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Thread: FYI: Northern Pass High Voltage Transmission Project

  1. #361
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    And now the second front begins before the SEC

    http://www.unionleader.com/Northern-...ate-regulators

    The SEC in the past has been regarded as a rubber stamp for developers. Although some private individuals try to be intervenors , the process is set up by and for lawyers. SPNHF and other organizers have been building up war chests though donations to intervene but for whatever they bring to the table, Eversource has effectively unlimited resources. A lot less expensive to spend a lot of money on lawyers instead of ended up with an increased project budget due to forced changes (I.E. more burial).

  2. #362
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    In some ways this article left me with more questions than answers. I clearly don't understand all the inside baseball going on. I'd be interested in others' thoughts, especially whether the law really allows the SEC to conduct a technical evaluation (presumably at great expense to the taxpayers of NH) when the application is incomplete.

    State officials: Northern Pass has not documented needed property rights --Union Leader November 17, 2105
    CONCORD ó State environmental officials say the application filed by Northern Pass with the state Site Evaluation Committee is incomplete because the developers canít prove they have the necessary property rights for the project.

    http://www.unionleader.com/State-off...roperty-rights

  3. #363
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    Interesting news on Northern Pass SEC application

    http://www.unionleader.com/State-off...roperty-rights

    Unless Eversource gets eminent domain rights, the lack of property rights will delay the project for quite awhile as I expect both sides will appeal as far as they can go. I looks like the opposition may be shifting from a compromise of allowing the project completely buried to going to get it canceled. I expect that even if the Lake Champlain line through VT gets built, recent moves in mass to get Quebec to supply power to replace the Pilgram and Vermont Yankee nuclear plants will mean that NP will still be needed.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 11-20-2015 at 06:19 AM.

  4. #364
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  5. #365
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    No surpise that SPNHF has now filed in court to block:
    http://nhpr.org/post/forest-society-...-northern-pass

    The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, one of the state's oldest conservation groups, has asked the Coos County Superior Court to block the Northern Pass project, a power line which would connect New England to Canadian hydropower. The petition claims the Forest Society owns the land under Route 3 in Clarksville where the project plans to bury the proposed line.


    In separate news, the governor has asked that the DOE public hearings be delayed (and maybe expanded due to driving distances involved for some).
    http://www.unionleader.com/article/2...WS05/151129957

  6. #366
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    So Vermonster would you concur that SPNHF has shifted to killing the entire project versus mitigating its impact by full burial?. I am concerned that there could be some pretty substantial pushback from taxpayers on the lead environmental organizations when the taxpayers in the towns learn the potential lost tax revenues from the project not being built.

    Of course this may also just be brinkmanship on SPNHFs part, bury it all or kill the project in its entirety. Unfortunately in order for brinkmanship to work, the party has to be willing to deal with the consequences and killing the project pulls a lot of long term revenue and short term construction jobs with it. Of course NP started the brinkmanship already by stating publically that any additional accommodations would kill the project.

  7. #367
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    A couple of new articles involving the NH PUC which is new "front" in the campaign to stop or bury the line.

    A challenge to the right for PSNH to transfer right of way rights to NP

    http://www.unionleader.com/Northern-...ease-questions

    I am somewhat disappointed that the Sierra Club is the lead on this effort as they tend to be environmental "carpet baggers" only showing up when there is a high profile project with poor long term follow through

    And the PUC commissioner recuses himself from NP activities

    http://www.unionleader.com/article/2...978&source=RSS

    Unfortunately I don't know if this is plus or minus. State political circles are quite small and generally state boards tend to be somewhat balanced. Losing a high profile member could shift the balance of the PUC one way or another and also impact the SEC.

  8. #368
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I am somewhat disappointed that the Sierra Club is the lead on this effort as they tend to be environmental "carpet baggers" only showing up when there is a high profile project with poor long term follow through
    The article says it's the state (NH) chapter, which is perhaps less carpetbaggy but no less concerning...these were the guys trying to turn the WMNF over to the Park Service, correct?

