Last night the Department of Energy (DOE) held its first scoping meeting in Concord to collect public feedback about the project’s proposed route. We were pleased to see a broad and diverse coalition of supporters attend and voice their support for the clean, low-cost energy, hundreds of green jobs, and millions in new tax revenues Northern Pass will bring to New Hampshire.
Current and former state representatives and senators, business leaders, municipal officials, representatives from the labor community, along with regular New Hampshire citizens, were all among the large contingent of green and blue shirted supporters in attendance.
Since announcing or new, improved route in June, we’ve been working hard to reach out to residents and landowners across New Hampshire to discuss our proposal and answer their questions. Whether it has been at one of our community open houses, individual meetings with landowners, or at a presentation to a local community group, positive feedback and support for the project has been growing.
We understand the public permitting process is just beginning and look forward to the many opportunities in the future for more dialogue on our proposal and the many benefits it can bring to the state and region. We’d like to thank all those who attended and provided comments last night and we are committed to work with all residents, landowners, and stakeholders as the process continues.
Northern Pass representatives during the past month have met with hundreds of New Hampshire resident at our open houses. We have gone from Pittsburg to Concord, answering questions and offering information to people who live in towns along the proposed 187-mile transmission line route.
As we look ahead to the fall, we see there are still many opportunities for you to ask us questions and to speak with us about the project. This week, Northern Pass will host two open houses, in Campton and Ashland. The Campton open house, which is being held for residents of Campton, Thornton and Woodstock, will be this evening at the Days Inn Campton on Daniel Webster Highway. The Ashland open house will be tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Ashland Legion Post 15 on Main Street. It is for residents of Ashland Bristol, Bridgewater, Holderness and New Hampton, but like our previous open house events, all those looking to ask questions and discuss the project are welcome to attend. Guests are welcome to stop by at any time between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The Northern Pass hosts these open houses to give residents and landowners a chance to speak one-on-one with project engineers, environmental experts and other project representatives. We’ve heard questions about where the route is located, what the transmission line will look like and the kind of jobs Northern Pass will create for New Hampshire residents. It is part of the project’s commitment to working with all communities along the route and addressing their questions about the project.
Next week, Northern Pass will be the subject of four U.S. Department of Energy scoping meetings. These public forums are a chance for all residents to speak about the Northern Pass project and submit their comments as part of the federal permitting process. Recently, one of the meetings was moved from Stewartstown to Colebrook, so here is an updated list of all the scoping meetings:
• Concord: Grappone Conference Center, 70 Constitution Ave. on Monday, Sept. 23, from 6-9 p.m.
• Plymouth: Plymouth State University Silver Center for the Arts, Hanaway Theater, 114 Main St. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 5-8 p.m.
• Whitefield: Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, Presidential Room, 101 Mountain View Rd. on Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 5-8 p.m.
• Colebrook: Colebrook Elementary School Gymnasium, 27 Dumont St. on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 5–8 p.m.
Supporters of Northern Pass are invited to speak at these scoping meetings or submitting written comments to ensure the Department of Energy hears the voices of those who want to see clean energy, jobs and more tax revenue come to the state. You can find more information about the meetings, how to sign up to speak and where to submit written comments on the DOE website.
The project recently announced a $7.5 million jobs creation fund aimed specifically at increasing employment in the North Country. The announcement of the fund follows months of discussions with local leaders and business people about the economic challenges in Coös County, and how the project can bring additional value to the area that is above and beyond the construction jobs and tax benefits associated with the project.
The fund will be managed by an advisory group made up of Coös County business and economic development leaders and elected officials and will ultimately decide what jobs creation efforts will be funded, and at what amounts.
Gary Long, President of Renewable Energy Development for New Hampshire, along with Former State Senator John Gallus and Allen Bouthillier of A.B. Logging announced the creation of the fund at an event in Lancaster at A.B. Logging on August 19th.
Northern Pass has invited residents and landowners in Concord and Canterbury to our next open house in Concord this evening at the Holiday Inn on North Main Street in Concord. Visitors can stop by anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to discuss the project with engineers and experts from our team.
