This past year was an important one in the Northern Pass saga. In 2015 Eversource announced the Forward New Hampshire Plan, which included the plans for a redesigned route that includes underground transmission lines along roads in and around the White Mountain national Forest and Franconia Notch region. The new Forward NH plan will have nearly $4 billion in benefits for New Hampshire, including reduced energy costs, increased tax revenues for NH communities, as well as an estimated $2.1 billion boost to the state economy and the creation of 2,400 jobs.
Northern Pass also filed its application with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC), the state’s siting authority for significant energy projects. Eversource held five Public Information Sessions where residents learned more about the project and submitted comments to the SEC. Eversource also met with municipalities and residents along the route throughout the fall, answering their questions and gathering their feedback.
Now that it is the end of the year, let’s look at some of the Northern Pass highlights, as well as what we can look forward to in 2016.
January 29: The Coös County Jobs Creation Association announces its members made up of local residents and business owners.
March 26: Northern Pass partners with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to create the $3 million Partners for New Hampshire’s Fish and Wildlife. The program aims to protect and restore healthy forests and rivers throughout the state through grants to local organizations doing work to sustain local habitats.
July 21: The Department of Energy releases its draft Environmental Impact Statement, examining the potential impact the project could have on the environment and economy. It shows overall potential visual impact of the project will be low to very low, that Northern Pass will generate $564 million in economic output during construction, and will reduce regional carbon emissions by 8 percent.
August 18: Northern Pass announces the Forward NH Plan, which includes 52 additional miles of underground line, for a total of 60 miles underground, and nearly $4 billion in benefits.
August 31: Hydro-Québec and Eversource Energy reaffirm their commitment to bring clean, competitively-priced electricity to New Hampshire and the region.
September 2-10: Northern Pass held a series of pre-application Public Information Sessions in all five counties where the project will be located as part of our SEC filing process.
October 19: Northern Pass files its application with the SEC.
November 12: The U.S. Department of Energy releases a supplement to the draft Environmental Impact Statement, which focused on the portions of the route that include additional underground lines.
December 7: The SEC votes unanimously that the Northern Pass application is complete.
December 18: The SEC issues a written order officially deeming the Northern Pass application complete and moving the project forward in the state permitting process.
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) process will continue with five post-application Public Information Sessions in January.
• Merrimack County: January 11 at 6 p.m., Franklin Opera House, 316 Central Street, Franklin, NH
• Rockingham County: January 13 at 6 p.m., Londonderry High School, 295 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, NH
• Belknap County: January 14 at 6 p.m., Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, 62 Doris Ray Court, Laconia, NH
• Coös County: January 20 at 6 p.m., Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, 101 Mountain View Road, Whitefield, NH
• Grafton County: January 21 at 6 p.m., The Mountain Club on Loon Resort and Spa, 90 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, NH
The Department of Energy will also host a series of public hearings where residents can comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement on Northern Pass. The times and locations will be announced soon.
We have a lot to look forward to in the coming year regarding the Northern Pass project, so let’s make sure we get out and give full support to make sure the Northern Pass becomes a reality.