In Webster, Residents Weigh In On New Proposed Power Line

Jul 18, 2017

An employee for National Grid speaks with a local resident during a community meeting in Webster.
Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR

Residents of Webster and nearby communities gathered Tuesday night to learn more about National Grid’s recently proposed energy transmission project.

The $1 billion Granite State Power Link plan would carry Canadian wind- and hydro-power through Vermont, crossing into New Hampshire in Littleton. From there, it would travel 100 or so miles south to Londonderry, where the line would terminate at a new switching station. The route passes through sections of Salisbury, Webster, Concord and Hopkinton.

Inside of Webster Town Hall, staff members from National Grid pointed out that the New Hampshire portion of the route would run along existing utility corridors. That pleased residents including Jerry Buckley, who expressed reservations about a rival energy transmission project: Northern Pass, which is backed by Eversouce.

“Before I heard about alternatives, I was inclined to think ‘that’s tough, but it sounds like it is necessary.’  Now I’m thinking, Northern Pass still sounds tough, but it doesn’t sound necessary, compared to this,” said Buckley.

Still, not everyone thought highly of this new alternative. Geri Burgess of nearby Salisbury doesn’t appreciate New Hampshire being used as an ‘extension cord’ for power destined for other markets.

“I think those people south of here who want to use the energy should help finance from Canada out to the ocean, down through the water. When it gets to Massachusetts, put it back in where they want it,” she said. “It doesn’t have to go through New Hampshire.”

The event was the latest in a series of ‘community meetings’ organized by National Grid to explain its plan and gather feedback. The utility company still needs to obtain state and federal approval for the project, and won’t know until January of 2018 if it has been selected by the state of Massachusetts as an approved provider of clean energy.

While National Grid looks to earn public support, Eversource continues to make its case for the Northern Pass project, which is currently the subject of hearings before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee. Northern Pass, which was first proposed six years ago, follows a different route, tracing from Pittsburg to Deerfield, as it also looks to bring Canadian hydropower into southern New England.  It would require approximately 40-miles of new transmission lines.