Library filed under Transmission from Massachusetts
“I’m appalled that the state (and the town of Yarmouth) would consider a project that would damage this fragile watershed,” said Andrea Gottfried, a taxpayer in West Yarmouth. “Lewis Bay is historically, ecologically and economically important to Cape Cod residents and visitors from around the world.”
AUBURNDALE, Mass. — Speakers at the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association Renewable Energy Conference on Feb. 1 discussed the merits and viability of different methods to achieve New England’s aggressive emission reduction goals.
In recent years it seemed Northern Pass may have made a mistake getting ahead of the crowd in an attempt to sell Quebec hydropower into New England, as it faced more than six years of withering criticism while later-arriving proposals drew little attention.
Representatives of five transmission projects proposed in July in response to the Massachusetts solicitation for 9.45 TWh/year of hydro and Class I renewables (wind, solar or energy storage) tried to explain why their projects should be among those selected in January. Contracts awarded under the MA 83D request for proposals are to be submitted in late April.
Massachusetts’ demand for clean energy has drawn interest from several companies hoping to win lucrative contracts to transmit wind and hydro power from Maine, Atlantic Canada and Quebec. The utilities National Grid, Eversource and Unitil, along with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, are considering dozens of bids, including Maine-based proposals that would entail overland transmission lines and at least two undersea cables running through the Gulf of Maine to the Bay State.
Evans-Brown says opponents want to know why their scenery should become the pass-through for Massachusetts' electricity needs, "people who have businesses that would be impacted by the construction, and who believe they're business depends on tourists coming up to visit. There's a very famous pancake parlor that the owner came and gave very impassioned testimony."
"Subsidizing an overdependence on one foreign government-owned source of electricity will lead to lost jobs and soaring energy bills for decades to come," said Dan Dolan, the group's president....Hydro-Quebec would use increased U.S. exports to subsidize lower prices for its provincial customers, in turn costing New England ratepayers an estimated $20 billion over 25 years.
New England’s most populous states are looking to tap Canadian dams and rivers for more of their electricity, a change that officials say would help cut greenhouse-gas emissions and help keep some of the nation’s highest power prices in check.
Building more electricity transmission into New England isn't about an "energy crisis." It's about economics, jobs, corporate profit, failure to make the small fixes that add up, failure to do detailed analysis, failure to resist stampede crisis mentality, and lots of other things.
The six New England governors, working with the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCO) and regional grid operators, have launched a process under which Northern Pass partners may be able to acquire substantial ratepayer funding and eminent domain powers for the controversial plan to bring hydroelectricity from Quebec into New England.
Developers are pitching plans, and are now offering states handsome “benefits packages” in seeking their support. In addition, states could earn millions from new property or infrastructure taxes, the leasing of existing right-of-ways and financial returns on public investment in the lines. But these assurances aren’t enough, according to Kerrick Johnson, vice president of Vermont Electric Power Co., or VELCO.
The company seeking to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound announced Thursday that it has contracted with Prysmian Cables and Systems USA to supply the transmission cables for the offshore project.
Federal regulators are being asked to resolve a regional rift over who should pay for new power lines needed to carry renewable electricity to southern New England. Vermont has joined New Hampshire and Rhode Island to oppose the cost-sharing formula being promoted by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. ...the more populated states are trying to offload much of the cost of the new power projects on other states in New England.
"We think that it is likely there will be significant additional transmission investment needed to maintain reliability and improve access to these clean, intermittent power sources," Lee Olivier, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in an earnings call Friday. "But it is too early to estimate how much that additional investment will be and exactly when it will occur."
A federal order issued last fall is intended to make it easier to construct transmission lines, costly and controversial projects that are notoriously tough to build.
The administration of Gov. Deval Patrick has been pushing for a tougher standard of review for the proposed merger, saying the utilities should have to prove the merger would help the state's clean energy goals. NStar has been criticized by administration officials for its lack of interest in the Cape Wind project and its decision to focus instead on bringing Canadian hydropower to New England.
Hydro Quebec, NStar and Northeast Utilities are working on the Northern Pass project with the Patrick administration's support. Project organizers say the new line could provide another 1,200 megawatts of hydro electricity, enough to power nearly a million houses. The project is still in early engineering and study phases, with the goal of wrapping up in 2015, the Northern Pass website says.
Bowles said he's still leery of any FERC plan, saying it's a "slippery slope" toward a more centralized national electric system that could harm Bay State ratepayers and the state's efforts to promote renewable fuels. "We're concerned," said Bowles, adding there has "certainly been Soviet-type thinking" surrounding the entire concept.
LeBlanc said the premiers have done well in selling their energy message in New England. "But it's not as simple as saying, 'We're here. Come buy from us.' ...New England states want to have energy independence and grow their energy supply in-house.
Since March, travelers have been contending with utility crews as they install new utility poles and electricity distribution lines through Lanesborough, even as a lawsuit holds up final connection to the $46 million Berkshire Wind project on Brodie Mountain. The lawsuit alleges that the special permit issued for road access to the construction site expired before the work began.