Our open houses are informal gatherings where people can view informational materials and speak to representatives at their own pace. There are different booths set up around the room that provide information about jobs and tax benefits, information structure heights and locations, the construction process and even visual simulations of what the project would look like from various vantage points. Open Houses are a voluntary effort on the part of the project to share information with local residents and landowners, and we’ve enjoyed the events we’ve held thus far.
The proposed route of the project runs through the western side of Canterbury for roughly 6 miles along an existing right-of-way before it crosses the town line. In Concord, the proposed route will travel along an 8 mile stretch of an existing right-of-way, also currently home to existing power lines
As part of our efforts to address concerns over potential visual impact, our engineering team redesigned a 17-mile stretch of the proposed route between Franklin and Concord, which resulted in reduced structure heights. We first announced this redesign in June as part of our route announcement and are looking forward to sharing the details of these changes with residents this evening. This redesign reduces the most common structure heights along this section to 80 feet and means 92 percent of structures will be 100 feet or less, where previously only 51 percent of structures were 100 feet or less.
Communities will also see a financial benefit from Northern Pass as the infrastructure improvements the project makes within each community will translate into more tax revenue for those towns. In Concord, the project is estimated to create more than $540,000* in municipal and local education tax payments and in Canterbury, the project is estimated to create more than $400,000*. Overall, Northern Pass is expected to bring an estimated total of $28 million in new local, county and state taxes annually.
Whether you are looking to learn about the project’s proposed design in your community, sign up for our jobs notification list, or want to know more about Northern Pass’ clean, renewable energy, please feel free to stop by the Canterbury and Concord open house this evening or upcoming events as we continue to talk to residents throughout the state about New Hampshire’s energy future.
*Based on current tax rates
We recently hosted open houses throughout the North Country, answering questions and talking to residents and landowners about the benefits of the project. Next week, we take our open houses further south with an event at the Holiday Inn in Concord.
Through these discussions we’ve learned there are many people who support Northern Pass or are at least seeking further information in order to inform their opinions. We hope to continue these discussions and are pleased to see more people speaking out about the benefits of Northern Pass.
We noticed recently that a number of local leaders and citizens have sent letters to the editors of New Hampshire newspapers discussing the project’s many upsides. The need for jobs is a top issue for New Hampshire residents. A major theme in these letters is that the 1,200 jobs created during construction are much needed, as well as the many long-term jobs the recently announced $7.5 million North Country Jobs Creation Fund will create in years to come.
Others wrote about the increased tax revenue, not just for cities and towns, but at the county and state level, as well. There were also letters about the need for more clean, renewable energy projects like Northern Pass. We wanted to share with you what people in your community are saying about Northern Pass, and have included some highlights below.
Temporary Construction Jobs Can Turn Into a Career, by Norman Brooks, Colebrook
“It’s truly a bonus when you can build something that creates jobs and helps the environment. … We need a source of low-cost power to bring manufacturing back to our state. The Northern Pass will help do just that.”
North Country Needs Jobs, by Donald Dostie, Colebrook
“Last week I went to a meeting with about 40 other local businesspeople from Colebrook, Pittsburg, Stewartstown, Clarksville and other area towns with officials from Northern Pass. There was a lot of information shared. We asked questions about the project and local jobs. There were questions asked that they didn’t have answers to, and Northern Pass committed to getting back to us with information. It was a calm, informative discussion.
Contrary to what we have been told about Northern Pass, I found the people representing Northern Pass to be honest, factual and forthcoming with information. I look forward to this discussion continuing and getting more information about the project.”
Project Could Ease Strain on Coos County Taxpayers, by Paul Grenier, Berlin
“The estimated Northern Pass annual tax payment is approximately equal to the cost of all county workers’ salaries in the sheriff’s department, register of deeds and corrections department combined. It would cover roughly half the annual cost of salaries for all nurses at the West Stewartstown nursing home.
Debates about the future of the county farm, county jobs and other services become less challenging with economic growth and an expanding tax base. Most important, an expanding tax base reduces the financial pressure on existing taxpayers.”
We Don’t Need ‘None of the Above’ Energy Policy, by Landon L. Placey, West Stewartstown
“Whether the Northern Pass gets approved will be determined through open debate – and I look forward to that debate. But at a time when we need good jobs and a long-term energy solution, I really hope that we build Northern Pass and get New Hampshire back to work.”
