Posted on November 20th, 2017 by

People from around New Hampshire are voicing their support of Northern Pass. Whether from the business community, the North Country, the labor community or elected officials, supporters tout the benefits Northern Pass will bring to New Hampshire.

N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu

“Today, New Hampshire is one step closer to lowering energy rates across the Granite State. After years of careful review, the Department of Energy has approved the Presidential Permit for the Northern Pass Transmission Line project, which will deliver 1,100MW of clean, renewable energy to New Hampshire: a home-run for small businesses, rate-payers, and clean energy advocates. Shovel-ready projects like Northern Pass stand ready to deliver the clean, baseload electricity that Massachusetts should be actively pursuing in their Clean Energy RFP.”

Tony Giunta

Mayor-elect, City of Franklin, NH

“Issuance of the Presidential Permit for the Northern Pass project is great news for the City of Franklin and other municipalities that will directly benefit from the millions of new dollars being invested in our communities.  We greatly appreciate the thoroughness and speed at which the U.S. Department of Energy acted on this critical renewable energy project.”

Guy Montminy

Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager, BAE Systems Electronic Systems, Nashua, NH

“News that the Northern Pass project is now one step closer to providing clean, renewable, reliable, low-cost power to New Hampshire and New England is encouraging.  BAE Systems saw its energy costs in New Hampshire grow by 24 percent per kilowatt hour from 2014 to 2016.  If these cost increases continue, they threaten New Hampshire’s economic growth.  There is no dispute that the best way to definitively lower electricity costs is to bring more reliable, affordable electricity into the New England power market.  The clean, renewable power Northern Pass will bring to the region will help address these cost increases while appropriately protecting environmental resources.  The state Site Evaluation Committee should follow the lead of federal regulators and approve this project without any further delays.”

Brian Murphy

Business Manager of IBEW Local 104 of Barrington, NH

“The issuance of the federal Record of Decision and Presidential Permit by the U.S. Department of Energy represents a major milestone for the Northern Pass project and the thousands of New Hampshire working families that will benefit from this project.  After conducting scores of public hearings and receiving thousands of public comments, the U.S. DOE correctly concluded that this project provides great benefit to the people of New Hampshire and New England.  IBEW applauds the thorough and efficient permitting work of the U.S. Department of Energy, and we look forward to getting to work building this critical energy infrastructure project.”

Tracy Hatch

President & CEO, Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, Nashua, NH

“As New Hampshire businesses look to expand and grow, and as out-of-state and international companies look to relocate to New Hampshire, one of the biggest challenges they all face is the high and too often volatile cost of energy.  From manufacturing to health care, and from hospitality to retail to high-tech software development, virtually every industry we have and want to attract needs a reliable source of energy at a price they can afford with the capacity to meet their needs. Northern Pass promises to provide all that and more.  Our Chamber strongly supports Northern Pass and applauds this major step forward.”

Michael Skelton

President & CEO, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Manchester, NH

“Growing New Hampshire’s economy is directly tied to availability of low-cost and reliable sources of energy.  The GMCC has supported Northern Pass for years as we know an energy project of this scale will deliver tremendous value to our economy and help attract and retain businesses and jobs to the Granite State, especially from the manufacturing sector. We are pleased to see Northern Pass achieve this important milestone.”


Posted on November 20th, 2017 by

Posted In: Updates

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Posted on November 16th, 2017 by

Permit Follows Record of Decision and Concludes Environmental Review of the Most Advanced Clean Energy Project in New England

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) and approved the Presidential Permit for the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project (NPT) that will allow NPT to construct transmission facilities at the U.S./Canada border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire.  This approval is the culmination of a thorough review of the project that involved numerous federal agencies, extensive public involvement, and detailed consideration of approximately a dozen different alternatives.

