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.
Last summer The Northern Pass Transmission project (NPT) filed an application with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), outlining its proposed use of an existing transmission corridor within the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). The application detailed a preliminary design for the inclusion of the NPT line, while also noting that the project’s design could change based on evolving engineering data and ongoing dialogue with the USFS, the Department of Energy, and other stakeholders.
Since filing our initial application with the USFS, NPT engineers have continued to gather and assess data in an effort to refine and improve the proposed design. As a result of these efforts over the past year, the NPT team has been able to significantly lower proposed structure heights.
The submittal of this proposed redesign serves as a formal update to our application before the USFS. The proposed structure design has been lowered to a typical height of 85 feet for areas in the WMNF. As before, this new design can safely be sited within the existing 150 foot right-of-way without the need for widening.
The lower structure heights are a result of installing horizontally configured structures, with V-String insulators, instead of using the vertical structures. A V-String design reduces the spacing requirements associated with horizontal designs (see structure depiction on the right side of the attached graphic). In other words, a V-String design minimizes how much an insulator can move in windy conditions, which keeps the transmission line a safe distance from the edge of the right-of-way.
NPT is pleased to announce this proposed redesign as a positive step forward in ensuring the transmission corridor in the WMNF can continue to co-exist with the Forest, as it has for the past 60 years. Going forward, NPT will continue our dialogue with officials from the WMNF and other stakeholders, and provide updates about this proposal when available.
The existing corridor within the WMNF was developed more than 60 years ago in order to supply electricity to areas north of the forest. It includes an area of about six miles in length, pursuant to an existing Special Use Permit; as well as about four miles of existing private easements.
While the filing outlines a preliminary design for the inclusion of The Northern Pass transmission line, it acknowledges that the process is dynamic, and modifications may indeed occur as the permitting process evolves:
“…nothing about this design or Proposed Use should be viewed as final. Northern Pass anticipates that the Project’s design may change through the National Environmental Policy Act process that will allow a robust dialogue among the USFS, DOE, stakeholders, other interested persons and Northern Pass…”
NPT SUP Application
The filing notes, for example, that the project can likely be located within the existing 150 wide transmission corridor, but that structure heights can be reduced if the corridor were widened or if the “span length” between structures were reduced (i.e. reduced height but more structures).
Going forward, we expect to work closely with the Forest Service and other interested parties to minimize impacts to the White Mountain National Forest.