Library filed under Transmission from New Hampshire
A state committee unanimously voted Thursday to deny an application for Northern Pass. All seven members of the Site Evaluation Committee agreed that Northern Pass had not met its burden to show the proposed transmission line would not “unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region.”
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.
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.
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, which has led opposition to the hydroelectric transmission project for the past five years, filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Coos County Superior Court, seeking to block the path of the line through a conservation area the society owns in Clarksville, near the Canadian border.
The application includes a new project cost estimate of $1.6 billion, up from $1.4 billion, due mostly to the project changes announced in August. Those changes included burying an additional 52 miles of the 190-mile transmission line, which increased the cost, and reducing its size from 1,200 megawatts to 1,090 megawatts, resulting in some offsetting savings.
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.
“It's a 24-mile right of way through Bayroot land, from the Dixville-Stewarstown line, down to Dummer,” said Will Abbott, vice president for policy and land management at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “The lease agreement between Bayroot and Northern Pass appears to bind the two parties together for a joint venture of developing a new wind project up in Northern Coos County on other land owned by Bayroot.”
The EIS is required to assess the potential environmental impacts of the plan to bring hydroelectric power from Quebec into New England on high-voltage power lines through New Hampshire. The draft, subject to public input, is expected to contain approximately 2,000 pages of material.
Earlier this month, two of Hydro-Quebec’s transmission lines funneling power from James Bay to Quebec went out, causing about 188,000 customers in Canada to lose power during the outage’s peak. The outage meant that more than 2,000 megawatts of power bound from Canada to the New England grid didn’t show. And that drove grid operator ISO-New England to launch reactionary procedures to keep electricity flowing south of the border.
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.
“We in New England deserve better than Northern Pass, and most especially New Hampshire deserves better,” wrote Arnold, in part. “We will not trade away the majestic beauty of New Hampshire. We will insist on smart, modern, and well-planned energy projects that protect our invaluable natural and scenic resources, not compromise them.”
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.
We would love to find solutions to get our southern neighbors the juice they need without destroying our pristine forests." Vermont already imports around a quarter of its electricity from Hydro-Quebec, and is exploring strengthening its connection with the Canadian utility.
A bill passed by the House on Wednesday directing the state's Site Evaluation Committee to "give preference" to burying electric transmission lines as it considers Northern Pass and other projects will go directly to the state Senate rather than a House committee.
House Bill 569 would not mandate that the lines be buried, as a pending Senate bill would. It tells the state Site Evaluation Committee that the burial of transmission lines is "the preferred, but not required, option for locating all new electric transmission lines" with towers more than 50 feet in height.
“Here’s where I think Northern Pass is today,” said Jack Savage, spokesman for the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests. “I would say the project is in jeopardy as long as Northern Pass and Hydro-Quebec refuse to look at more undergrounding of the proposed line.” ...The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee is pushing a bill that would direct the SEC to give preference to privately funded energy projects if they bury their transmission lines.