Library filed under Transmission from New Hampshire
Talking Points: Society for the Protection of NH Forests
The Antrim decision means that Northern Pass “is not an automatic ‘yes’” says Amy Manzelli, who represented opponents of the wind farm. “I think that the SEC will be trying to answer the questions … and they will be willing to say no if the weight of the evidence shows that the answer is no.” The “questions” at play are numerous, from aesthetics to air and water quality to impacts on historic sites and what is termed “orderly development.” Antrim shows that the Northern Pass decision could hinge not just on the look and size of the towers, but the scenery that they pass through.
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 caution investors that Northeast Utilities' Northern Pass transmission project, which would transport 1,200 megawatts of hydro power supplied by Hydro-Quebec from Canada into New England, likely faces significant delays and cost increases. Regulatory hurdles and substantial political headwinds will likely prevent the project from going into service before 2018, at the earliest with delays until 2019-2020 very possible as well."
"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."
PSNH has maintained that running underground transmission lines would make Northern Pass economically unfeasible. But critics said TDI New England's proposal not only disproves that claim, but could place Northern Pass out of the bidding since New England Clean Power Link would provide comparable energy to the New England market — without the community and political opposition Northern Pass has engendered.
The Northern Pass project has been controversial since its announcement several years ago. No amount of advertising can disguise that this project is not ready for prime time. Given the misrepresentations in the amended application and the fact that the project has not reached the minimum threshold of attaining meaningful site control, the U.S. Department of Energy should suspend its process to consider the granting of a Presidential Permit to Northern Pass.
New Hampshire's natural beauty is one of our region's treasures, but that description does not come close to explaining what our natural resources mean to the Granite State. They are essential to our high quality of life, which helps attract talented people and new businesses to our state. ...Like our New England neighbors, New Hampshire is working hard to reduce harmful fossil fuel emissions in order to clear the air and views of our great vistas. Why would we then sacrifice those views to miles and miles of towers?
Jim Dannis a North Country resident said he will focus on the White Mountain National Forest, where Northern Pass is requesting a waiver or "project-specific amendment" to restrictions on commercial development in the conservation area. "We are very concerned about that, and are going to urge the forest supervisor to not even consider giving the Northern Pass a one-off pass through the Whites."
New Hampshire's congressional delegation is asking the U.S. Department of Energy whether the federal agency's evaluation of the Northern Pass Transmission project can proceed if Northern Pass doesn't have permission to use some segments of its new route.
When reading about the New York project, I can't help get the feeling that Northeast Utilities is trying to take advantage of New Hampshire, and doing it on the cheap, like we are a state full of rubes. Why can one project afford to put so much money on the table for an environmental trust fund, while the other offers nothing? Why is the Northern Pass per-mile cost so much higher than Champlain Hudson, which will bury the lines underground and underwater?
New Hampshire's forests, lakes and scenic landscapes are central to our state's identity. ...But recent land purchases by Northern Pass project developers suggest that a potential route for transmission towers and lines may attempt to cross land protected by the Connecticut Headwaters easement. That would unnecessarily jeopardize some our state's most treasured land.
Savage said the recent purchases by Northern Pass are contiguous to the anticipated route the company is trying to build, but do not address its fundamental problems of crossing the Connecticut River along Route 3 at the Canadian border, or clearing a narrow passage through conservation land in Stewartstown near the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters.
Strangers' money has drawn a line across the land, sowing discord. It has divided the Placey family. They no longer talk to those who sold out. "We pleaded with them; we asked them not to sell," Lynne says. But they wouldn't listen; they wanted the money. Her sister-in-law is distraught. She was close to her nieces; she can't believe that they would do this. This division is repeated all over town, straining the North Country ethic of looking out for your neighbor.
Public Service of New Hampshire is interested in municipally owned land near the town's industrial park, prompting Northern Pass opponents to speculate that the company may be changing direction and planning to bring power lines down the Vermont side of the Connecticut River, crossing into New Hampshire at Littleton.
"I am very concerned we have a long term energy strategy but like all of us in New Hampshire, I also love the outdoors that is so important to the quality of life. I think the first proposal didn't take that into consideration and could have harmed our travel and tourism economy."
"Recently we have seen a number of proposals for new energy facilities, specifically wind farms and transmission lines, that will have an important and lasting impact on our state," Arnold said. Arnold said the Legislature should act quickly on a bill giving the SEC a broad range of authority in considering proposed facilities.
The operators of the New England grid are restricting the amount of electricity being accepted from the three operating wind projects in the Northeast Kingdom and the North Country of New Hampshire. And there's no indication that the restrictions, called curtailments, will end anytime soon.
The problem is the electricity network gets out of synch if the turbines produce more power than is being used at any one time. So ISO issues an order to ramp back power. It's called curtailment. "We are seeing those interconnect issues with other wind projects. As we've seen the Dixville project in New Hampshire was curtailed about 50 percent," Hallquist said.
Top executives from Northeast Utilities repeatedly promised a full route announcement by the end of the year. They failed to deliver. This not only hurts their credibility in the markets but calls into question whether Northern Pass has a viable route at all."