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).
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
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.”
Karner blue butterfly (photo: USFWS)
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.
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.
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
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.
MAINE POWER RELIABILITY PROGRAM (MPRP)
The project was also expected to:
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
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 email@example.com.
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.
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 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:
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)
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:
The Northern Pass permitting process continues to advance, with final hearings beginning in two weeks, on April 13. The hearings are conducted by the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and are the last step in the state siting process before the SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass. The final hearings follow the recently completed “discovery phase,” which involved several months of technical sessions.
The final hearings are formal legal proceedings, during which testimony will be presented by Northern Pass and project experts to the SEC, including data on benefits, construction procedures, environmental impact, and other aspects of the project. The Counsel for the Public and interveners will also provide witness testimony at this stage. Witnesses for all parties will be subject to cross-examination. The dates of the final hearings are available on the SEC website under the Northern Pass docket.
The commencement of final hearings in April follows a series of important milestones and achievements for Northern Pass, which include:
There has recently been inaccurate information initiated by opponents of the project regarding the agreement between Northern Pass Transmission and Hydro‑Québec. The information below is intended to set the record straight. As we have stated previously, New Hampshire consumers will not pay for any costs associated with the project.
Annual report shows results of conservation and restoration projects throughout the state
The eight conservation and restoration projects funded in 2016 by Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife are boasting significant results, according to the initiative’s 2016 annual report. The local organizations that received grant funding last year have opened 148 miles of streams, removed eight barriers to fish passage, assessed nearly 11,000 acres of forest, and restored 1,431 acres of forest. The effort also utilized the help of 230 volunteers, making these more than grant projects, but also community conservation programs.
Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife is the result of a partnership involving Eversource, Northern Pass and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Eversource, through its subsidiary Northern Pass, has committed $3 million to conservation and restoration of key habitats and species. Through Partners for NH’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. Since launching in 2015, Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife has funded a total of 17 projects that, including NFWF and grantee matches, resulted in $4.7 million dedicated to conservation and restoration in and around the state.
The 2016 projects include:
Restoring stream banks and improving forest management to benefit Eastern brook trout in Belknap County
Improving habitats for pollinators, including the monarch butterfly and various species of bees in transmission line corridors
Analyzing young forest restoration and management to ensure best practices are being used to protect conservation-priority species, including New England cottontail, golden-winged warbler, prairie warbler, blue-winged warbler, Eastern towhee and brown thrasher The Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife Annual report is now available online at http://www.nfwf.org/eversourcepartners. It includes a summary of all the 2016 grant initiatives. Later this year, the Partners will also include information about 2017 grants, made available through a request for proposals (RFP) process.
An update to the Northern Pass economic and environmental analysis shows that the project will reduce wholesale energy costs in New Hampshire by $63 million annually, and eliminate up to 3.2 million tons of carbon emissions in the region each year. The wholesale energy price reductions will ultimately flow to customers as retail energy cost savings. The significant reduction in emissions will help New England states achieve clean air goals.
“…LEI’s modeling update demonstrates that Northern Pass will deliver significant benefits to ratepayers in the form of lower electricity costs, carbon emissions reduction, and a more efficient system…”
London Economics International Updated Analysis, February 2017
The study, done by London Economics International (LEI) and filed with the NH Site Evaluation Committee as part of the project’s ongoing state permitting process, provides an update to a 2015 LEI study that showed similar CO2 emission reductions and average regional economic savings of about $800 million annually.
New Hampshire consumers will:
• Not pay any costs associated with Northern Pass
• Receive hundreds of millions of benefits unique to NH
• Save about $63 million
ISO-NE report reveals closing of nuclear plants caused increase in fossil fuel use
For nearly a decade, New England had been making strides in reducing air pollution and lowering carbon emissions from power plants. Adding more generation powered by natural gas, which has lower emissions than other fossil fuels, as well as using more renewable sources of energy, had helped in the decline. But a study released recently by the regional grid operator, ISO New England, shows that the trend in reducing carbon emissions has begun to reverse, largely due to closing nuclear plants and using natural gas and other fossil fuels to replace the low-carbon power source.
Between 2014 and 2015, New England saw a 15 percent decrease in production of low-carbon energy. This drop is due to the loss of more than 600 megawatts from the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. During that same period, natural gas-fired generation increased by about 12 percent. While natural gas has lower emissions than some other energy sources, a lack of supply of natural gas during winter months forced the grid operators to turn to higher-emitting sources. This includes oil-fired generation, which increased production by 10 percent last year and contributed to the up-tick in CO2 emissions.
“The increase (in oil-fired power) came largely in January, February, and March — the same months that natural gas-fired generation made its lowest contributions for the year,” ISO New England said in a statement. “This phenomenon largely reflects winter-time constraints on the interstate pipelines bringing natural gas into the region.”
Northern Pass has long advocated for the addition of clean, base load power from Canadian hydropower to offset the loss of generation the region has seen in recent years and to diversify its energy mix. Northern Pass will ensure a constant flow of power when New England needs it, including during winter months when natural gas supplies are strained.
For more information on the increase in carbon emissions and the state of the regional grid, go to the ISO New England website.