Northern Pass

LFDA Editor

Northern Pass is a proposed 180-mile transmission line which would bring electricity from Hydro-Quebec, a provincial government-owned utility which generates most of its power from hydroelectric dams, from the NH-Quebec border to a substation in Deerfield, where it would connect to the existing power grid.

Developers tout the project as providing "clean," renewable electricity, but landowners in the area and conservationists object to the project's possible deleterious impact on property values and the environment.

The project is a partnership between Hydro-Quebec, Northeast Utilities, and NSTAR. The latter two companies are privately-owned utilities which provide electricity and natural gas to customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well as New Hampshire through the Northeast Utilities subsidiary Public Service of New Hampshire.

Currently, the Northern Pass project is facing opposition at all levels of government, from the grassroots on up to U.S. Sens. Ayotte and Shaheen, both of whom have voiced concerns about how the project is being moved forward.

PROS & CONS

"For" Position

By LFDA Editor

Proponents say that the project would benefit the state and the region on several levels.  The "clean" electricity, they say, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise result from coal-generated electricity.  The influx of new power would lower electricity prices overall.  The power would not be subject to the shortages and price spikes of the fossil fuel market. The partnership also says the project would benefit the state with 1,200 jobs per year over the three-year construction phase, and add new property taxes to state and local budgets.

"Against" Position

By LFDA Editor

While much of the line would follow existing transmission lines, the Northern Pass towers would be taller than many existing power lines.  The upper 40 miles would also require new rights of way to be cut through forests and other undeveloped land, much of it privately owned.  Many of the landowners and nearby residents say that building the line would destroy the region's natural beauty, and would negatively impact both the quality of life and the economic benefits derived from tourism and agriculture.  In summer 2013 Northern Pass officials announced they were changing the route to bury eight miles of transmission lines underground.  However, many Northern Pass opponents argue that all of the lines should be buried.

At one point residents also feared that the Northern Pass Project would use eminent domain to seize private land.  That fear was allayed when the 2012 legislature passed a bill preventing the Northern Pass from using eminent domain, at least in the near future.  To learn more, visit our Eminent Domain issue page.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

In Committee

Requires a certificate for an energy facitility to contain monitoring procedures and "reasonable terms and conditions" that the Site Evaluation Committee deems necessary.

In Committee

Permits a representative of a municipality affected by a proposed energy facility to be a member of the Site Evaluation Committee for the sole purpose of voting on an application affecting his or her community.

Killed in the House

Changes the criteria for evaluating proposed transmission lines to favor buried lines

In Committee

Gives the Site Evaluation Committee the power to designate energy infrastructure corridors, "for the underground collocation of major energy transmission lines"

Signed by Governor

Requiring applicants to the Site Evaluation Committee to present alternatives, including but not limited to the burial of transmission lines in public rights of way

Tabled in the Senate

Requiring the Site Evaluation Committee to give preferential treatment to transmission line plans that bury the lines withing publicy-owned rights of way

Killed in the House

Requiring burial of transmission lines for future energy projects if the lines are not need for the "public good." This bill does not define "public good."

Killed in the House

Requiring burial of transmission lines in all "elective" projects. The Northern Pass is considered an elective project.

Killed in the House

Placing a moratorium on new transmission line projects for one year

Killed in the House

Requiring an economic impact analysis for future energy projects to determine what they will mean for jobs and incomes in local communities

Killed in the House

Requiring an energy project to receive public approval anywhere the project's structures are visible

Killed in the House

Placing a moratorium on all wind turbine and transmission line projects until the state develops a "comprehensive energy plan"

Killed in the House

Requiring the Site Evaluation Committee to deny any proposed energy facility with "unreasonable adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water quality, the natural environment, and public health and safety," and to consider the views of town governments in any decisions

Signed by Governor

Requiring an evaluation of the Site Evaluation Committee, which is responsible for approving new energy projects like the wind farm in Antrim

Signed by Governor

Establishing a state energy council to develop an energy strategy

Should NH allow the Northern Pass to proceed with some (not all) of the lines buried?

