Northern Pass

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: September 22, 2017

22 hours ago

The Cassidy-Graham healthcare proposal receives mixed response in the Granite State. Community college officials were grilled by New Hampshire lawmakers concerned about a recent audit.  And V.A. whistle blowers raise concerns about continued problems at the facility.


  The state committee reviewing Northern Pass has pushed back its deadline to make a decision, but a spokesman for the hydro-electric transmission project tells NHPR, “the end is in sight.”

 

“To use an overused sports analogy,” Martin Murray says, “We’re in the fourth quarter.”

 

Others might say it is overtime.

 

What's Happening With The Northern Pass Project?

Sep 13, 2017
NorthernPass.us

The decision on the hydro-electric transmission project, which would bring power from Canada to New England, has been postponed yet again. We review the goals of this $1.6 billion proposal and examine how the debate around it has changed since it was first presented in 2010.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A public hearing will be held Wednesday in Concord to hear from residents on the proposed Northern Pass project, the next step in the state Site Evaluation Committee's review process.

The panel is expected to vote sometime later this year on whether to approve the $1.6 billion project.

If approved, the Northern Pass would run from Pittsburg to Deerfield, carrying hydroelectricity from Canada into southern New England.

File photo

 The U.S. Department of Energy is recommending approval of a key permit in the Northern Pass power project.

The department on Thursday released its final environmental impact study of the project, which seeks to run a 192-mile transmission line from Pittsburg to Deerfield, carrying enough hydropower to southern New England markets to power about a million homes.

Richard McNeil/Wikimedia Commons

Several high profile energy transmission projects submitted their applications Thursday, as the deadline passed for the next round of Massachusetts's clean energy program.

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.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

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

National Grid is holding a series of ‘community meetings’ to gather input and discuss details of its proposed Granite State Power Link project, which would bring hydropower from Canada through New Hampshire on its way to southern New England.

After meeting with residents in Littleton last week, National Grid is holding public sessions in Monroe on Monday at 6:30 pm inside the Town Hall. On Tuesday, representatives will be in Webster’s Town Hall, starting at 6:30 pm.

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has given permission for a 192-mile high-voltage transmission line to cross 61 parcels, finding it would be safe and wouldn't infringe on the public's use.

The Northern Pass project cleared the hurdle this month when the PUC granted permission to developer Eversource for 57 overhead land and four underground water crossings that are mostly on property controlled by the developer and licensed for power lines.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: June 16, 2017

Jun 16, 2017

N.H. House and Senate negotiators reach a deal on the $11.7 billion budget this week but the spending plan is facing pushback from both sides of the aisle ahead of next week's full vote. At a hearing on the Northern Pass project, opponents show up in force. And bears continue to make news in the Granite State. 


Todd Bookman/NHPR

Members of the public were given their latest chance to weigh in on Northern Pass, a proposed utility transmission project that would bring hydropower from Quebec to Southern New England via New Hampshire.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Picture unspoiled wild forest, the type of place only animals and Boy Scouts feel at home. Now erase that image from your mind, and picture a power line right of way: one of those ruler-straight strips of utility poles that brutishly slash through the woods. Would anything choose that for a home?

Evolving Energy In New England

Apr 24, 2017
Tafe Sa Tonsley; Flickr

As several power plants in New England are planning to retire in the next few years, states are facing pressure to move toward more environmentally friendly power sources. As a result, the Northern Pass Project and other energy infrastructure developments are for looking to Canada, renewable energy, and wind.


Weekly N.H. News Roundup: April 14, 2017

Apr 14, 2017

A bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana hits a snag in the Senate.  All eyes are on two of Governor Sununu's nominees for the Dept. of Labor and the Dept. of Environmental Services.  And the Northern Pass transmission project begins lengthy hearings before the Site Evaluation Committee. 


Josh Rogers for NHPR

Northern Pass interveners and opponents, Eversource staff, and lawyers - many lawyers - gathered in a big, rented room with custard-colored walls. And that’s where they will be every day until these hearings end, weeks from now.