“We are pleased to see the DOE permitting process for Northern Pass draw to a close, and appreciate the years of diligent work done by the federal agencies in reaching this critical project milestone,” said Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan.  “With the New Hampshire and Canadian permitting processes also nearing completion, and considering we have all major contractor, equipment and labor agreements in place, Northern Pass is on track to begin construction by mid-2018.  This is good news for customers, and for the broad and diverse group of New Hampshire stakeholders who support this project for the many benefits it will bring to the state and the region.”

(See more quotes below.)

In approving the Presidential Permit for NPT, DOE found that the permit was in the public interest and that the project would have no adverse impacts on reliability of the U.S. electric power system, particularly in New England.  As required, DOE also obtained favorable recommendations from the U.S. Departments of State and Defense.  The extensive review of NPT was led by DOE and involved the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service – White Mountain National Forest, the New England District of the Army Corps of Engineers and the New Hampshire Office of Energy Planning as cooperating agencies.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also participated in the review of potential impacts on threatened and endangered species.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is expected to issue a separate final ROD soon in response to NPT’s application for a special use permit to allow burial of the transmission line through the White Mountain National Forest.  In a draft ROD issued in September, the USFS proposed to approve NPT’s application, concluding that the short-term construction impacts of the project are “more than outweighed by the benefits of bringing additional hydropower to the New England grid.”

Northern Pass will result in up tp 3.2 million metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions per year in New England.  Estimated wholesale electricity market benefits are approximately $600 million annually for New England and $62 million annually for New Hampshire.  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, and the project will create 2,600 jobs in New Hampshire during construction.

Beyond its clean energy benefits and energy cost savings, Northern Pass will provide a number of benefits unique to New Hampshire, including about $30 million 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; and the $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment, and tourism.

The Northern Pass transmission line begins at the Canadian border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and extends 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.  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.

Broad Support in New Hampshire

Tony Giunta

Mayor-elect, City of Franklin, NH

“Issuance of the Presidential Permit for the Northern Pass project is great news for the City of Franklin and other municipalities that will directly benefit from the millions of new dollars being invested in our communities.  We greatly appreciate the thoroughness and speed at which the U.S. Department of Energy acted on this critical renewable energy project.”

Guy Montminy

Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager, BAE Systems Electronic Systems, Nashua, NH

“News that the Northern Pass project is now one step closer to providing clean, renewable, reliable, low-cost power to New Hampshire and New England is encouraging.  BAE Systems saw its energy costs in New Hampshire grow by 24 percent per kilowatt hour from 2014 to 2016.  If these cost increases continue, they threaten New Hampshire’s economic growth.  There is no dispute that the best way to definitively lower electricity costs is to bring more reliable, affordable electricity into the New England power market.  The clean, renewable power Northern Pass will bring to the region will help address these cost increases while appropriately protecting environmental resources.  The state Site Evaluation Committee should follow the lead of federal regulators and approve this project without any further delays.”

Brian Murphy

Business Manager of IBEW Local 104 of Barrington, NH

“The issuance of the federal Record of Decision and Presidential Permit by the U.S. Department of Energy represents a major milestone for the Northern Pass project and the thousands of New Hampshire working families that will benefit from this project.  After conducting scores of public hearings and receiving thousands of public comments, the U.S. DOE correctly concluded that this project provides great benefit to the people of New Hampshire and New England.  IBEW applauds the thorough and efficient permitting work of the U.S. Department of Energy, and we look forward to getting to work building this critical energy infrastructure project.”

Tracy Hatch

President & CEO, Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, Nashua, NH

“As New Hampshire businesses look to expand and grow, and as out-of-state and international companies look to relocate to New Hampshire, one of the biggest challenges they all face is the high and too often volatile cost of energy.  From manufacturing to health care, and from hospitality to retail to high-tech software development, virtually every industry we have and want to attract needs a reliable source of energy at a price they can afford with the capacity to meet their needs. Northern Pass promises to provide all that and more.  Our Chamber strongly supports Northern Pass and applauds this major step forward.”