FOR
REPRESENTATIVES

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UNDECIDED
REPRESENTATIVES

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AGAINST
REPRESENTATIVES

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Comments

Alan Lewis
- Exeter

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 9:07pm

To my New Hampshire neighbors,  Please take a look at this hyperlink called "Tucker's Turn" highlighting New Hampshire's outdoors http://youtu.be/9kiD_lD0Rq8   OR this hyper link “video of a child who speaks out" a recent video and petition from Conservation Media Group.

As a NH businessman and family man with multi-generational roots in the state, who is launching a new community foundation effort in Kensington in the southern part of the state, I am deeply concerned that the big expansion of overhead power lines along a 187 mile corridor that will irreparably damage major sectors of New Hampshire's economy.
This project will benefit a few utilities and their investors, will provide few long term jobs and will not lower your electricity bills. Please remember what a New Hampshire farmer recently told me, "Electric power lines have babies." 
We need to bury or stop Northern Pass now. 
Sincerely, 
Alan Lewis
Kensington
BrianDunn's picture
Brian Dunn
- Henniker

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 10:35pm

I believe we should support the northern pass. During recession times, I do not believe it is good business to decline business. The Northern Pass is a 1.4 billion dollar project. This literally mean 1.4 billion dollars of revenue being spent within the New Hampshire boarder. I understand it may only be temporary jobs, but these are jobs non the less. The northern pass would be an investment in energy which is growing increasingly important. The Northern would temporarily increase local business revenue. The northern pass would bring more people to the state to fill the new jobs. The increase in the number of people paying taxes to the state, the more state revenue is generated.

 

I understand people are concerned about protecting the scenery of the state. I worked framing a house on a mountain side this winter. On the third floor I can see Sunapee skiing trails, Croched ski trails, and Pats Peak ski trails all from the same spot. This can be seen as business and industry leaving a large mark on New Hampshire scenery. The Northern Pass would be less blatantly visible than these popular attractions. 

Crystal Carey
- Milford

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 9:50pm

OK I get it the beauty of an area may be affected. The Northern Pass project has addressed that issue. I don't get what the other issues are? I think they should bury the lines UNLESS they can use already placed electric power lines. I am just wondering what else is the issue? I am sure the company would work with the people of New Hampshire but it seems the people of New Hampshire don't want to work with the company. I am 30 years old and have lived here all of my life. This company is offering us a way to save what we, as a state can of the environment, shouldn't we at least try to move them through here? Offer real solutions to the issues? Come on people please think with your heads.

Wayne Claflin
- Enfield

Wed, 09/25/2013 - 12:00am

I do not support Northern Pass

If the southern part of NH Cities need electricity they need to look at alternative ways wind solar

we do not need to go to another country to help support the USA

We in the USA need to be more self reliant

Also with those towers it will be a very much an EYE SORE The jobs they talk about will be temporary and the only people benefiting will be Canada not the USA

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Issue Status

On Friday, Dec. 11, the state Site Evaluation Committee issued an order that it had accepted the Northern Pass permit application. That acceptance triggered the state's official consideration of the plan and means the SEC will schedule a series of information sessions in five counties as follows:
- Merrimack County: 6 p.m., Jan. 11, Franklin Opera House, 316 Central St., Franklin;
- Rockingham County: 6 p.m. Jan. 13, Londonderry High School, 295 Mammoth Road, Londonderry;
- Belknap County: 6 p.m. Jan. 14, Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, 62 Doris Ray Court, Laconia;
- Coos County: 6 p.m. Jan. 20, Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, 101 Mountain View Road, Whitefield;
- Grafton County: 6 p.m. Jan. 21, The Mountain Club on Loon Resort and Spa, 90 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln.

In the meantime, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests sued Eversource, claiming the utility did not the right to bury a transmission line under property it owns along Route 3.The society maintains that its property rights extend above and below the surface of the road, but some legal experts say case law has given utilities permission to use use highways and railroad beds as rights of way to put their electrical wires or pipelines.

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