Hydro Quebec

Fred Bever / Maine Public

By Fred Bever, Maine Public

 

While the Trump administration is working to prop up coal-fired power plants, many states are on the hunt for renewable energy. In New England, though, a plan by Massachusetts to tap into Canada's vast, low-polluting hydroelectric dam system is drawing fire.

 

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Northern Pass project will go back before the state Site Evaluation Committee next month.

The panel denied the huge power line proposal in February, and developer Eversource had asked it to reconsider.

Now that its written denial of the project is out, the committee has set a hearing on the issue for May 24 in Concord, with an extra day scheduled for June 4 if necessary.

File photo

Massachusetts has picked another big transmission line for a potential energy contract, with the Northern Pass project in doubt.

That new project is New England Clean Energy Connect, which would bring Canadian hydropower through Maine.

Massachusetts regulators announced late Friday they would start negotiating a contract with the project's developer, Central Maine Power Company.

NHPR File Photo

Eversource’s Northern Pass transmission line is the sole project picked for long-term energy contract negotiations with Massachusetts.

Officials made the announcement Thursday afternoon, less than a week before New Hampshire begins its final permitting deliberations on the controversial project.

Northern Pass would carry 1,090 megawatts of power from Hydro Quebec dams to the New England grid, over a partly-buried 192-mile power line. It would run under New Hampshire’s White Mountains and mainly follow existing transmission lines, ending in Deerfield.

NHPR

Sam Evans-Brown, host of Outside/In, the NHPR podcast about the natural world and how we use it, discusses the podcast's latest series, Powerline. We hear about how the development of the world's fourth-largest hydropower producer, Hydro-Québec, impacted French Canadians, and the indigenous people of Québec...also, how this hydropower company is connected to a controversial power project in New Hampshire, Northern Pass.

This show originally aired on November 29, 2017. 


Hannah McCarthy for NHPR

As the proposed Northern Pass power line – which would connect New England to Canadian hydroelectric power – works its way through the state siting process, officials took opened the floor on Wednesday at a hearing in Concord to receive public feedback.

This hearing drew some of the most steadfast critics of Canadian hydropower: an indigenous community from Northern Quebec.

Sunset Power Lines
Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

State regulators have pushed back a decision on whether to approve the controversial Northern Pass project by nine months.  The deadline for the decision has been set for September 30, 2017. 

State statutes say applications to build major energy facilities should be completed within one year of the application's submission, which would mean the decision would be due in December of 2016.  But that same law also says the committee can suspend  that deadline if doing so is "in the public interest."

The hydroelectric power line project known as the Northern Pass has passed a major regulatory hurdle Tuesday.


Northern Pass Exec Hosts Romney Fundraiser

Nov 1, 2011

The Boston Globe is reporting that an official working for the controversial Northern Pass project is hosting a fundraiser for presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“According to an invitation provided by the liberal Center for American Progress, Greg Butler, the senior vice president and general counsel for The Northern Pass, is one of the co-chairs of a $500-a-head fundraiser for Romney at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan this Wednesday evening,” the newspaper reported.