Next Stops for Northern Pass
Opponents to the proposed Northern Pass transmission line are expected out in full force tomorrow for public hearings on two bills that could change — or derail — that project.
The House Science, Energy and Technology Committee will meet in Representatives Hall to consider two measures:
- House Bill 648, denying all eminent domain petitions to any large-scale transmission project, sponsored by Rep. Laurence Rappaport (R-Colebrook)
- House Bill 649, establishing guidelines for regional planning commissions to do separate economic and social impact studies on the Northern Pass project, sponsored by Rep. Rick Ladd (R-Haverhill)
In its current incarnation, Northern Pass calls for building 140 miles of direct-current transmission line in New Hampshire, from the Canadian border to a converter terminal in the City of Franklin (the terminal would convert Canadian direct current application to American alternating current). The 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydro-power would then be sent to a substation in Deerfield and connected to the New England power grid. An estimated 45 miles of new right-of-way agreements would be needed in the North Country for 135-foot-tall transmission towers, to be spaced about 800 feet apart.
Opponents such as the organization Bury the Northern Pass say the privately financed project will mar the landscape, drive down property values and generate little economic benefit beyond the converter station. Passions ran high last month when a hearing about changing the state’s renewable energy portfolio standards to include large-scale hydro-power was seen as an endorsement of the Northern Pass project. Dozens of people showed up to speak against Northern Pass, and the related did not make it out of committee.
If it goes forward, the Northern Pass transmission lines would be built, owned and maintained by Northern Pass Transmission LLC, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities (which also owns PSNH). On the Canadian side, Hydro Renewable Energy Inc. (a subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec) would pay transmission fees to Northern Pass Transmission.
>> Wednesday, March 9, public hearings on HB 648 and HB 649 in the House Science, Energy and Technology Committee, Representatives Hall at the State House, beginning at 10:15 a.m.
This Daily Dispatch was written by Michael McCord.