Michael Skelton

President & CEO, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Manchester, NH

“Growing New Hampshire’s economy is directly tied to availability of low-cost and reliable sources of energy.  The GMCC has supported Northern Pass for years as we know an energy project of this scale will deliver tremendous value to our economy and help attract and retain businesses and jobs to the Granite State, especially from the manufacturing sector. We are pleased to see Northern Pass achieve this important milestone.”

 

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) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to more than 3.7 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 customer service. For more information, please visit our website at Eversource.com and follow us on Twitter (@eversourceNH) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceNH).

###

CONTACT:

Martin Murray

603-634-2228

martin.murray@eversource.com

 

Kaitlyn Woods

603-634-2418

kaitlyn.woods@eversource.com


Posted on November 16th, 2017 by

Posted In: Permitting, Uncategorized, Updates

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Posted on November 13th, 2017 by

Northern Pass Reaches Agreement to Lease Rights-of-Way

$15 million in clean energy benefits to New Hampshire customers

The Staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC), the New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA), Eversource, and Northern Pass 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 Northern Pass to proceed.

“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, Northern Pass 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 NHPUC 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. 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.

 

Northern Pass Concludes Its Case-In-Chief Before the SEC

The final witnesses for Northern Pass completed testimony before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) on October 2, 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

 

What’s Next for Northern Pass

The Counsel for the Public and intervenors will continue presenting witnesses before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC).

The SEC is expected to issue a decision on Northern Pass in early 2018.

The U.S. Forest Service is expected to issue its final Record of Decision later this year. In September, the Forest Service issued a draft Record of Decision recommending a special use permit to bury transmission lines along existing roads in the White Mountain National Forest.

The Dept. of Energy is expected to issue its Record of Decision and Presidential Permit this year.

Northern Pass representatives continue to meet with business owners along the route to discuss any concerns regarding the construction process.

Partners for NH's Fish and Wildlife Grant Award Ceremony, October 3, 2017

Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife Grant Award Ceremony, October 3, 2017

National Fish and Wildlife Grantees Announced at UNH Manchester Event

For the third consecutive year, Eversource’s and Northern Pass’ continued partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is helping environmental grant recipients to restore and preserve New Hampshire’s and New England’s forest and wildlife habitats. On October 3 at the University of New Hampshire Manchester campus, Eversource New Hampshire Operations President Bill Quinlan joined NFWF leaders in awarding four grants totaling nearly $400,000 funded through the Eversource-NFWF “Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife.”

NFWF works with a variety of stakeholders — private landowners, government agencies, academic institutions and conservation groups — to cultivate science-based conservation strategies and cost-effective on-the-ground projects.

“Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife is a proven example of the good that can happen when businesses and nonprofits link arms, and is in perfect step with Eversource’s commitment to environmental sustainability.” — Bill Quinlan

The 2017 Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife grant recipients are:

Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Inc. — this project will document how Bicknell’s thrush uses young forest habitat in managed commercial forest stands in Coös County and Maine. The project will use the data collected to revise and update the existing best management practices in timber forests.

University of New Hampshire — this project will develop forest management practices to benefit priority forest birds, including wood thrush and the black-throated blue warbler. The project will enable 82 landowners in the upper Androscoggin and Saco River watersheds to implement the appropriate management practices to improve the care of 1,500 acres of early successional and late successional habitat.

University of New Hampshire — for the first time, this project will document how New England cottontail and other young-forest-dependent species respond to planned early successional forest habitat management activities in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine. The project will result in the development of a landscape scale model to predict future abundance on 28,800 acres of restored habitat.

Belknap Conservation District — this project will restore instream habitat structure that will create pools and spawning habitat for Eastern brook trout on Poorfarm Brook in the Gunstock Recreation Area. The project will restore two miles of historic habitat to be used as a demonstration of the effectiveness of the technique.


