Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley: This week the public has a chance to weigh in on the future of the state’s Site Evaluation Committee. The SEC reviews major utility projects, including proposed wind farms and the Northern Pass project.
The concerns of opponents of those projects prompted Governor Hassan to sign Senate Bill 99. It calls for a review of how the SEC works with a report due at the end of December.
This week’s listening sessions and workshops include one tonight in Manchester.
A series of public meetings begin the first week in December to determine what changes, if any, should be made to how the state’s Site Evaluation Committee works, including whether the public should have a decision-making role in approving new utility projects.
The SEC reviews major utility projects, which will include Northern Pass.
Currently the SEC has fifteen members, all from state agencies.
A developer has proposed another transmission project that would link Canadian hydro-power to consumers in Southern New England. As proposed the project would be 150 miles through Vermont, and be entirely underground and underwater.
The transmission line is called the New England Clean Power Link. It would run from Southern Quebec, buried along the bottom of Lake Champlain before turning east for 50 miles to Ludlow, Vermont, where it would plug into the New England grid.
Paul Grenier, the mayor of Berlin, one of three Coos Country Commissioners and an advocate of the Northern Pass was a lonely guy Wednesday evening at the U.S. Department of Energy’s third public hearing on the project.
Grenier walked through a sea of orange to reach the podium.
There were about 350 people gathered at the Mountain View Grand Resort and most wore orange, a symbol of their opposition to Northern Pass.
The Department of Energy has moved a planned hearing on the proposed Northern Pass power project from West Stewartstown to Colebrook at the request of New Hampshire's congressional delegation, so more people can attend. U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster had said the original location might not be big enough. The Sept. 26 hearing has been moved to Colebrook Elementary School from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A public "scoping" hearing on Northern Pass is being moved from West Stewartstown to Colebrook after the state’s Congressional delegation and Coos County Commissioner Rick Samson raised concerns.
The site is being changed “in response to public requests that raised concerns about insufficient capacity” at a restaurant in West Stewartstown, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The meeting will now be held at the Colebrook Elementary School, 27 Dumont Street from 5 to 8 pm on September 26.
The campaign to promote this Canadian Hydropower project, focused until now on the North Country, has moved into central regions of the state. Many of the concerns about towers and landscapes heard up North are being echoed elsewhere, but so are arguments that the state needs this source of renewable energy.
More than 100 people showed up to an information session about the Northern Pass project in Concord last night. It was the sixth and southernmost of a series of ten scheduled sessions.
Central New Hampshire residents got the most detailed look to date of the route. The main attraction was a series of five computers where residents could look up the footprint of the project in relation to their property.
Northern Pass says it will provide $7.5 million to fund a job-creation effort in Coos County, but the money won’t be available unless the controversial project is approved.
Northern Pass wanted to do something beyond the estimated 1,200 construction jobs the project would create statewide, said Gary Long, the past president of Public Service and now an official with Northern Pass.
New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is asking the U.S. Department of Energy whether the federal agency’s evaluation of the Northern Pass Transmission project can proceed if Northern Pass doesn’t have permission to use some segments of its new route.
For the project to move ahead the D.O.E. must give a Presidential Permit allowing the hydro-electric power to be brought across the border from Canada.