Posted on November 13th, 2017 by

Northern Pass Reaches Agreement to Lease Rights-of-Way

$15 million in clean energy benefits to New Hampshire customers

The Staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC), the New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA), Eversource, and Northern Pass have reached a settlement that will enable Northern Pass to lease transmission rights-of-way from Eversource. The agreement, now pending final approval by the NHPUC, will provide significant customer benefits and complete the last of several NHPUC approvals needed for Northern Pass to proceed.

“We appreciate the effort and collaboration the PUC staff and the OCA put into this settlement, which will provide significant benefits to New Hampshire customers and will also move this important clean energy project forward,” said Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan. “Based on the terms of the agreement, New Hampshire residents will have greater access to clean energy technologies of the future.”

Under the proposed agreement, which the parties agreed is in the public interest, Northern Pass will make annual lease payments to Eversource, which will be used to off-set Eversource’s transmission costs. Additionally, Northern Pass has committed to making annual payments, which will total $15 million over the lifetime of the project. The funds will be under the control and direction of the NHPUC for “programs, projects or other purposes that provide benefits to New Hampshire distribution customers.” These programs may include investments in distributed generation, energy storage, electric vehicles, demand response and other initiatives.

The settlement agreement follows an order in April from the PUC stating Eversource has shown that it has the right to lease the use of its existing rights-of-way to Northern Pass. Hearings on the project are continuing before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), with a decision on NPT’s application for a Certificate of Site and Facility expected from the SEC in early 2018.

 

Northern Pass Concludes Its Case-In-Chief Before the SEC

The final witnesses for Northern Pass completed testimony before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) on October 2, marking the conclusion of Northern Pass’ witness presentation before the SEC. Northern Pass presented 25 witnesses over 43 hearing days, describing in detail the following aspects of the project.

■ Forward NH, Project Route, Clean Energy RFP

■ Financial

■ Public Health & Safety

■ System Reliability

■ Construction

■ Environmental

■ Tourism

■ Property Taxes

■ Property Values

■ Historical/ Archeological

■ Aesthetics

■ Orderly Development

 

What’s Next for Northern Pass

The Counsel for the Public and intervenors will continue presenting witnesses before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC).

The SEC is expected to issue a decision on Northern Pass in early 2018.

The U.S. Forest Service is expected to issue its final Record of Decision later this year. In September, the Forest Service issued a draft Record of Decision recommending a special use permit to bury transmission lines along existing roads in the White Mountain National Forest.

The Dept. of Energy is expected to issue its Record of Decision and Presidential Permit this year.

Northern Pass representatives continue to meet with business owners along the route to discuss any concerns regarding the construction process.

Partners for NH's Fish and Wildlife Grant Award Ceremony, October 3, 2017

Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife Grant Award Ceremony, October 3, 2017

National Fish and Wildlife Grantees Announced at UNH Manchester Event

For the third consecutive year, Eversource’s and Northern Pass’ continued partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is helping environmental grant recipients to restore and preserve New Hampshire’s and New England’s forest and wildlife habitats. On October 3 at the University of New Hampshire Manchester campus, Eversource New Hampshire Operations President Bill Quinlan joined NFWF leaders in awarding four grants totaling nearly $400,000 funded through the Eversource-NFWF “Partners for New Hampshire’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.

“Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife is a proven example of the good that can happen when businesses and nonprofits link arms, and is in perfect step with Eversource’s commitment to environmental sustainability.” — Bill Quinlan

The 2017 Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife grant recipients are:

Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Inc. — this project will document how Bicknell’s thrush uses young forest habitat in managed commercial forest stands in Coös County and Maine. The project will use the data collected to revise and update the existing best management practices in timber forests.

University of New Hampshire — this project will develop forest management practices to benefit priority forest birds, including wood thrush and the black-throated blue warbler. The project will enable 82 landowners in the upper Androscoggin and Saco River watersheds to implement the appropriate management practices to improve the care of 1,500 acres of early successional and late successional habitat.

University of New Hampshire — for the first time, this project will document how New England cottontail and other young-forest-dependent species respond to planned early successional forest habitat management activities in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine. The project will result in the development of a landscape scale model to predict future abundance on 28,800 acres of restored habitat.

