On Aug. 31, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee voted 6-0 in favor of pushing back its Sept. 30 deadline for making a decision on the Norther Pass transmission project. The NH-SEC is now aiming to announce its decision by Feb. 28, with a formal written decision released by March 31, 2018.
Despite the further delay, Northern Pass spokeswoman Kaitlyn Woods responded with optimism saying that project officials, “remain confident in our ability to achieve a 2020 in-service date.”
The NH-SEC had set a deadline of December 2016 to make a decision, then extended it to Sept. 30, 2017, before extending it yet again.
Pushing the review back again will set the projected completion date back into 2020. The idea of the Northern Pass project had its inception in 2011. This further delay will push this project’s forecasted completion date to almost a decade from the time initial discussions began.
“These delays continue to hurt the economy and kill jobs in the state,” said Brian Murphy, business manager for IBEW Local 104.
“At a time when the Trump administration and federal agencies are speeding up decisions and improving efficiency on the permitting of key infrastructure projects, New Hampshire is mired in a regulatory swamp,” Murphy said.
Northern Pass is a proposed 200-mile transmission line that when complete will carry 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power from Hydro-Quebec in Canada through New Hampshire to provide additional power to the New England power grid.
Commenting further on the effect of continued delays to the Northern Pass project, IBEW International Representative Joe Casey stated, “It is very disheartening to have to explain to the thousands of local workers who could be employed on this project that the State of New Hampshire has decided to delay final approval again.”
This further delay continues to put a burden on the IBEW 104 members in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont who are hoping to work on this project, as well as delaying the substantial economic benefits that the Northern Pass will bring to communities and residents throughout New England.