Project will provide clean and affordable power, lower emissions, and local jobs
Officials in Massachusetts announced today that a bid submitted by Eversource and Hydro-Québec (HQ) to utilize Northern Pass Transmission (NPT) to deliver significant amounts of hydropower to the New England grid has been selected in the Massachusetts Clean Energy solicitation. With this decision, Northern Pass is well-positioned to provide a firm delivery of 1,090 megawatts of hydropower year-round that will lower energy costs and reduce carbon emissions in the region.
“The clean, affordable power flowing over Northern Pass into the New England grid in 2020 will provide customers in the Commonwealth and throughout the region with much-needed energy price stability and emissions reductions and will deliver significant economic and environmental benefits to the region for years to come,” said Eversource Executive Vice President of Enterprise Strategy and Business Development Lee Olivier. “We are pleased with the decision announced today, and appreciate the thorough review by the Massachusetts bid evaluation team.”
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 electric grid. More than 80 percent of the line will be located along existing transmission corridors or buried along roadways, eliminating potential view impacts in and around the White Mountain National Forest. Northern Pass will provide a new and robust interconnection path between the Québec and New England electric systems controlled by the regional system operator, ISO-New England.
“This is a major milestone in the energy transition underway in the Northeast. We are pleased and proud to be a part of it,” said Éric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Québec. “Hydro-Québec’s clean, reliable power, along with our proven delivery capability were highly valued by decision makers.”
The solicitation process was the result of a law passed in 2016 by the Massachusetts Legislature to provide new sources of clean energy by 2020. Northern Pass will provide up to 9.4 terawatt hours of hydropower that the Massachusetts legislation requires on an annual basis, while helping the Bay State achieve its clean energy goals. 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 power plants. Northern Pass will also help reduce reliance on fossil-fueled sources, particularly during the winter months when the gas pipeline system into New England is constrained.
The selected bid is a proposal to build an electric transmission line to bring 100 percent hydropower to the New England electric grid. The bid highlights the project’s advanced development and Eversource’s extensive experience in building and operating the electric transmission grid in the region. Northern Pass will deliver clean hydroelectric energy from HQ’s resources to the New England electric grid.
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, which commits $10 million in funding over 20 years to support low-income energy programs and services for Massachusetts low-income customers.
New Hampshire, as the host state for Northern Pass, 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.
Northern Pass expects to receive all state and federal permits by early 2018. The Province of Québec recently announced that it has granted HQ a permit to construct the hydroelectric transmission line that will connect with Northern Pass at the U.S. border. All major contractor and equipment contracts are fully executed to begin construction by mid-2018. A comprehensive project labor agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has been executed and is expected to generate thousands of jobs during peak construction for both Massachusetts and New Hampshire workers. Northern Pass is expected to be in service by the end of 2020.
The Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will bring to New England 1,090 megawatts of clean hydropower. This reliable and affordable source of power will also bring a wide range of benefits to the region, including millions of dollars in energy cost savings and a significant reduction in carbon emissions. To learn more about Northern Pass, go to www.northernpass.us.
Eversource (NYSE: ES) is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns, and also supplies water to approximately 9,300 homes and businesses in Hampton, North Hampton and Rye. Eversource is proud to be recognized as the top contributor to United Way in New Hampshire. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its more than 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@eversourceNH) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceNH). For more information on our water services, visit www.aquarionwater.com.
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.
Across New Hampshire, we have spoken to many people who like the substantial benefits Northern Pass offers and who support our efforts to bring clean, affordable hydropower into the region. We appreciate this support and wanted to thank those who have added their voice to the growing consensus that we need to invest in our energy infrastructure and move closer toward a cleaner, more affordable energy future. Here are just a few of the supportive words we’ve heard from people around the state:
“The electrical power plants are shutting down, getting old, and our electric bills are skyrocketing. We need something new. We need to get the power. … My neighbors are all like, ‘My energy bill is so high. I’m paying so much for electric.’ I’m like, ‘Well then, we need to do Northern Pass. Otherwise, they’re just going to keep going up.’” – Cheryl Ulm of Laconia
“The power coming through Northern Pass is clean power, generated from water turbines in Canada. This is exactly the kind of clean, sustainable energy strategy we’ve identified as a priority for New Hampshire.” – State Senator Lou D’Allesandro
“The ‘Forward NH’ Plan proposes to balance the energy deficit in New England by delivering clean, renewable, hydroelectric power to New Hampshire and the region while addressing environmental impact concerns. Equally important, the project promises to provide unmistakably clear benefits to New Hampshire by bringing low-cost electricity directly to the state’s residents and businesses, creating hundreds of jobs, and providing millions in tax revenue to local communities.” – Paul Markwardt, VP and Deputy GM of Nashua-based BAE Systems
“Berlin represents a third of the county’s residents and even though the line will not be going through Berlin, don’t forget a lot of those laborers and a lot of those electricians and apprentice candidates will come from the Berlin/Gorham area. The recreational opportunities – many of those folks will come from the Berlin/Gorham area. I don’t downplay the fact that in my community, it’s going to have a pretty significant positive effect. It’s really going to make the glass a lot more than half full.” – Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier
We’ve also received support from a number of the state’s newspapers, particularly for our efforts in addressing concerns about potential view impact and providing substantial benefits unique to New Hampshire. Here is what these newspapers have been saying:
“Northern Pass, Seacoast Reliability Project and the divestiture of power plants are all now progressing because Eversource has listened to stakeholders, respected their testimony and changed the projects to address their concerns. Getting these projects built in a manner that provides wide economic benefits while protecting property values and scenic beauty is vital for New Hampshire and New England, because our energy costs, already high, will increase again this winter and in successive winters until the region increases its electrical capacity.” – Foster’s Daily Democrat and Portsmouth Herald
“Environmentalists who say they favor “green power” such as hydro should warm to a plan that eliminates above-ground lines in the national forest. North Country residents and small businesses should embrace a plan with substantial immediate and long-term benefits. Businesses large and small throughout New Hampshire are already hailing a plan that provides some relief from high electricity costs. Northern Pass and Eversource have made the compromise they needed to make. It is time for on-the-fence politicians and understandably skeptical North Country partisans to do likewise.” – New Hampshire Union Leader
“To ensure reliability and guarantee that the region’s remaining coal plants run as little as possible, we support the Northern Pass project, which does less to exacerbate climate change than fossil fuel options.” – Concord Monitor