Electricity Markets

Appeal on rejection of new transmission line in New England

Northern Pass officials on Feb. 28 filed an appeal with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee asking the committee to reconsider its recent 7-0 decision to reject an application for the Northern Pass 192-mile, $1.6 billion transmission system that would deliver lower-cost Canadian hydropower through New Hampshire and into neighboring Massachusetts.

Officials with Northern Pass recently indicated that they intended to file an appeal of the Feb. 1 decision by the committee.

The Northern Pass Transmission Line Project was to have been under construction as early as April, with a 2020 completion date. The hydropower to be delivered by the project to New England’s power grid would come from Hydro-Québec’s hydroelectric plants.

Northern Pass officials on Feb. 28 filed a motion with the evaluation committee requesting the committee vacate its recent decision and resume deliberations on the proposed project. The motion outlines a comprehensive set of commitments that could provide the basis for granting conditional approval, Northern Pass said.

The solution offered by Northern Pass is comprised of conditions received from New Hampshire state agencies that have approved the project and conditions agreed to with New Hampshire’s Counsel for the Public, the statutory representative of the New Hampshire public interest.

In addition, Northern Pass put forward examples of additional conditions the Site Evaluation Committee could impose to address specific concerns expressed during its deliberations.

Northern Pass said that in its original Site Evaluation Committee application, it contemplated the need to further economic development, tourism, community investment and clean energy innovation, and these are the four focus areas for its $200 million “Forward NH Fund.”

Northern Pass said that commitments highlighted in its Feb. 28 motion include the following specific allocations from the fund: (1) $25 million to address property value impacts in affected communities; (2) $25 million for promoting tourism and recreation in the affected areas; (3) $25 million for economic development in host communities to address local impacts.

Other proposed commitments include, among other things, transmission upgrades in the North Country to promote existing (400 MW) and new small-scale renewable generation ($50 million) and right-of-way lease benefits that Northern Pass said will lower customers’ transmission costs and advance distributed generation, energy storage and electric vehicle initiatives ($30 million).

Mass. negotiating with second grid project to deliver hydropower

The Northern Pass project recently was chosen by Massachusetts to advance to contract negotiations under a procurement issued in 2017.

The solicitation process was the result of a law passed in 2016 by the Massachusetts Legislature to provide new sources of clean energy by 2020.

Northern Pass was one of dozens of projects proposed in response to the solicitation. The Northern Pass Transmission Line Project bid was submitted by Eversource and Hydro-Québec.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts officials recently said they are conducting concurrent negotiations with Central Maine Power as well as Northern Pass Transmission for a transmission project that would provide the state with new sources of clean energy by 2020.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has selected CMP's New England Clean Energy Connect project as a potential replacement for Northern Pass if the latter does not win approval from New Hampshire regulators by March 27.