Posted on November 13th, 2017 by

Posted In: newsletter, Permitting, Updates

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Posted on October 13th, 2017 by

Document proposes approval of Northern Pass underground route in the White Mountain National Forest

Northern Pass was pleased to get the news in early September that the U.S. Forest Service had released its Draft Record of Decision (ROD) recommending that the agency issue a special use permit allowing the project to bury approximately 11 miles of transmission lines in areas along existing roads through the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). The Draft ROD is another significant step forward for Northern Pass in the permitting process, and comes on the heels of the Final Environmental Impact Statement released by the U.S. Department of Energy in August — both highlighting the soundness of the proposal and the benefits to New Hampshire and the region.

“This proposed decision by the U.S. Forest Service continues to move Northern Pass forward so that it will have all necessary state and federal permits to begin construction by mid-2018,” Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan said. “It is consistent with the key findings of other permitting agencies, including the Department of Energy, the NH Department of Environmental Services and the NH Department of Transportation.”

The Draft ROD is the culmination of seven years of review and extensive public input. In 2015, Northern Pass announced an improved route that included 52 additional miles of underground to avoid any potential view impacts in and around the WMNF or along the Appalachian Trail. The Draft ROD supports the project’s conclusion that burial along Interstate 93 is not a reasonable alternative, and states that the improved route “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”

The Forest Service also said that the project will increase the reliability of New England’s power supply by reducing reliance on imported natural gas; helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with public policy goals and the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan; and, providing “meaningful benefits to air quality” in the White Mountain National Forest.

“Meeting long-term energy needs in a sustainable, secure, and cost-effective manner for this region of the country is certainly in the public’s interest,” the Forest Service states.

The following excerpts are from the U.S. Forest Service Draft Decision

“I fully understand and acknowledge that there will be short-term, construction-related, impacts to natural and cultural resources on the WMNF, visitors to the area, and private lands/properties located along NH Routes 112 and 116. My decision does not ignore or make light of these effects. I believe the intensity and duration of these effects is more than outweighed by the benefits associated with bringing additional hydropower to the New England grid.”

“I believe that the technology is comprehensive, and that the Applicant possesses the ability to effectively construct, operate, and maintain the line underground…since these alternatives bury the line on the WMNF, instead of the initial proposal for overhead lines, I believe the tradeoffs and environmental impacts to the National Forest and connected areas under Alternatives 4c and 7 are reasonable.”

“…the alternatives utilizing I-93 are not consistent with my understanding of NHDOT policies… Therefore, I did not select alternatives that buried the transmission line across the WMNF in the I-93 corridor.”

Important Agreement, Part of Federal Permitting Process Finalized

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass, which marks further progress in the federal permitting process for the clean energy project. The PA is a legally binding agreement that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects. The PA is part of a larger process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and is separate from the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) environmental review.

The signatories to the PA include officials from DOE, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, and Northern Pass Transmission.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR NORTHERN PASS

  • The Counsel for the Public and intervenors are set to begin presenting witness testimony in October.
  • The DOE has announced its intention to issue a Presidential Permit for Northern Pass.

