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


Posted on August 10th, 2017 by

Posted In: Press Releases, Updates

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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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Posted on July 28th, 2017 by

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.

 


Posted on July 28th, 2017 by

Posted In: Environment, Filings, Jobs, Press Releases, Uncategorized, Updates


Posted on July 25th, 2017 by

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).

 

 

 


Posted on July 25th, 2017 by

Posted In: Filings, Press Releases, Uncategorized, Updates

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Posted on July 11th, 2017 by

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

New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee

Pamela G. Monroe, Administrator

21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10

Concord, NH 03301

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

Email: Pamela.Monroe@nh.gov

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

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

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

Meredith Briggs, Deerfield resident:

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

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

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

Tracy Hatch, Nashua Chamber of Commerce:

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

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

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

Anastasia Park, Lee, NH:

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

Mark Bailey, Director of Facilities for BAE Systems:

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

Tad Dziemian, Owner of Neighborhood Energy of New England

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

 


Posted on July 11th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates

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Posted on June 29th, 2017 by

USFish and Wildlife_kbb

Karner blue butterfly (photo: USFWS)

Permitting Update

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

Construction

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

Economic Benefits and Cleaner Air

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

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

Environmental Panel

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

WHAT’S NEXT FOR NORTHERN PASS

  • Final hearings will continue throughout the summer, including discussions on historic sites, tourism and property taxes.
  • The NH Public Utilities Commission approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and lands on June 20.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy expects to release the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Northern Pass in August.
  • The SEC announced an additional 15 final hearing dates in August and September.

 

Northern Pass Mitigation Plan Expands on Important Habitat

Northern Pass has worked with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to identify land that could be part of the Northern Pass mitigation plan and would also provide additional benefits to other conservation and restoration efforts around the state. One such site is a 7-acre parcel in Concord that will protect a portion of the Soucook River shoreline and establish additional protected habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

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

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

 

WORKING WITH COMMUNITIES ALONG THE ROUTE

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAINE POWER RELIABILITY PROGRAM (MPRP)

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

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

The project was also expected to:

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

Posted on June 29th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on May 30th, 2017 by

NP-Hearing-roomview

FINAL HEARINGS UPDATE

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) continues its final hearings on the Northern Pass project, including discussions with construction experts. This month’s hearings began on May 1 with the project’s panel of witnesses answering questions and providing details about underground and overhead construction, traffic management, and outreach to local communities and businesses. The panel also discussed jobs and the project’s commitment to hire local workers.

“Transporting heavy equipment is very expensive, so excavators, bulldozers, dump trucks, all that will be locally sourced as much as possible to contain costs,” said Samuel Johnson, lead project manager for Northern Pass, according to reports in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The construction panel will resume on May 31, followed by testimony from Julia Frayer, who will speak about her analysis of the economic and environmental impacts of Northern Pass. Following Frayer, a panel of environmental witnesses will discuss the numerous environmental studies conducted along the route, as well as the steps Northern Pass will take to avoid or mitigate impacts.

The final hearings, which began in April, are the last phase of the state permitting process before the SEC returns its decision on the project. Thus far, the SEC has heard from witnesses about the technical, managerial, and financial capabilities of the project, the Forward NH Plan, and how the project relates to public health and safety and system reliability.

 

What’s next for Northern Pass 

  • The U.S. Department of Energy has announced it expects to release its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Northern Pass project in August.
  • SEC final hearings will continue in June with panel discussions on the Forward NH Plan, aesthetics, and how the project relates to the orderly development of New Hampshire.
  • The SEC announced it will hold three half-day public hearings to gather oral and written comments from the public. They will be held on June 15, June 22 and July 20 from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, contact Marissa Schuetz, Program Manager at schuetz@sec.nh.gov
  • Site visits of the Northern Pass route have been scheduled for July 27 and 28 and will include a tour of both the underground and overhead portions of the route.

 

Forward NH Fund Officially Formed 

Earlier this year, Northern Pass took steps to formally create the Forward NH Fund as an independent, nonprofit entity. The Fund will manage and allocate $200 million, in the form of loans and grants, to targeted programs that support the areas of community betterment, clean energy innovation, tourism, and economic development. Funding will occur over 20 years, with $10 million contributed to the Fund each year.

The Forward NH Fund will be governed by a Board of Directors and Advisory Boards, made up of municipal, community and business leaders, representatives of clean energy and environmental organizations, and North Country leaders. It will be the task of the Advisory Boards to review funding requests and make recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval of those projects that align with the funding priorities. The Advisory Boards will consider proposals from a wide range of organizations, including municipalities, non-profit groups, businesses, and residents.

 

$200 million in loans and grants for community betterment, clean energy innovation, economic development, and tourism projects throughout NH, with an emphasis on projects in the North Country.

 

The Forward NH Fund was announced in 2015 as part of the Forward NH Plan, which included a number of economic and environmental benefits specific to New Hampshire. The Fund will begin operations once Northern Pass has received all necessary permits and the line is in service. Questions about the Fund can be directed to Northern Pass at 1-800-286-7305 or at info@northernpass.us.

