The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a Programmatic Agreement (PA) regarding Northern Pass, which marks further progress in the federal permitting process for the clean energy project. The PA is a legally binding agreement that prescribes the steps necessary to complete the federal and state agency review of historic and archeological resources, including addressing any adverse effects. The PA is part of a larger process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and is separate from the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) environmental review.
The signatories to the PA include officials from DOE, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, and Northern Pass Transmission.
Recent Project Milestones include:
Northern Pass Achieves Key Permitting Milestone
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Northern Pass on August 10, concluding the project’s proposed route is the “preferred alternative.” The final EIS also stated that Northern Pass provides substantial environmental and economic benefits for New Hampshire and the region and will result in only minimal impacts. Required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the FEIS is the result of years of review of project environmental impacts and reflects the careful consideration of thousands of comments submitted by key stakeholders and the public.
Northern Pass is now awaiting the issuance of its federal permits, including DOE’s Presidential Permit, a Special Use Permit from the U.S. Forest Service, and the Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Northern Pass has already received the final permitting decisions from New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services, Public Utilities Commissions and Department of Transportation, and continued with final hearings before the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee in August.
Conclusions from the Final Environmental Impact Statement
REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
MEETING THE REGION’S ENERGY NEEDS
ECONOMIC BOOST FOR N.H.
OTHER BENEFITS FOR N.H. In addition to the benefits highlighted in the FEIS, Northern Pass will provide — and in some cases has already provided — significant investment in on-the-ground conservation and economic development programs.
What’s Next for Northern Pass
Site Tours Along North Country, Underground Route
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) recently toured a number of sites along the proposed Northern Pass routes. The visits, held on July 27 and 28, included stops in Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Dummer, Stark, Lancaster, Bethlehem, Franconia, Easton and Woodstock.
The locations of these stops were proposed by Counsel for the Public in a request that the SEC consider viewing portions of the proposed underground burial route as well as proposed additional above-ground sites in northern New Hampshire.
The July visits were in addition to four days of site visits held in March 2016 that included stops in Pittsburg, Clarksville, Stewartstown, Colebrook, Stark, Lancaster, Whitefield, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Bristol, Franklin, Canterbury, Concord, Pembroke, Allenstown and Deerfield.
Northern Pass Reaffirms Commitment to Hiring Local Workers First
Northern Pass has long been committed to hiring New Hampshire workers first for the construction of Northern Pass. Eversource, Northern Pass’ parent company, recently reaffirmed that commitment with a project labor agreement. On August 7, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced a finalized agreement that covers both union workers and non-union workers and businesses, including workers needed for the construction of access roads, logging and clearing, trucking and other key construction-related activities.
The announcement is positive news for New Hampshire’s electrical workers as Northern Pass now presents an opportunity for them to work on a project in their home state, closer to their family and friends.
Tiler Eaton of the IBEW said, “Given the size of this project and the number of trained electrical workers needed, we anticipate this project will not only fully utilize all available New Hampshire members, but will also provide work for hundreds of our members from Massachusetts.” You can read the announcement on the Northern Pass website in our Document Library, www.northernpass.us/document-library.htm.
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.”
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
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) has issued a notice and order of site inspection to review portions of the Northern Pass route. This site inspection will take place on March 7 and 8 and includes a bus tour along the route, stopping at key points identified in the order.
On March 7, the tour will leave from Colebrook Elementary School to view locations along the route and on March 8, the tour will leave from the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa to view additional locations. You can learn more about the tour, which is open to the public, by reading the SEC order now posted on our website.
This tour and the public hearings being held this month are part of the state permitting process for Northern Pass. The SEC hosted a public hearing on Northern Pass in Meredith on Tuesday, March 1 and the SEC has four more meetings scheduled to gather public input and comment this month. Two of these meetings will be co-hosted with the U.S. Department of Energy, which is also reviewing Northern Pass as part of the project’s federal permitting process.
For more information about the public hearings and how to participate in the process, go to our Project Journal.