We’ve updated our schedule of community open houses with additional meetings along the project’s proposed route. Newly scheduled open houses include:
Concord & Canterbury – Wednesday September 4th
172 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
Bethlehem, Dalton, Whitefield & Lancaster – Tuesday September 10th
Cabot Inn & Suites
200 Portland Street / Route 2
Lancaster, NH 03584
Easton, Lincoln, & Sugar Hill – Wednesday September 11th
The Mountain Club on Loon
90 Loon Mountain Road
Lincoln, NH 03251
Campton, Thornton & Woodstock – Tuesday September 17th
Campton Days Inn
1513 Daniel Webster Highway
Campton, NH 03223
No RSVP is required and residents can drop by anytime from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
This week we hosted two more open houses in the North Country, adding to a total of five over the past three weeks. To date, open houses have been held for the communities of Millsfield, Dixville, Stark, Dummer, Stewartstown, Clarksville, Pittsburg, and Groveton.
Open houses are part of the project’s commitment to working with communities and residents on answering and addressing questions about the project. At each event local residents are able to speak one-on-one with project representatives, including engineers and environmental experts, view visual simulations, and ask questions about everything from structure design to line location.
Our goal throughout this process is to work with every town’s citizens to understand their issues, collect feedback on our proposal, and to make every effort to reach agreement on how best to move forward.
Representatives from the Northern Pass project continue to meet with residents and landowners in towns along the proposed route this week at open house events in Pittsburg and Groveton.
Northern Pass will host an open house tonight in Pittsburg in the Community Hall at the United Methodist Church on Route 3. Residents and landowners are free to stop by anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to speak one-on-one with project representatives. Tomorrow evening, residents of Groveton and Northumberland are invited to another open house in Carter Hall at the United Methodist Church, located on Church Street. This will also be between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and guests are free to stop by at any time during the event.
In recent weeks, Northern Pass has hosted a number of open houses in the North Country to speak with people about their concerns, answer questions and inform them of the benefits this project will have for the region. The open houses this week will be similar. You’ll find fact sheets, maps, interactive displays and other information about the project. Guests can move freely from station to station and will be able to speak with Northern Pass representatives personally in a casual and informal environment.
We hope to answer your questions about the project route, job opportunities, structure height, tax revenue, underground lines and other issues. If you want more information about this week’s open houses, watch this video walk through of our first event in Millsfield.
In Pittsburg, the proposed route runs through the southern tip of town for about 2 miles overhead. A short portion is proposed to be underground near the Route 3 crossing at the border with Clarksville. In Groveton and Northumberland, the route runs 6 miles above ground along an existing right-of-way currently being used as a utility corridor.
Northern Pass is projected to bring a number of benefits to these areas, starting with additional tax revenue. Our planned investment and resulting increase in the local tax base could generate as much as $192,468 annually in local property tax payments for Pittsburg and as much as $583,734 annually for Northumberland. In addition, Northern Pass’ investment would provide much needed revenue to Coös County, estimated at $1.5 million annually, and to the state, estimated at $7.8 million annually, to help support important services such as funding for education.
In all, Northern Pass is projected to bring an additional $28 million annually in tax revenue to the state and to reduce energy costs in New Hampshire by $20-$35 million each year, saving residents, landowners and business owners money.
Groveton, as well as the rest of the North Country, have faced tough economic times in recent years, which has made creating jobs a major issue. Northern Pass is expected to create 1,200 jobs during construction and is dedicated to using New Hampshire workers first whenever possible. This $1.4 billion construction project is also expected to boost the economy beyond the construction jobs it will create – it will help retailers, restaurant owners and local vendors, as well. Estimates show Northern Pass could inject $259 million to $316 million into the New Hampshire economy during development and construction of the project.
Northern Pass has made a commitment to the North Country during the construction phase and beyond. On Monday, we announced a $7.5 million jobs creation fund (link) that will give much-needed resources directly to businesses and communities with the sole purpose of creating jobs for the people who live in the North Country.
The Northern Pass project is an investment in our energy future, bringing 1,200 megawatts of clean, renewable energy into New Hampshire for generations to come, but it is also an investment in the future of the North Country, it’s people and their communities.