Belknap Conservation District — this project will restore instream habitat structure that will create pools and spawning habitat for Eastern brook trout on Poorfarm Brook in the Gunstock Recreation Area. The project will restore two miles of historic habitat to be used as a demonstration of the effectiveness of the technique.


Posted on November 13th, 2017 by

Posted In: newsletter, Permitting, Updates

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Posted on March 7th, 2017 by

Volunteers participate in the Buckthorn Blitz at College Woods on the UNH Durham campus.

Volunteers participate in the Buckthorn Blitz at College Woods on the UNH Durham campus.

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.

 

Updated Analysis of Northern Pass

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.

 

Quick Facts

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

 

Increase In CO2 Emissions Shows Need For Low-Carbon Power

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.


Posted on March 7th, 2017 by

Posted In: Updates

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Posted on August 2nd, 2016 by

 

NFWF Event Speakers

David Wagner of the University of Connecticut talks about the wide variety of pollinators found in transmissions line corridors.

Northern Pass and Eversource were proud to join the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today to announce eight grants totaling nearly $1 million to restore New Hampshire’s forest and freshwater habitat. The grants were funded through Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife, a partnership between Eversource and NFWF.

“The recipients of these grants are focused on action-based projects that are making a real difference in improving and preserving New Hampshire’s valued wildlife and waterways,” said Ellen Angley, Vice President/Supply Chain, Environmental Affairs and Property Management at Eversource. “We’ve been pleased to see the grant recipients working directly with their communities and other organizations to produce beneficial results, and look forward to seeing the positive impacts these new grants will help to achieve.”

Collectively, the eight conservation grants announced today will open 175 miles of streams for Eastern Brook Trout through modification and replacement of culverts and other barriers, will improve habitat for New England cottontail, American woodcock, and golden-winged warblers on 852 acres of forestland, and reduce polluted runoff from entering streams, including 47 tons of sediment and 41 tons of phosphorus.

“We are extremely pleased with the impact this partnership has had in its first year, and the grants we are announcing today will build on that success here in New Hampshire,” said Amanda Bassow, Northeastern Regional Director of NFWF. “The contribution from Eversource also has had ripple effects throughout New England, providing the seed funding to grow a larger public-private initiative that is accelerating the restoration of our northern forests and rivers.”

NFWF Event Speakers

Malin Clyde from UNH Cooperative Extension talked about the important role volunteers play in conservation and research efforts.

The grant recipients are:

  • University of New Hampshire – Achieving multi-species benefits from young forest restoration and management in southern Maine and New Hampshire (New Hampshire, Maine) $197,982
  • Belknap County Conservation District – Restoring and protecting Gunstock Brook habitat for Eastern brook trout through stream bank restoration and improved forest management (New Hampshire) $70,033
  • Wildlife Management Institute – Providing technical assistance to New Hampshire landowners to create young forest habitat for New England cottontail, American woodcock and other priority bird species (New Hampshire) $145,000
  • Connecticut River Watershed Council, Inc. – Removing seven barriers to fish passage to restore access to one hundred and forty miles of Eastern brook trout spawning habitat (New Hampshire and Vermont) $199,165
  • Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve – Creating New England cottontail habitat on under-utilized lands in southern Maine and New Hampshire (New Hampshire and Maine) $60,000
  • Audubon Vermont – Recruiting private landowners in the Champlain Valley to restore habitat for golden-winged warbler and other priority bird species (Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont) $70,000
  • University of Connecticut – Improving pollinator habitat in New England rights-of-way  (New Hampshire and Massachusetts) $111,077
  • Town of Brownfield, Maine. – Replacing an undersized culvert on the Shepards River to re-connect habitat for Eastern brook trout (Maine and New Hampshire) $100,000

These grants were solicited competitively through NFWF’s New England Forests and Rivers Fund, of which Partners for New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife is a major contributor, and were evaluated by a technical review committee composed of government, academic and other experts. Funding decisions were based on the project’s potential to achieve long-term, measurable conservation outcomes that match the program’s goals.

The New England Forests and Rivers Fund is awarding a total of 16 grants today throughout New England, eight of which include work in New Hampshire (listed above). In addition to funding from Eversource’s Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife, major funding for the New England Forests and Rivers Fund is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal agencies, corporations, foundations and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.5 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.

 


Posted on August 2nd, 2016 by

Posted In: Environment, Uncategorized

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