(Co-hosted with DOE)
Colebrook Elementary School
27 Dumont Street
(Co-hosted with DOE)
Grappone Conference Center
70 Constitution Avenue
Plymouth State University
Welcome Center at the Ice Arena
129 NH Rt – 175A
Deerfield Fair Pavilion
49 Stage Road
It was a big year for Northern Pass. In 2015, we announced the Forward NH Plan and a unveiled a redesigned route that includes underground along roads in and around the White Mountain National Forest and Franconia Notch region. The plan has nearly $4 billion in benefits for New Hampshire and the region, including reduced energy costs, increased tax revenues for New Hampshire communities, a $2.1 billion boost to the state economy and the creation of 2,400 jobs.
Northern Pass also filed its application with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), the state’s siting authority for significant energy projects. We held five Public Information Sessions where residents learned more about the project and submitted comments to the SEC, and we met with municipalities and residents along the route throughout the fall, answering their questions and gathering their feedback.
As the year comes to a close and we prepare for 2016, we wanted to look at the milestones Northern Pass has already reached, and also provide you with information about the next steps the project will take.
January 29: The Coös County Jobs Creation Association announces its members made up of local residents and business owners.
March 26: Northern Pass partners with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to create the $3 million Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife. The program aims to protect and restore healthy forests and rivers throughout the state through grants to local organizations doing work to sustain local habitats.
July 21: The Department of Energy releases its draft Environmental Impact Statement, examining the potential impact the project could have on the environment and economy. It shows overall potential visual impact of the project will be low to very low, that Northern Pass will generate $564 million in economic output during construction, and will reduce regional carbon emissions by 8 percent.
August 18: Northern Pass announces the Forward NH Plan, which includes 52 additional miles of underground line, for a total of 60 miles underground, and nearly $4 billion in benefits.
August 31: Hydro-Québec and Eversource Energy reaffirm their commitment to bring clean, competitively-priced electricity to New Hampshire and the region.
September 2-10: Northern Pass held a series of pre-application Public Information Sessions in all five counties where the project will be located as part of our SEC filing process.
October 19: Northern Pass files its application with the SEC.
November 12: The U.S. Department of Energy releases a supplement to the draft Environmental Impact Statement, which focused on the portions of the route that include additional underground lines.
December 7: The SEC votes unanimously that the Northern Pass application is complete.
December 18: The SEC issues a written order officially deeming the Northern Pass application complete and moving the project forward in the state permitting process.
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) process will continue with five post-application Public Information Sessions in January.
The Department of Energy will also host a series of public hearings where residents can comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement on Northern Pass. The times and locations will be announced soon.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will accept comments on the Northern Pass project, its draft Environmental Impact Statement and Supplement until April 4, 2016. This comment period is an opportunity for New Hampshire residents and other key stakeholders to formally submit their thoughts on the project to the DOE, either in person or in writing.
To keep people up-to-date on its permitting process, the DOE has set up a website specifically for the Northern Pass project (http://www.northernpasseis.us/). It includes the draft EIS, other public documents, and information on how to submit a comment. Because there is a vast amount of information on the DOE’s Northern Pass website, we’ve provided this short tutorial to help walk you through the commenting process.
You can quickly file a comment through the DOE’s online comment form. This page provides links to the Northern Pass draft EIS, as well as the DOE’s Section 106 Review. The draft EIS is a comprehensive study of the potential environmental impact of the project, as well as a number of alternatives routes reviewed by the DOE. The Section 106 Review is part of the overall federal permitting process and is required by the National Historic Preservation Act. It includes studies of the Northern Pass’ potential impact on New Hampshire’s cultural and historic resources, such as historic homes and iconic views.
You can also mail, email or phone in your comments directly to the DOE. Here’s how:
Commenting in person
The DOE is holding a series of public hearings on the Northern Pass project, which will include an opportunity to make an oral comment. Two of these events – Colebrook and Concord – will be conducted in conjunction with the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) and will serve as a public hearing for both agencies.
Colebrook (co-hosted with DOE)
Monday, March 7, 5 p.m.
Colebrook Elementary School
27 Dumont Street
Wednesday, March 9, 5 p.m.
Waterville Valley Conference & Event Center
56 Packards Road
Concord (co-hosted with DOE)
Thursday, March 10 at 5 p.m.
