Posted on December 11th, 2012 by

The SB 361 Commission recently adopted its final report, and once again voted to reject controversial recommendations that a majority of its members believed were outside the scope of the Commission.

This follows a vote last month by the Commission members to adopt a draft report authored by the NH State Department of Transportation (NHDOT). That version of the report omitted controversial language from the original draft which had drawn criticism from State officials and members of the business community.

In the final report, the commission voted overwhelmingly against two recommendations:

  • Recommending legislation to require merchant electric transmission projects submit an alternative proposal using underground.
  • Recommending legislation to enact a one year moratorium on any new merchant electric transmission projects.

Members pointed out that both of these recommendations were well outside the mission and scope of the commission. Additionally, we believe these recommendations would result in costly and unintended consequences for New Hampshire consumers and businesses.

The Commission’s findings include input from NHDOT on what possible corridor options currently exist. While the findings state it may be possible to place energy infrastructure in these designated corridors, the commission ultimately could not speak to whether such plans are economically feasible or whether they are technologically and environmentally sound ideas. The Commission also points out that these questions are often “typically site and project-specific.”

We look forward to continued discussions regarding New Hampshire’s energy future. Northern Pass will not only move us toward a renewable energy future, but will also reduce energy costs for customers and increase the diversity of our energy portfolio. We look forward to continuing our work with communities, policymakers, and other stakeholders to address concerns and determine the best path forward.

Posted on December 11th, 2012 by

Posted In: Legislation, Updates

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Posted on March 23rd, 2011 by

The N.H. House Science, Technology and Energy Committee this week considered two bills that focus on halting The Northern Pass project. The full House is expected to consider the committee’s recommendations on Wednesday, March 30.

The committee voted to retain HB649, which would require a study of the project, separate from the required Site Evaluation Committee process, by a regional planning commission.

The committee approved an amended version of HB648, which would place restrictions on proposed transmission projects that are “not needed for system reliability.”

Here are our reflections on the impact of HB648 if it were enacted in the future:

  • We believe that the amendment is misguided. What started out as a legislative effort to target one particular energy project has now been expanded in a way that will have far reaching unintended consequences for the entire state, and could impact the ability to provide cost effective electricity and to maintain efficient operation of the state’s electrical system.
  • If enacted, it would threaten, for example, an upgrade of the “Coös Loop,” which the Independent System Operator has decided is not a system reliability project.
  • It would threaten the connection to the grid of any potential new renewable energy development, such as a North Country wind project – or other projects that could bring important environmental or economic benefits to the state – even if those projects enjoy broad support.
  • It would basically just say “no” to low-cost energy by precluding important transmission projects that would otherwise be built at no cost to customers.

Posted on March 23rd, 2011 by

Posted In: Legislation

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