructure costs, such as Northern Pass, into customer rates.
We continue to support the effort to provide New Hampshire customers with unique economic benefits from this project, and will work with the Legislature and the PUC as necessary to provide a mechanism for the benefits of the PPA to be used to lower customers’ electric bills in New Hampshire. With or without the PPA, the overarching benefits Northern Pass will bring to the state – including 2,600 jobs, millions in local tax revenue, and the $200 million Forward NH Fund – will be substantial.
Below is a press release issued today by Eversource and Hydro-Québec (PDF version here):
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (March 31, 2017) – In response to recent inquiries concerning the Northern Pass project, Eversource Energy and Hydro-Québec wish to reaffirm their mutual and strong commitment to the project and provide clarity about how the project will be funded.
“We are proud to partner with Hydro-Québec to deliver clean, reliable hydropower into New England,” said Jim Judge, President & CEO of Eversource Energy. “We are both committed to Northern Pass as part of the solution to New England’s energy challenges, and look forward to a successful outcome in the final stages of state and federal permitting in 2017.”
Northern Pass Transmission, Inc. (NPT), a wholly owned subsidiary of Eversource Energy, is developing the U.S. transmission project to interconnect with Hydro-Québec’s system and allow the delivery of 1,090 MW of clean hydropower into New England. NPT is responsible for financing and constructing the project, and will then recover its costs once the project is in service delivering power to the region. It is the method by which project costs will be recovered that has raised questions recently.
When the project was initiated, it was expected that NPT would recover its costs through future revenues that Hydro-Québec would receive from the delivery of energy into the New England wholesale market. More recently, however, alternative methods to pay for new transmission projects have been proposed by states seeking to procure deliveries of clean energy to meet their climate and energy diversity goals.
The next significant opportunity will occur this spring, when Massachusetts solicits proposals for large quantities of clean energy. If NPT is selected, its costs will be paid by the distribution companies that purchase Hydro-Québec’s clean energy. The Transmission Services Agreement (TSA), which was initially approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2011 and remains in effect today, will be amended and supplemented to reflect the outcome of the Massachusetts solicitation.
“Alongside Eversource, we are very much looking forward to participating in the upcoming Massachusetts request for proposals. The clean energy legislation adopted by Massachusetts recognizes the important role of hydropower in the supply mix. We already supply over 10% of New England’s electricity, but Hydro-Québec can do more to help the region meet its ambitious carbon reduction goals,” said Éric Martel, Hydro-Québec CEO.
Importantly, continued development of NPT does not depend on the outcome of any one solicitation, and Eversource and Hydro-Québec will continue to evaluate future opportunities as they arise. There is a clear and growing demand for clean energy in New England as the region faces the retirement of many older generating units and the need to achieve the region’s environmental objectives. Meeting this demand will require that additional energy infrastructure be built. To help meet this demand, Eversource Energy and Hydro-Québec stand firmly behind the Northern Pass project, and believe it will deliver significant value to the province of Québec and advance New England’s clean energy future.
The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will bring New Hampshire and the rest of New England 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower. This reliable and affordable source of power will also bring a wide range of benefits exclusively to New Hampshire, including millions of dollars in energy cost savings, additional tax revenue, and jobs during construction. To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us. You can also email questions to email@example.com or call 1-800-286-7305.
Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas for more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Eversource harnesses the commitment of its more than 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of delivering reliable energy and superior customer service. For more information,
please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@EversourceCorp) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceEnergy).
Hydro-Québec generates, transmits and distributes electricity. Its sole shareholder is the Québec government. While using mainly hydroelectric generation, it supports the development of other technologies—such as wind energy and biomass—through purchases from independent power producers. It also conducts R&D in energy-related fields, including energy efficiency. The company has four divisions: Hydro-Québec Production, Hydro-Québec Transénergie , Hydro-Québec Distribution and Hydro-Québec Équipement et services partagés and Société d’énergie de la Baie James (SEBJ), a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec. For more information, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter (@HydroQuébec).