Grappone Conference Center
70 Constitution Ave
Friday, March 11, 5 p.m.
Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa
101 Mountain View Road
Other ways to comment
Northern Pass has also filed an application with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). This is a separate process that includes opportunities for you to comment on the project. Click here if you’d like to learn more about how to submit your comment to the SEC.
Some New Hampshire residents recently received a letter from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (the Forest Society) asking them to “give generously” to fight the current Northern Pass transmission line project. This campaign aims to raise $475,000 to fund further opposition to the project.
There is inaccurate information about the project that we felt an obligation to clarify so that residents can fully evaluate the facts associated with Northern Pass.
This recent fundraising letter misrepresents the actual Northern Pass route and leaves out important details about the project:
While we are disappointed that the public is receiving inaccurate information about this important clean energy project, we appreciate the opportunity to correct these misrepresentations via our website, Facebook page, and the many face-to-face meetings we are having across New Hampshire. A comprehensive public permitting process is underway at the federal level, and a state process will soon begin here in New Hampshire. Both of these review processes will consider the facts associated with the proposed project, solicit public input, and determine whether the Northern Pass project satisfies the siting requirements outlined by the Department of Energy and the New Hampshire siting laws governing new energy projects.
In a letter to Department of Energy this week, the project offered its support to the recent request from the state’s Congressional Delegation for a preliminary report of the alternatives DOE will study as part of the federal permitting process.
As noted in the letter, we believe our proposed route is a sensible one that is respectful of the land and its neighbors and that will provide significant benefits to New Hampshire and New England. Various alternatives have been proposed and we believe an evaluation of the merits of these options, along with the economic implications of each, will be helpful as the permitting process moves forward.
The project’s letter to DOE is available in our document library.
A series of public meetings were held last month to give New Hampshire residents the chance to share their thoughts on the proposed Northern Pass transmission line project. These events, called scoping meetings, were just part of the ongoing public input process. Many people have already registered their comments through emails and letters. If you haven’t made an official comment on Northern Pass yet, you have just a few more weeks to do so.
From now until Nov. 5, the U.S. Department of Energy will accept written comments on the Northern Pass transmission line.
Here in New Hampshire residents have discussed both sides of this issue with friends, at the corner store and on the editorial pages of our local newspapers. Those discussions are now headed to the Department of Energy and our elected officials in the form of letters and emails. If you support Northern Pass and the clean energy, jobs and economic benefits it will bring New Hampshire, we ask you consider writing a letter to the Department of Energy, our governor and our Congressional delegation.
We understand many of you are busy and may not have much time to submit a comment. However, these letters don’t have to be lengthy; they can be a few short messages about why you favor the project. We appreciate any time and effort you make to show your support.
Below you will find the addresses for the Department of Energy, Gov. Maggie Hassan and our Congressional leaders. We ask you send a copy of your letter or email to everyone on this list to ensure our government and elected officials know that New Hampshire residents want to see more jobs, lower energy rates, more tax revenue and a cleaner energy future.
Northern Pass encourages supporters to let their voice be heard and we thank you again for whatever time you give.
Letters to the Department of Energy can be sent by mail, email, fax or through the online comment form
Senior Planning Advisor
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20)
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20585
Gov. Maggie Hassan
Office of the Governor
State House, 107 North Main St.
Concord, NH 03301
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
520 Hart SOB
Washington, D.C. 20510
Sen. Kelly Ayotte
144 Russell SOB
Washington, D.C. 20510
Rep. Ann McLane Kuster
137 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter
1530 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
People from across New Hampshire came out this week to share their thoughts about the Northern Pass project at a series of four U.S. Department of Energy scoping meetings. Dozens of people spoke and many different ideas were presented. Both project supporters and opponents showed how passionate they are when it comes to Northern Pass.
New Hampshire has long been a place that values public engagement and open discourse about important issues. We appreciate that so many participated in the exchange of ideas.
We would like to thank all of those who came to support the Northern Pass and share with their fellow Granite Staters the many benefits of the project. In the coming weeks we will be hosting another round of open houses to speak with residents and answer questions they may have about the project. Please continue to check our Northern Pass website for dates and times.