MANCHESTER, N.H. (November 2, 2017) – The Staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (NHPUC), the New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA), Eversource, and Northern Pass Transmission LLC (NPT) 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 NPT to proceed. 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.
“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, NPT 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 PUC 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.
In addition to the $15 million in funding for New Hampshire customers included in this agreement, Northern Pass will provide the state with 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; reduced CO2 emissions and energy costs; and the $200 million Forward NH Fund to support clean energy innovations, economic development, community investment, and tourism.
The proposed Northern Pass transmission line will begin at the Canadian border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and run to Deerfield 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 New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) issued a Notice and Order on Friday announcing a hearing on April 12 in Lincoln to discuss pending motions on Northern Pass before the SEC.
The SEC is currently reviewing the Northern Pass application as part of the state’s permitting process. This process also includes a number of hearings, such as next month’s hearing on three pending motions. These motions include:
At the hearing, the Subcommittee will allow parties that filed written motions and/or objections regarding the above matters to supplement their written motions or objections with oral argument, if necessary. After that time, the Subcommittee will consider and deliberate on the pending motions.
The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at the Loon Mountain Resort, 60 Loon Mountain Rd., Lincoln. You can read the SEC’s order online here.
Northern Pass has begun the process of seeking a Certificate of Site and Facility from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). This certificate is required before construction can begin on large energy facilities in New Hampshire, such as natural gas pipelines, certain electric power generating plants, and high-voltage transmission lines, including Northern Pass.
Changes were recently made to state law to allow for more public involvement, including adding two members of the public to the SEC. State law also provides a number of opportunities for public comment, including two additional public sessions where New Hampshire residents and other stakeholders can speak about Northern Pass.
Commenting in Writing
The Site Evaluation Committee recently opened a docket for the Northern Pass project, which provides a place for members of the public to submit their written comments. Written comments can be sent by mail, email or fax to the addresses below.
New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee
Pamela G. Monroe, Administrator
21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10
Concord, NH 03301
Tel. (603) 271-2435
Fax. (603) 271-3878
Members of the public can also file a written comment with the SEC at one of the upcoming Public Information Sessions or joint public hearings (see below).
Commenting in Person
On December 18, 2015, the SEC determined the Northern Pass application is “administratively complete,” starting a year-long series of milestones in the project’s permitting process. Within 45 days of the SEC’s acceptance, Northern Pass must hold another round of Public Information Sessions in each county where the project will be located – Merrimack, Rockingham, Grafton, Coös and Belknap counties. The SEC and other state agencies will also hold at least one joint public hearing on Northern Pass in each of these five counties within 90 days of its acceptance of the application. The public will be able to comment and ask questions at these public sessions.
The dates and locations of the 90-day Public Hearings are listed below. Two of these events – Colebrook and Concord – will be conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and will serve as a public hearing for both agencies. The DOE will host two additional meetings on its own during the week of March 7 to take comment on its draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Northern Pass project.
Tuesday, March 1, 5 p.m.
Mill Falls at the Lake
281 Daniel Webster Highway
Coös County (co-hosted with DOE)
Monday, March 7, 5 p.m.
Colebrook Elementary School
27 Dumont Street
Merrimack County (co-hosted with DOE)
Thursday, March 10 at 5 p.m.
Grappone Conference Center
70 Constitution Ave
Monday, March 14 at 5 p.m.
Plymouth State University
Welcome Center at the Ice Arena
129 NH Rt. 175A (Holderness Rd.)
Wednesday, March 16 at 5 p.m.
Deerfield Fair Pavilion
34 Stage Road
Other ways to comment
In addition to the SEC process, Northern Pass is the midst of its federal permitting process. This includes the preparation and review of an Environmental Impact Statement by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The draft EIS, which was issued in July, is a comprehensive study of the potential environmental impact of the project, as well as a number of alternatives routes reviewed by the DOE.
This is a separate process that also 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 DOE.