Northern Pass Submits Bid to Sell Energy to Southern New England

Jan 29, 2016

Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Northern Pass project is bidding for a contract to sell a portion of its energy to the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The three states have requested proposals in a process they are calling the "Clean Energy RFP" which they hope will drive down the cost of large-scale renewable energy, by buying in bulk.

The program is accepting bids from utility scale wind, solar and large-scale hydropower projects, as well as hydrogen fuel-cells and even battery storage.

“We recognize that to tap the potential for affordable clean energy in our region and in neighboring areas that an investment in transmission may also be needed,” explains Katie Dykes, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, “so we allowed bidders to include in their bids any transmission costs that they think may be necessary to deliver their projects as well.”

How many and which renewable energy projects had submitted bids was not public on the day of the announcement, but two proposed power lines in Maine said they would take part, and another in Vermont is likely to jump in as well. Dykes says the process could procure as much as 15 percent of the energy Connecticut uses. Several projects will likely be selected to provide that energy, though she says “it would be really premature” to say how many will make the cut.

If the Northern Pass bid wins, ratepayers from Southern New England would pay for the contract.

“New Hampshire customers would not pay any of the costs associated with the construction of this project,” says Martin Murray, spokesman for the project, “We anticipate energy savings on the order of $80 million a year per year for New Hampshire alone.”

The Northern Pass has also signed a long term contract with its parent company, Eversource New Hampshire, to sell around 10 percent of the energy coming through the line to customers in the Granite State.