  9. #369
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    I wish I understood all of the motivations of the many players involved here. It's not just the "No Towers" crowd that is against this project.
    At least one electric industry group have filed a formal letter with the SEC: http://www.rtoinsider.com/northern-pass-siting-19892/ and paid for a legal opinion from a rather prestigious law firm (Foley Hoag) that I am sure did not come cheaply. The opinion not only raises the concerns of site control (right of way), but also raises the issue of affiliate transaction protections for NH ratepayers. I assume this in part has to do with the lease described in the Sierra Club article. (I know little of the power transmission industry but had to laugh at the $11 million valuation figure considering what NP spent on land acquisition for the parts they did not have access to).

    As someone with little knowledge of the power generation and transmission business it seems nearly impossible to figure out the economics. For example, both CLF and a recent Analysis Group report comissioned by the Massachusetts AG seem to call into question the "cheap" aspect of Canadian hydro.
    http://www.clf.org/blog/clean-energy...an-hydropower/
    http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-busine...ons-study.html

    It certainly seems that electricity costs/benefits are very minimal for NH since Canadian hydro can't compete in NH due to the RPS. Tax revenues, of course, are certainly of interest for those towns that would benefit.

    Lastly, certainly no outsider has any idea of what HQ/NP can really afford in terms of construction costs and still be competitive with the other transmission lines currently being built from Canada to southern New England.
    Last edited by Vermonster; 12-02-2015 at 11:55 AM. Reason: typos; added RPS

  10. #370
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    NHPR is reporting: http://nhpr.org/post/states-consumer...iy-some-claims
    that the NH attorney general's office acting as consumer advocate has raised a number of issues with determining the veracity of NP's claimed benefits to the citizens of NH.

    The full letter is here, and well worth a read if you have interest in the project (PDF warning): http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net...ent_letter.pdf

  11. #371
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    I expect the legal "cash register" is running at hyper speed these days on both sides.

    http://www.wmur.com/news/northern-pa...wsuit/36784936

    Colebrook Chronicle (my go to source for what is really happening in the north country) has an article in this weeks edition that the three northernmost towns sent filings to the SEC opposed to the project unless its buried in its entirety. I guess the closed door meetings and veiled "bribes" just don't seem to be working like they used to on those most affected by the project (they seem to be working quite well on the Coos County Commissioners)

    http://colebrookchronicle.weebly.com/

  12. #372
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    And now in addition to the lawyers' cash register getting filled, the NH taxpayers cash register will be emptied for the review.
    State siting panel: Northern Pass application is complete
    Panel votes 6-0 to accept application
    http://www.wmur.com/news/state-sitin...plete/36840902

  13. #373
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    A fairly well respected and influential North Country resident John Harrigan, the former publisher of the Coos County Democrat and long time Union Leader outdoors columnist has changed his stance. Previously he was opposed to Northern Pass in its entirety but he has now shifted to supporting the total burial option along existing roads.

    I found a link http://www.concordmonitor.com/opinio...-northern-pass
    Last edited by peakbagger; 12-11-2015 at 02:12 PM. Reason: Added link to editorial

  14. #374
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    A fairly well respected and influential North Country resident John Harrigan, the former publisher of the Coos County Democrat and long time Union Leader outdoors columnist has changed his stance. Previously he was opposed to Northern Pass in its entirety but he has now shifted to supporting the total burial option along existing roads.
    But the total burial option hasn't been officially proposed -- NP still is only willing to bury a fraction of it (1/3?) And since the burial-on-roads options doesn't benefit PSNH/Eversource through R-O-W rentals, don't expect any traction on it....
    Adopter for the Reel Brook Trail

  15. #375
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    My feeling is that the various entities opposing the project have pretty well drawn the line, bury it aqlong existing roads or they will oppose it and litigate it to the end, versus they will line right up when the golden shovels are handed out if its gets buried. Both the SEC and the Federal Environmental permitting process are set up where either one could deem the partial overhead route unacceptable impact to the state and then NP has a choice, give up, appeal the decisions and deal with endless litigation or redo the financials and bury it. Eversource NH has currently drawn the line and said that they will make no new concessions, but they have drawn these lines in the sand previously only to make concessions so the veracity of the current line is called into question. Until the CEO of Eversource decides that its not worth it any thing said by his minions are just negotiating ploys. Given the grid issues in southern NE even if they walk away now and the VT project gets built there is still a growing shortage of power in southern new England that could drive the project to return with a burial alignment. Of course as I stated in an earlier post, brinkmanship only works if there either side is willing to walk away and I am concerned that if the project is canceled outright the organizations opposing it will have a backlash due the loss of potential tax revenues to the towns along the way.

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