Property value impact of the proposed Northern Pass transmission line

The Northern Pass transmission line, if built, will carry 1200 MW of renewable energy from Canada to New England. The proposed transmission has set off a firestorm of opposition in New Hampshire where the line will bisect the state and travel through sensitive land areas. The debate concerning property value impacts is similar to the that involving wind turbines. Residents in New Hampshire commissioned two studies, a Resources Impact Report and an Appraisal Report, which looked at how the power line will impact their property. A summary of the two reports is excerpted below. Both reports can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

The Resources Impact Report concludes as follows (pp. 4, 32):

"In our view, the large, essentially unfragmented Dannis property contains landscape, viewshed, wildlife, wildlife habitat, wetlands, historical, cultural and other features that have high local and regional importance. ... Clearly there is a high risk that irretrievable losses may occur if the proposed project moves forward, particularly if it does so as currently proposed and without using alternatives that could lessen adverse impacts...."

Appraisal Report

The purpose of the Appraisal Report is to obtain a comprehensive, accurate and professional assessment of the negative value impact of the proposed transmission lines on actual pieces of land along the specific proposed route of the lines.

Based on the tax map of our land provided to us by Northern Pass with the proposed route of the transmission lines marked by Northern Pass on the map, we identified three parcels of land for appraisal. The first parcel is 135.1 acres of mostly woodland and a field. The second parcel is 32.5 acres, mostly field with some wooded buffer around the edges. The third parcel is a 12.5 acre building site in the field. All three parcels would be bisected by the proposed route of the transmission lines.

We asked for a "before the lines" and "after the lines" appraisal of each parcel of land. The certified appraisal results, as of February 15, 2011, are as follows (see p.2):

Before Lines After Lines Value Loss Percent

Woods/field (135.1 acres) 





Field (32.5 acres)




Building site (12.5 acres)





The key conclusion of the Appraisal Report is that the transmission lines would take high-quality view land with a highest and best use of residential development and drive the value of the land down to the lowest residual value. As the report states (p.52) in summarizing the analysis:

"The major conclusion with this analysis is that bisecting a lot with a HVTL [high voltage transmission line] renders it with a highest and best use as ancillary and of similar value as it would add to adjacent or abutting lots. The HVTL revokes the residential highest and best use." (Emphasis added.)

The parcels subject to the appraisal are representative parcels of our land. Much of the land in Coos County and northern Grafton County also has quality views, and our appraisal results may thus be viewed as a rough proxy for purposes of larger-scale analysis.

To generalize, taking into account the above valuation declines on land crossed by the transmission lines and the estimated declines in value of 25%-35% for adjacent view land, we have calculated that, on average, the transmission lines will reduce the value of the land in the immediate area of the lines by more than $1 million per lineal mile. This does not account for value reductions in view land that is not immediately adjacent to the transmission lines or value reductions for buildings or other improvements.

Sci A Dan 41211 (1)

Download file (132 KB) pdf

APR 12 2012
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