The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a request by Northern Pass to cross public waters and public lands to construct the 192-mile hydroelectric transmission line project. In granting the licenses, the PUC found that the crossings will not interfere with the public’s use of the land and waters affected by the crossings.
The various requests for licenses to cross state waters and lands were submitted as part of the project’s filing before the Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) for approval of a Certificate of Site and Facility.
The project’s proposed route has also undergone review from a number of other state agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Services, both of which have recommended approval of the project. More than 80 percent of the route will be built in existing rights-of-way or buried under public roadways.
Recent Project Milestones
- The NH PUC determined that Eversource has the legal authority to lease its existing rights of way to Northern Pass
- The NH SEC completed the “discovery phase” of the permitting process, which involved nine months of data requests, document production and technical sessions. The final phase of the state permitting process began April 13 with the commencement of final adjudicative hearings. The hearings are the last step in the state siting process before the SEC makes its decision on Northern Pass
- The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NH DOT) issued its final report to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (NH SEC) recommending approval of the project
- The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) issued four key approvals of the project, pertaining to the Wetland, Shoreland and Alteration of Terrain permits, and the 401 Water Quality Certificate. The approvals are essential components of the state siting process being conducted by the SEC and, according to DES, mark the conclusion of the agency’s review of the project’s siting application
- As part of the permitting process for the Northern Pass transmission project, the NH SEC completed 40 technical sessions– these sessions were an informal opportunity for the parties involved in the Northern Pass state review process to ask and answer questions
- Northern Pass submitted an updated economic analysis to the NH SEC showing that the project will reduce wholesale energy costs in New England by more than $600 million annually, and eliminate more than 3 million tons of carbon emissions in the region each year
- Northern Pass secured a key regulatory approval as ISO New England officially determined that the clean energy project can reliably interconnect with the regional electric grid
- The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission granted Northern Pass utility status, determining that the project has the technical, managerial, and financial expertise to operate as a public utility once the project is fully permitted, and that it is in the public good for the project to do so
- Northern Pass and its contractors completed engineering, or geotechnical, field investigations along the underground portions of the proposed project route – a required step in the permitting process to support the progression of a project’s design
- Northern Pass submitted an advanced design to the NH Department of Transportation for the portions of the project that will be buried under or adjacent to the roadway
- Northern Pass secured agreements with a highly experienced team of contractors and material suppliers who will execute the engineering, design and construction of the transmission line
- The NH SEC and the S. Department of Energy held a series of public meetings across New Hampshire to gather feedback as part of their respective permitting processes
- Business leaders from across the state announced their support for Northern Pass in a joint statement to the NH SEC. The diverse group of New Hampshire businesses, including some of the state’s largest employers, urged elected officials to join them as they support the Forward NH Plan, and the “direct economic and unparalleled environmental benefits it will provide to the people and businesses of New Hampshire”
- The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in favor of Northern Pass– confirming that the proposal by Northern Pass to use public highways for underground installation of electric transmission lines is clearly allowed under state law