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Thread: FYI: Northern Pass High Voltage Transmission Project

  1. #16
    Senior Member MichaelJ's Avatar
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    The phrase in this article about "rapidly becoming cheaper" is actually a link to another article about HVDC Light, which refers to small and medium size transmissions of 5-150 megawatt, with accordingly small/light hardware.

    The Northern Pass talks about bringing 1,200 megawatts into NH. That's going to take much more serious hardware, cabling, installation, etc.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Edward Abbey

  2. #17
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    May I point out that NH is named the "Granite state". It is very rare in northern NH to have any major excavation project that doesnt run into solid ledge. The PNGTS natural gas line went way over budget several years ago when they had to blast a major portion of the line through the state. I would expect burying a new transmission line would run into a similiar issue.

    High voltage transmission lines are out of my league, but I do know that air cooling medium voltage lines can be smaller for an equivalent amperage than wires in conduits. Repair of above ground lines is a lot easier, they can be spliced readilly in place. Splicing an underground line is a far greater challenge, it can and is done but requires specialized equipment plus access the site of the problem whihc can be a challenge if it is under a river or in a wetland.

  3. #18
    Senior Member Remix's Avatar
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    Just a comment, but here in Connecticut people and certain entities have been so opposed to building new transmission lines that the Federal Government imposed a "congestion charge" on many Connecticut resident's electricity bill.

    Ironically the money goes to pay owners of older, inefficient, and dirtier plants to keep them running because power cannot be brought into the region from elsewhere.

  4. #19
    Member Spiny Mouse's Avatar
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    Close to Home

    Interesting. My home is directly adjacent to the existing power line corridor easement where they wish to put the new HVDC line.

    I walk my dog, ride my mountain bike, and cross country ski on the trails under the existing power lines. The easement is only 300 feet from where I'm sitting right now.

    Having the corridor so close is actually a nice aspect of where I live. The trails I use wouldn't exist without the corridor. The shrub type vegetation attracts deer and birds who otherwise wouldn't be around here. This isn't wilderness, but it is the big outdoors.

    Recently, Unitil made a major upgrade to the transmission lines along the corridor, replacing one of the original 3-phase systems that was many decades old (1957?) with a new system of taller towers which actually have a much smaller footprint on the ground.

    Before they did this work, they sent us a letter explaining their project to us. They had to cut trees along the corridor, but within the existing easement to get the new line in, prior to removing the old line. I'm heating my home right now (as I type!) with one of the oak trees they cut down then. I haven't received any notice from them of this proposed new line. I imagine they will need to notify all abutters at some point.

    Also, there is already an HVDC line from Hydro-Quebec running through NH down to Boston. I've spotted it north of Littleton, crossing Interstate 89 near Concord, and at the intersection of Routes 101 and 114 in Bedford. It's easy to identify because it has only two main conductors instead of the usual three.

    I've had the opportunity to tour both the Manic 2 and Manic 5 hydro dams in Quebec. These are truly impressive structures of the mega-engineering sort. Do a google map search for Manicouagan Reservoir in Quebec. It'll knock your socks off. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manicouagan_Reservoir to see where some of the power you're using now comes from.

  5. #20
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    The hydro quebec DC line actually runs through Northern Vt before swinging over to the NH side of the river. I think it crosses over somewhere around Moore Dam near Littleton. I speculate that the routing of the line through northern NH rather than colocating on the VT section is to avoid the state of VT environmental and development regs that delay any major project in the state. The PNGTS gas line did a similiar rerouting around 10 years ago where they skipped the Portland Pipeline right of way through VT before rejoining it in Gorham NH.

    "Clean Canadian Hydro" isnt, it is very similiar to the Dickey Lincoln proposed project in nortnwestern maine of many years ago but on a much larger scale. There were many protests by the local native tribes when the first dams went in. Eventually they were bought off and that model is being used for the new dams.

  6. #21
    Member wisher's Avatar
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    I hope they do things in an environmentally conscious way, but I hope the project goes through! I just interviewed for a job as an apprentice lineman the other day, and a big project like this would make it that much easier to get hired. The prospect of getting paid to work hard out in the mountains sounds pretty darn good.

  7. #22
    Member Spiny Mouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    "Clean Canadian Hydro" isnt, it is very similiar to the Dickey Lincoln proposed project in nortnwestern maine of many years ago but on a much larger scale. There were many protests by the local native tribes when the first dams went in. Eventually they were bought off and that model is being used for the new dams.
    The tribes weren't so much bought off as simply forced to accept it. Hydro power claims to be clean and environmentally friendly, but it has huge social and environmental effects, even when put in place in an area as remote as northern Quebec. When the man who spearheaded the whole notion of drawing hydro power from the region died with his arteries all clogged up, the saying was that the same thing had happened to him as he had done to the rivers in the region.

