The Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that it will hold four more public scoping meetings in September. These meetings are in addition to the seven previous public scoping meetings DOE held in 2011. See below for specific dates and locations, as posted on the DOE website:
DOE Issues Amended Notice of Intent
The Department of Energy has issued an amended Notice of Intent for the Northern Pass project announcing additional scoping meetings and the close of scoping. The Department will be holding the following additional scoping meetings:
For additional information, please view the Federal Register notice.
In related news, the project has submitted a revised Special Use Permit (SUP) Application to the U.S. Forest Service. This amendment to the project’s original application, submitted on June 28, 2011, requests authorization to construct the Northern Pass transmission line in portions of the White Mountain National Forest where a right-of-way and transmission lines already exist.
The existing corridor within the WMNF was developed more than 60 years ago in order to supply electricity to areas north of the forest. From the DOE website:
The U.S. Forest Service—White Mountain National Forest, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)—New England District, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—Region 1 (New England) are cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS.
The EIS will provide the analysis to support a Forest Service decision on whether to issue a special use permit within the White Mountain National Forest. The responsible official for the Forest Service is the Forest Supervisor for the White Mountain National Forest.
The revised application and accompanying exhibits are available in our document library.
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’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.
The project has scheduled the first of several community open house meetings in the North Country. These events will give local officials and residents an opportunity to speak to project representatives, including engineers and environmental experts, view visual simulations, and ask questions about everything from structure design to line location. These open house meetings are part of the project’s commitment to working with communities and residents on answering and addressing questions about the project. The project’s goal throughout this process is to work with every town’s citizens to understand their issues, and to make every effort to reach agreement on how best to move forward.
Initial Open House Schedule:
Millsfield & Dixville – Monday, August 5th – Log Haven Restaurant
Log Haven Restaurant & Lounge
Millsfield, NH 03579
Stewartstown & Clarksville – Wednesday, August 14th – The Spa
The Spa Restaurant
869 Washington Street
West Stewartstown, NH 03576
Pittsburg – Tuesday, August 20th – United Methodist Church
Farnham United Methodist Church
US Route 3
Pittsburg, NH 03592
Each open house will run from 5:30 pm to 8 pm and no RSVP is required.
Local officials and residents are encouraged to attend the open house for their specific community as some information and communications materials will change at each event based on the project’s design in that area.
We’ll be adding to this list soon and will share the details for additional open houses along the proposed route of the project. Details for future open houses will be posted on the project journal and at www.northernpass.us.
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:
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.
On Thursday, Oct. 31, 2012, a legislative commission established by Senate Bill 361 (Commission to Study the Feasibility of Establishing Energy Infrastructure Corridors within the Existing Transportation Rights of Way) voted 10-0 to endorse a draft report proposed by the NH State Department of Transportation (NHDOT). The NHDOT version of the report represents a vast improvement over the original draft. The NHDOT version omits controversial language from the original draft that drew criticism from State officials and members of the business community, who warned of the potential for higher electricity prices and government overreach.
Numerous members of the Commission then offered their own criticisms of the report. Specifically, members rejected the following recommendations:
Northern Pass (NPT) appreciates that the Commission strongly rejected the report recommendations listed above. As several members pointed out, those recommendations were beyond the scope of the Commission and threatened broader and costly consequences for New Hampshire consumers and businesses. We support the effort by the Commission to identify potentially viable corridor options for future energy projects. NPT joins state officials and members of the business community in urging the Commission to continue to respect private property rights and avoid overreaching government provisions that will increase bureaucracy and inevitably result in higher electricity costs for New Hampshire citizens.
The Northern Pass project was the focus of a Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce forum on Thursday, May 5.
PSNH President and COO Gary Long spoke of the economic and environment benefits the project will provide New Hampshire and the region; and, he spoke of the challenge of implementing policies during a period of dynamic politics.
Will Abbot, of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, explained why his organization is opposing the project, as proposed.
Read a Concord Monitor news article on the forum, here.