Facts ABOUT NORTHERN PASS

  • FACT: Northern Pass will not impact views in the White Mountain National Forest
    • New Hampshire is a beautiful place and our mountains and protected lands are part of the state’s character. That is why more than 80 percent of the project is along existing power line corridors or buried under public roads, including 52 miles in and around the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). Scenic vistas within the WMNF, from the Appalachian Trail, and Franconia Notch State Park would not be impacted.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy recently released its Environmental Impact Statement, which determined the average scenic impact from the project is “low to very low.” The U.S. Forest Service also reviewed a portion of the underground route in the WMNF and determined it “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”
  • FACT: Northern Pass will provide many benefits to New Hampshire
    • Northern Pass will provide millions of dollars in benefits to New Hampshire. Here are some of the benefits the state will see:
    • $30 million in additional tax revenue for communities along the route.
    • $62 million savings annually in energy costs
    • 2,600 jobs, with a commitment to hire local workers first
    • Reducing CO2 emissions by 3.2 million, or the equivalent of taking 670,000 cars off the road
    • $200 million Forward NH Fund for economic development, community betterment, tourism and clean energy initiatives in communities throughout the state
    • $7.5 million North Country Job Creation Fund, run by and administered to North Country residents to help businesses grow and hire more workers
    • Preserving a 7-acre parcel in Concord to expand the habitat of the Karner blue butterfly, New Hampshire’s state butterfly
    • A $3 million payment to NH’s Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund (ARM) to address potential impacts from construction
    • $3 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support the Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife grants, which have already funded dozens of conservation and restoration projects in New Hampshire.
  • FACT: N.H. will benefit from Northern Pass’ power
    • Northern Pass will carry clean hydropower from the New Hampshire border with Canada, south to where it will be distributed throughout the regional grid from a substation in Deerfield. A portion of the energy will be used in New Hampshire, as well as the other New England states.
    • In our regional energy system, the price of electricity is based on how much power is available to everyone in all New England states. When a new source of low-cost energy is added, it affects the price of electricity for everyone. An energy market study showed that the added power from Northern Pass will lower energy costs by $600 million regionally and by $62 million annually here in New Hampshire.
  • FACT: Northern Pass has environmental benefits
    • The U.S. Department of Energy recently issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement, which said it intended to issue the project a Presidential Permit. After a multi-year review of the project, the DOE concluded our proposal is the “preferred alternative” and the project will help diversify the electric supply and provide clean hydropower that “can help meet public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The N.H. Department of Environmental Services has also concluded its technical review and has recommended approval of the project.
    • Northern Pass will have a major impact on the region’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses. The project will reduce CO2 emissions by 3.2 million tons per year, equivalent to taking 670,000 cars off the road. It will make the New England electric grid, which New Hampshire. is a part of, less reliant on natural gas for generating electricity, and provides a clean back-up source of energy for other intermittent sources, like wind and solar.

Posted on October 13th, 2017 by

Posted In: Uncategorized, Updates


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 6th, 2017 by

Draft Record of Decision Addresses Construction of Underground Line Along Existing Roads

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 Draft ROD represents another significant step forward for Northern Pass in the permitting process, and comes on the heels of the Final Environmental Impact Statement released by the U.S. Department of Energy last month – both highlighting the soundness of the proposal and the benefits to New Hampshire and the region.

“This proposed decision by the U.S. Forest Service continues to move Northern Pass forward so that it will have all necessary state and federal permits to begin construction by mid-2018,” Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan said.  “It is consistent with the key findings of other permitting agencies, including the Department of Energy, the NH Department of Environmental Services and the NH Department of Transportation.”

The Draft ROD is the culmination of seven years of review and extensive public input.  In 2015, Northern Pass announced an improved route that included 52 additional miles of underground to avoid any potential view impacts in and around the WMNF or along the Appalachian Trail.  The Draft ROD supports the project’s conclusion that burial along Interstate 93 is not a reasonable alternative, and states that the improved route “is a reasonable way to transmit electrical power through the WMNF in a minimally impactful way when considering all available alternatives.”

The following excerpts are from the Draft ROD:

  • “I fully understand and acknowledge that there will be short-term, construction-related, impacts to natural and cultural resources on the WMNF, visitors to the area, and private lands/properties located along NH Routes 112 and 116. My decision does not ignore or make light of these effects. I believe the intensity and duration of these effects is more than outweighed by the benefits associated with bringing additional hydropower to the New England grid.” 
  • I believe that the technology is comprehensive, and that the Applicant possesses the ability to effectively construct, operate, and maintain the line underground…Since these alternatives bury the line on the WMNF, instead of the initial proposal for overhead lines, I believe the tradeoffs and environmental impacts to the National Forest and connected areas under Alternatives 4c and 7 are reasonable.”
  • “…the alternatives utilizing I-93 are not consistent with my understanding of NHDOT policies…Therefore, I did not select alternatives that buried the transmission line across the WMNF in the I-93 corridor.

The Forest Service also notes that the project will increase the reliability of New England’s power supply, by reducing reliance on imported natural gas; help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with public policy goals and the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan; and, provide “meaningful benefits to air quality” in the White Mountain National Forest.

