Northern Pass Submits Formal Application to State Reviewers

Oct 19, 2015

The Northern Pass has submitted its application to state officials.

The proposed 192-mile power line that would connect New England to Canadian hydro-power has been mired in controversy since it was announced in 2010. But with the filing of Monday's application, New Hampshire's Site Evaluation Committee now has until December of 2016 to approve or reject the project.

Northern Pass spokeswoman Lauren Collins said the project as submitted to the Site Evaluation Committee is “very similar to what we talked about in August.” Collins noted the proposal swaps out 60 steel-lattice transmission towers for what she called “more streamlined monopoles" to address complaints about spoiled views.

Eversource, Northern Pass's parent company, also upped its estimate as to the overall project’s cost. The company now says the Northern pass will cost $1.6 billion dollars, instead of the $ 1.4 billion.

Back in August, the company announced it would bury 52 miles of the power line, in addition to the 8 miles of proposed buried power lines near the Canadian border from the last time it modified the route.

Some of the projects’ critics said they were encouraged by this change, but the most hardened opponents had hoped all the lines would be buried.

Ken Kimball, with the Appalachian Mountain Club – one of the project’s most staunch opponents – says it will face challenges at every step of the process, including before the application is even deemed complete.

“Assuming the application is complete, and assuming that the applicant can actually demonstrate that it has complete ownership of the right-of-way, which is a question that will be challenged,” says Kimball, “they have to get through those hurdles before the rest of that process would start.”

As of press time, the application had not been yet posted to the SEC website, but it was available at the project developer's website. In a filing last week Northern Pass stated that the application would be over 25,000 pages of materials.

If the application is deemed complete, which should happen within 60 days, the SEC must finish its review by December of next year. Northern Pass has said it would take two years to build the power line.

“As far as our intentions for what other modifications to the plan going forward, we’ll now take our cues from what the SEC determines in its review,” said Collins.