Northern Pass Reaches Out to Businesses Along Underground Route 

Northern Pass has proposed its transmission line be buried for a total of 60 miles under public roadways in parts of Coös and Grafton counties. Although construction will not begin until Northern Pass has received all necessary federal and state approvals, we understand that owners may have questions about how the project could affect their businesses. Last month, the project sent letters to more than 250 businesses located along the underground portion of the route to begin a conversation about how Northern Pass can address any concerns they might have about the underground construction phase of the project.

The letters also offered business owners information about the work Northern Pass representatives are doing now to proactively address concerns, including developing plans to ensure businesses and property owners have continued access during construction, taking into consideration other activity and events in the community, and ensuring roads that are disturbed during construction are restored to the same or better conditions. The project is dedicated to taking a personalized approach to protect the interests of businesses and property owners, and will meet and continually communicate with them before, during and after construction to respond to their concerns.


Posted on May 30th, 2017 by

Posted In: Updates


Posted on May 1st, 2017 by

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

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

Key points that will likely be discussed will include:

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

Posted on May 1st, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on April 18th, 2017 by

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee’s (SEC) final hearings on Northern Pass continue today with a look at how the project relates to public health and safety.

Today’s hearing will include Dr. William Bailey, the Principal Scientist at the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health Risk Assessment at Exponent, Inc., and internationally recognized expert in the potential effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMFs); Dr. Gary Johnson, a Senior Managing Scientist in Exponent’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science practice who modeled the electric and magnetic fields, audible noise, and radio noise from the existing lines and from the Northern Pass Transmission Project; and Douglas Bell, a Senior Principal Consultant and President at Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc., with 25 years of experience evaluating environmental sound and who conducted sound surveys along the proposed Northern Pass route.

The proposed Northern Pass project includes a 158-mile direct current (DC) transmission line that will run from the Canadian border to Franklin, and a 34-mile alternating current (AC) line that will run from a converter station in Franklin to a substation in Deerfield. EMFs are present around any electric power line, whether it carries DC or AC electricity, and today’s experts will discuss how these EMFs relate to the route’s surrounding area.

Key points that will likely be discussed will include:

  • The project will have no unreasonable adverse effect on public health and safety
  • Since the 1970s, numerous scientific studies have examined the potential for long-term effects of exposure to EMFs with frequencies of 60-Hz in North America and 50-Hz in Europe. None of the reviews conducted by the following agencies concluded that exposure to static electric and magnetic fields and space charge at levels associated with the proposed project would pose a likely health threat to the public:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)

International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES)

National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB)

Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)

S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • At the edges of the right-of-way and beyond, the levels of static fields and 60-Hz EMF levels are within the range of levels commonly encountered from other sources, and are all below applicable limits in guidelines designed to protect public health
  • Neither the AC nor DC portions of the Northern Pass line will create EMFs, space charge, radio noise or audible noise that will exceed relevant guidelines or have an unreasonable adverse effect on public health and safety
  • If proper protocols are observed, project noise will not have an appreciable impact at sensitive receptors during construction and will comply with SEC precedent.

Posted on April 18th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


Posted on April 12th, 2017 by

Final hearings on the Northern Pass begin tomorrow, launching the last phase of the state permitting process before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) returns its decision on the project.

The final hearings will begin with testimony from Bill Quinlan, the Eversource President of NH Operations, who will discuss the considerable benefits Northern Pass will bring to New Hampshire, including economic development and jobs programs, energy savings, tax revenue, an increase in New Hampshire’s GDP, as well as significant environmental benefits.

Other project details that will be discussed include:

  • Northern Pass is designed to bring a reliable source of competitively priced, clean, renewable hydropower into the region, thereby delivering energy savings as well as environmental and economic benefits to New Hampshire and the New England region
  • Northern Pass is committed to a “New Hampshire First” approach, which will ensure that new jobs created by the project are made available to New Hampshire workers first
  • The project will improve the Coös Transmission Loop, which will enhance the electric system in the North Country and unlock up to 100 MWs of existing and future sources of renewable energy for the state and region
  • As part of the Forward New Hampshire Plan, Northern Pass has made a commitment to provide $200 million in funding over the first 20 years of operation to the Forward NH Fund in support of economic development, community betterment, tourism, and clean energy innovation, with particular emphasis on host communities and the North Country. Northern Pass has made a few advance funding commitments to time-sensitive projects that are aligned with the purposes of the Forward NH Fund
  • The Forward NH Fund Board of Directors and Advisory Boards will include municipal, community and business leaders, representatives of clean energy and environmental organizations, and North Country leaders.
  • NPT has conducted extensive outreach to communities, landowners and businesses along the route, and will continue this outreach throughout the construction process.
  • Northern Pass and Hydro-Québec anticipate submitting a proposal to the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP. Regardless of the outcome of the solicitation, New Hampshire customers will not bear any of the expenses but will still experience substantial benefits from the project
  • The project, as proposed, provides the appropriate balance among several important considerations, including project costs, public concerns over iconic view sheds, environmental and economic impacts, as well as technical feasibility and the availability of land rights necessary to support the project

Posted on April 12th, 2017 by

Posted In: SEC, Updates


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