Residents and landowners in Stark and Dummer have been invited to join Northern Pass project representatives tonight at the Stark Fire Station for another Northern Pass open house. Folks can stop by between 5:30 and 8:00 p.m. and learn about the proposed transmission line, look at maps and visual simulations of the proposed route and ask questions one-on-one with Northern Pass engineers and project experts.
Much like our first open house last week in Millsfield, Tuesday’s event will be an informal community meeting where Stark residents can move from one area of the Open House to another, speaking with representatives about the issues that matter most to them.
Northern Pass will bring 1,200 megawatts of clean, renewable hydropower from Quebec into New Hampshire, enough to power 1 million homes. During construction, the project will create 1,200 jobs, with a preference given to hiring local New Hampshire workers. It is also expected to save New Hampshire electric customers about $20-$35 million each year and bring in an estimated $28 million annually in new taxes for state, county and local government.
On a local level, Northern Pass’ planned investment and resulting increase in the local tax base could generate as much as $230,000 each year of added tax revenues for Stark, and as much as $507,000 each year of added tax revenues for Dummer, based on current tax rates. In addition, Northern Pass’ investment would provide much needed revenue to Coos County, estimated at $1.5 million annually, and to the state, estimated at $7.8 million annually, to help support important services such as funding for education.
The new proposed route uses a combination of new and existing PSNH right-of-way in Dummer, and existing PSNH right-of-way in Stark. The height of structures along this portion of the route is dependent on a number of factors, including topography and the width of the right-of-way. The proposal calls for the replacement and relocation of the existing line, so that both it and Northern Pass can be placed with no widening of the right-of-way necessary.
In some areas, if land is available and a property owner is willing, a right-of-way could be slightly widened, which may allow for lower structures. While this is not necessary for the construction of Northern Pass, it is an option for future discussion and consideration.
When The Northern Pass was originally proposed, there was concern about the height of the structures. Since then, we’ve worked to reduce structure heights along the route. We recognize that some concerns remain, and look forward to working with residents and communities to better understand local perspectives on structure heights, and answer questions.
To show residents what the planned structures will look like in comparison with the rest of the landscape, Northern Pass hired LandWorks, a Vermont-based landscape architecture and planning firm, to create visual simulations using sophisticated and industry-accepted software and software methodologies. These visual simulations and maps of the route will be available at the open house. They are also available on the northernpass.us website under “In My Town.”
To learn more, residents and landowners in Stark and Dummer are encouraged to attend the open house and talk to our Northern Pass representatives.
NOTE: The next open house will be for residents and landowners in Stewartstown and Clarksville, and will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Outback Pub at the Spa Restaurant at 869 Washington St., in West Stewartstown.
Last week the project held the first in a series of Northern Pass community open house events. These open houses are being held to provide residents and landowners with the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback in a personal, one-on-one environment with project representatives. These events are a voluntary effort by the project to provide meaningful opportunities for dialogue between residents and landowners and Northern Pass.
The format of each open house features a series of information booths on different topics, including the construction process, permitting requirements, environmental considerations, and project benefits. Each booth is staffed by project representatives with expertise in that specific subject area. For example, in the “My Community” booth project engineers (using interactive maps) are available to share with landowners structure location and height information specific to their property.
For a more detailed look inside a Northern Pass open house, we’ve posted a video walk-though of the event held last week in Millsfield. We’d like to thank the 60+ residents and landowners of Millsfield and Dixville who attended the event and we appreciate their feedback on how the project can better address their concerns. Direct feedback from local residents is invaluable to the project and greatly helps our efforts to further refine and improve our design and ensure that our proposal is the best possible project for New Hampshire.
Although these events are not a requirement of the permitting process, the project is committed to holding open house events along the entire length of its proposed route. Each open house will have information and data, like maps and tax benefits numbers, tailored to the communities that event is serving. While any interested member of the public is welcome to attend any open house, priority at each event will go to serving local residents and landowners first. Creating an open, comfortable environment at these events is critical and the project is focused on ensuring that attendees get the information they need in a welcoming setting. Attendees are encouraged to complete comment cards to ensure that all their thoughts, feedback and questions are captured and can be responded to by project representatives.
The current schedule of open houses is posted on our website and will be updated soon with additional dates and locations of future events.