    How do we reconcile the amazing and wonderful things that humans can engineer with what they cost? The hydro systems in Quebec and Labrador which are feeding me power right now are exciting Works of Man, yet they have a cost that is being paid by strangers whose economy, society, and culture suffered to make it possible.

    I'm sure many of us here struggle with this sort of thing as we drive our petroleum drinking vehicles up to the mountains so we can go enjoy some hours in a fragile wilderness.

  8. #23
    Senior Member LRiz's Avatar
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    Facebook opposition group.

    I am disgusted by this project and the sheer devastation it will cause... for the sake of supplying the majority of its electrical power to southern New England states.

  9. #24
    Senior Member TDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Mouse View Post
    Hydro power claims to be clean and environmentally friendly, but it has huge social and environmental effects, even when put in place in an area as remote as northern Quebec.
    True. A good example of the social and environmental detriments are the dams, both built and proposed, for the Yangtze River in China. The one with the most press time was the Three Gorges Dam. You don't hear the international uproar when huge projects are built in the middle-of-nowhere Quebec or Labrador. But when millions of people are displaced, and important archaeological sites are inundated, it's another story.

    As for Canada, google Churchill Falls (Labrador) and look at before and after pics. Not much of a falls anymore.

    Other major power projects to look at are "James Bay Project" and the stations on the Manicouagan River. One of the dams on the Manicouagan forms, "the eye of Quebec."

    Edit: Just noticed Spiny Mouse's link to Manicouagan. Great minds think alike?
    Last edited by TDawg; 11-12-2010 at 08:00 PM.

  10. #25
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Mouse View Post
    Hydro power claims to be clean and environmentally friendly,
    Not if you happen to be a fish...

    Doug

  11. #26
    Senior Member Waumbek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRiz View Post
    Facebook opposition group.

    I am disgusted by this project and the sheer devastation it will cause... for the sake of supplying the majority of its electrical power to southern New England states.
    There's a greenie coming your way on this one. Thank you. From what I have been reading since I first posted, this proposed powerline, using a 150' cleared ROW now in the Reel Brook area, will continually be subjected to "upgrades"--more lines and consequent widening of the ROW down the road as more and more Hydro Quebec power ziplines south on it. The overhead HVDC lines must be spaced 100' from one another. By 2050 I can envision the crossing of the AT on the Kinsman Ridge looking like the armpit of the Whites. The current 40-50' wooden poles will look like toothpicks.

  12. #27
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRiz View Post
    Facebook opposition group.

    I am disgusted by this project and the sheer devastation it will cause... for the sake of supplying the majority of its electrical power to southern New England states.
    Assuming more power has to be supplied to southern NE states, are there other alternatives? Bring it down thru NY? Wait for off-shore windmills to be built and buy power from them?

  13. #28
    Senior Member drewski's Avatar
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    maybe a nuke plant in dalton would work???

  14. #29
    Senior Member Craig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiny Mouse View Post
    Interesting. My home is directly adjacent to the existing power line corridor easement where they wish to put the new HVDC line.

    I walk my dog, ride my mountain bike, and cross country ski on the trails under the existing power lines. The easement is only 300 feet from where I'm sitting right now.
    Have you done any research into the EMF issue?
    Enjoy your best

  15. #30
    Member wisher's Avatar
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    EM radiation is going to turn you into a zombie

    They've done decades of research on the matter, and thousands of studies. None have ever established a causal link between EMF and any adverse effects in plants, humans, or other animals. For that matter, keep in mind that your compass wouldn't work without EMF.

    It'd be nice in ways if society were suddenly replaced with a primitive society with far fewer people and subsequently less impact on the world. However, as an instant Utopian society isn't likely anytime soon, we might as well live in the real world. So until that time, I'll be enjoying my computers, electricity and the comforts they provide (like this forum).

    From a conservation aspect, I definitely understand the view that once a pristine wilderness area is ruined, it's probably ruined forever. If it's really contentious hopefully they won't do it. It's terrible what they've done to some of the Appalachians down South. But I think they do a pretty good job here of stewardship. I don't think they'll let any project through without making sure it's the best alternative with the least impact.
    Last edited by wisher; 11-13-2010 at 07:31 AM. Reason: forgot period

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