US DOE

  A seven-year battle over the Northern Pass transmission project takes a critical step forward Thursday when a hearing begins on the $1.6 billion plan to bring power from Canada to markets mostly in southern New England.

New Hampshire's Site Evaluation Committee will determine whether it can be built. The hearing, which could last for months, is expected to draw supporters and opponents of the controversial project. One of the first people to testify will be an executive from Eversource, which is proposing the project.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 31, 2017

Mar 31, 2017

The New Hampshire House gets ready to vote on it's version of the state budget, but some conservatives say the Republican-crafted budget is too rich.  New Hampshire's two U.S. senators say they'll vote against Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court pick.  A new energy project coming from Canada and an adverse decision by regulators thickens the plot when it comes to the Northern Pass project.  


National Grid

Utility company National Grid says it wants to build a new transmission line that would bring 1,200 megawatts of renewable power from Canada into New England. The major new project would take a different route than the controversial Northern Pass proposal put forward by Eversource.

File photo

New Hampshire utility regulators have rejected Eversource's plan to purchase about ten percent of the power from the proposed Northern Pass Project.

The proposed agreement would have reserved 100 megawatts of the Northern Pass power line for Eversource.

The deal was rolled out as a way to show that the energy over the power line would in fact benefit New Hampshire rate-payers.

NH Division of Resource and Economic Development

During a previously unannounced trade mission to Montreal, Governor Chris Sununu spoke warmly on Monday about hundreds of years of economic ties between Quebec and New Hampshire.

File photo

A new report from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy says New Hampshire doesn’t necessarily need to increase energy production to grow the economy.

The report challenges a widely held economic outlook in the state that says new sources of energy, like gas pipelines or transmission wires, are needed to bring down the cost of electricity for business to grow.

Michael Kappel / Flickr CC

  The New Hampshire Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's ruling that the Northern Pass energy project has the right to bury a power line under a North Country highway.

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests sued Eversource, saying it didn't have the right to bury the line under land the society owns on Route 3 in Clarksville.

Michael Brindley

 

The contentious Northern Pass transmission line project will have its strongest advocate yet in New Hampshire's corner when Republican Gov.-elect Chris Sununu takes office.

Northern Pass is a plan to bring enough megawatts to power roughly 1 million homes from Canada into the New England energy grid through mostly overhead transmission lines running down New Hampshire.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

State Senator Jeff Woodburn of Dalton has a little more at stake this election than most of his State House colleagues. If he wins re-election, and his fellow Democrats manage to secure a majority in the Senate, Woodburn is poised to become Senate President, the second-highest ranking official in state government.

But first Woodburn must win re-election to his seat representing the North Country, where he faces an opponent running on a single, very local issue: the Northern Pass energy project. 

Sunset Power Lines
Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

A New Hampshire assistant attorney general representing the public will conduct five workshops from Concord to Colebrook in the coming weeks on the impact the Northern Pass energy project could have on places of scenic beauty or that have cultural or historic significance.

The first of the meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Ashland Elementary School auditorium. Other workshops are scheduled in Concord, Littleton, Colebrook and Lancaster.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Northern Pass -- the proposed power line that would connect New England to Canadian hydropower -- has won a victory in Coos County Superior Court. A judge has dismissed a suit brought by the project's primary opponent, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

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."

Ivo Rocha Jr / Flickr/CC

We’ll check in with where the Northern Pass project stands, and what’s next in the process.

 

GUESTS:

 

Debating N.H.'s Energy Future

Mar 24, 2016
Sabatino Bahir / Flickr/CC

Granite State businesses have long bemoaned New Hampshire's high energy costs, complaining they discourage expansion here and even tempt some firms to leave the state.  Last fall, the Business and Industry Association launched a new campaign called Energize NH to focus attention on what it calls a crisis:  the high price of energy and the need for more infrastructure and supply to lower those costs. The Energize NH campaign comes at a key time, when the Granite State seems engaged in a huge discussion about energy over pipelines and powerlines, and whether other approaches and other ways of thinking are in order, including better efficiency, a smarter grid, and an emphasis on those power sources that don't contribute to climate change.

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