“Meeting long-term energy needs in a sustainable, secure, and cost-effective manner for this region of the country is certainly in the public’s interest,” the Forest Service states.

In the coming weeks, Northern Pass will continue to review the specifics contained in the Draft ROD.

Recent Project Milestones include:

  • 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 NH Site Evaluation Committee (NH SEC) completed the “discovery phase” of the permitting process, which involved nine months of data requests, document production and technical sessions. The final phase of the state permitting process began in April with the commencement of final adjudicative hearings. The hearings are the last step in the state siting process before the NH SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass
  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation issued its final report to the NH SEC recommending approval of 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 September 6th, 2017 by

Posted In: Permitting, Uncategorized, Updates


Posted on August 31st, 2017 by

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass, which marks further progress in the federal permitting process for the clean energy project.  The PA is a legally binding agreement that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects.  The PA is part of a larger process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and is separate from the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) environmental review.

The signatories to the PA include officials from DOE, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, and Northern Pass Transmission.

Recent Project Milestones include:

  • 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 NH Site Evaluation Committee (NH SEC) completed the “discovery phase” of the permitting process, which involved nine months of data requests, document production and technical sessions. The final phase of the state permitting process began in April with the commencement of final adjudicative hearings. The hearings are the last step in the state siting process before the NH SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass
  • The New Hampshire Department of Transportation issued its final report to the NH SEC recommending approval of 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 August 31st, 2017 by

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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

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Posted on August 10th, 2017 by

Final Environmental Impact Statement Finds Project as Proposed is “Preferred Alternative”

MANCHESTER, N.H. (August 10, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project (NPT), representing a significant step forward in the permitting process.  The FEIS concluded that the proposed Northern Pass route is the “preferred alternative,” that the project provides substantial benefits, and will result in only minimal impacts.  Required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the FEIS is a product of years of review of project environmental impacts by the DOE in cooperation with other federal agencies, and reflects input collected from thousands of comments submitted by key stakeholders and the public.

As stated in today’s DOE decision, “The proposed DOE action in the final EIS is to issue a Presidential permit to the Applicant, Northern Pass LLC, to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a new electric transmission line across the U.S./Canada border in northern New Hampshire (NH).” The FEIS also recognizes Northern Pass’ ability to help meet the region’s energy challenges. “In addition to diversifying the electricity supply, the utilization of low-carbon hydropower can help meet public policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We are extremely pleased that DOE has completed its FEIS and greatly appreciate the years of hard work by all of the experts involved in this thorough review of Northern Pass,” said Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource operations in New Hampshire.  “As this clean energy project continues to advance through the final stages of the New Hampshire permitting process, we are encouraged to have reached this major federal permitting milestone.  We are now another step closer to realizing the many benefits Northern Pass has to offer New Hampshire and the region.”

Highlights of the FEIS include:

  • DOE concludes the proposed Northern Pass route is the “preferred alternative”
  • New England will see a reduction of carbon emissions by 9 percent or 2.5 million metric tons
  • The “total average scenic impact” of Northern Pass is considered “low” to “very low”
  • 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
  • There will be no “population-level effects to any protected species” due to Northern Pass
  • Noise levels associated with Northern Pass during operation will be well below EPA guidance levels
  • 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

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.  All major state and federal permits are expected in 2017, and all major contractor and equipment contracts are fully executed.  Northern Pass will be substantially complete by the third quarter of 2020.  Following testing, the line will be in service by the end of 2020.

“New Hampshire and the region are facing serious energy challenges, including having some of the highest electricity prices in the Continental United States,” said Quinlan.  “Customers, businesses and elected officials have been calling for solutions, and the issuance of the FEIS positions NPT well to help address these critical challenges.”

Beyond its clean energy benefits and energy cost savings, Northern Pass will provide a number of benefits unique to New Hampshire, including 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; and the $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment, and tourism.

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.  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.

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) 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 customer service. For more information, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter (@eversourceNH) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceNH).


Posted on August 10th, 2017 by

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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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