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Thread: FYI: Northern Pass High Voltage Transmission Project

  1. #541
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Looks like Mass has decided to go with Northern Pass
    Completely unaffected by Eversource being in the decision making process.

  2. #542
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    Some of the language from CLF suggests we won't see the end of debate and deliberation when the SEC makes its decision in February:

    https://www.clf.org/blog/false-claim...northern-pass/

  3. #543
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    Sure looks like the deliberative sessions for NP are going to be a rubber stamp for NP. Day 2 and things are definitely not going NPs way. I find this source is the most reliable for info http://indepthnh.org/

    Maybe its just theatre for the masses but it sure sounds like many conditions are going to be attached to any approval

  4. #544
    Administrator Kimball's Avatar
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    NH 4000 x8, NE 4000 x2, NEHH x1, Presi Traverse x8, Pemi Loop x12, Double Presi Traverse x1, ADK 46 x1.

    TrailsNH.com

  5. #545
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    According to several news outlets the SEC denied the application outright today:

    http://nhpr.org/post/breaking-site-e...oject#stream/0

  6. #546
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	27336210_1774440042862468_2194525752198396832_n.png 
Views:	54 
Size:	44.0 KB 
ID:	5951

    From Twitter JackAtSPNHF ... "#Northernpass final vote to deny 7-0"
    https://twitter.com/JackatSPNHF/stat...53596389642240
    NH 4000 x8, NE 4000 x2, NEHH x1, Presi Traverse x8, Pemi Loop x12, Double Presi Traverse x1, ADK 46 x1.

    TrailsNH.com

  7. #547
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    Wow ! 250 million plus down the hole.

    There is going to be whole lot of very overpriced real estate including a few homes in play in Northern NH. I am curious how Eversource will dispose of it given the very significant premium they paid? At one point they were going to hand it off to the Great North Woods ATV group. The other shoe to drop is the impact on the Balsams project as it reportedly were very dependent on Eversource dollars to fund a portion of it.

    The spin will be interesting, the CEO of Eversource has been unwavering in his support of the project, will he throw good money after bad and waste the money on an appeal of the current project, make a radical alteration to the plan (I.E. Full burial) or just give up.?

    With the Mass RFP in their pocket (for now) will they come back with full burial proposal?. I think the CMP western Maine transmission line, the underwater Lake Champlain line or the NGrid proposal to build an additional HVDC line alongside the current HVDC line suddenly look like winners.

    Thanks to Waumbek for starting this thread back in 2010. It may not be the record for longest VFTT thread but it must be up there.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 02-01-2018 at 03:14 PM.

  8. #548
    Senior Member Vermonster's Avatar
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    From this quote I would say the income for those in the legal profession will continue to be good in 2018:

    Martin Murray, spokesman for Northern Pass said: “We are shocked and outraged by today’s SEC outcome. The process failed to comply with New Hampshire law and did not reflect the substantial evidence on the record. As a result, the most viable near-term solution to the region’s energy challenges, as well as $3 billion of NH job, tax, and other benefits, are now in jeopardy.

    “Clearly, the SEC process is broken and this decision sends a chilling message to any energy project contemplating development in the Granite State. We will be seeking reconsideration of the SEC’s decision, as well as reviewing all options for moving this critical clean energy project forward.” [Indepthnh]

  9. #549
    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    Thanks for the smile today. I appreciate all the updates in this thread.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
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    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

  10. #550
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    So good to hear.. My cousin live in the Smoky's and I saw the same line there running thru the area that trashed the view .... let them bury it like many of the millions of miles of gas lines around the USA.

  11. #551
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    Northern Pass wins hands-down on replies and trails only slight in views

    Northern Pass
    Replies: 549
    Views: 150,354

    WMNF Road Conditions
    Replies: 280
    Views: 150,810

    The $25,000 fine thread is second on replies (413 replies)
    The New Hampshire Fish and Game Search and Rescue Funding Hearing is third (366 replies)

    BTW, You can pick a forum and sort it by any of the column headings to figure this out for yourself/

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  12. #552
    Senior Member Tim Horn's Avatar
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    Saw this in today's paper [URL="http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2018/02/01/northern-pass-developer-shocked-and-outraged-rejection/RDbKgUQwNXZqFm1W69y3lM/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos5]

  13. #553
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vermonster View Post
    Martin Murray, spokesman for Northern Pass said: “We are shocked and outraged by today’s SEC outcome. The process failed to comply with New Hampshire law and did not reflect the substantial evidence on the record. As a result, the most viable near-term solution to the region’s energy challenges, as well as $3 billion of NH job, tax, and other benefits, are now in jeopardy.
    “Clearly, the SEC process is broken and this decision sends a chilling message to any energy project contemplating development in the Granite State. We will be seeking reconsideration of the SEC’s decision, as well as reviewing all options for moving this critical clean energy project forward.” [Indepthnh]
    I am used to statements that contend the decision by a Government panel, or by the Judiciary, was an incorrect interpretation of the "substantial evidence on the record", but this statement suggests the process wasn't followed. I am interested to learn the basis for that opinion.

    This reminds me a bit of some of our reactions to the USFS decision to remove the Suspension Bridge over the East Branch.

    I read that decision memo and was disappointed Molly prioritized Wilderness over Access. But I also felt she had the clearly shown exactly how she had reached that conclusion and also demonstrated the decision process had been properly followed. IMO the White Mountain Forest Plan was when that battle for the Suspension Bridge and many backcountry shelters in the Whites was lost.

  14. #554
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Northern Pass wins hands-down on replies and trails only slight in views

    Northern Pass
    Replies: 549
    Views: 150,354

    WMNF Road Conditions
    Replies: 280
    Views: 150,810

    The $25,000 fine thread is second on replies (413 replies)
    The New Hampshire Fish and Game Search and Rescue Funding Hearing is third (366 replies)

    BTW, You can pick a forum and sort it by any of the column headings to figure this out for yourself/

    Tim

    In terms of longevity, this thread ranks eighth among still-active threads (at least one reply within the past year).

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  15. #555
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    "Shocked and Outraged" says Eversource. I really wonder how shocked they were?. In my past career in Berlin, I was the project manager for an energy project that met the criteria for requiring a NH SEC permit. There was a process in place to get a waiver around the full formal procedure that we applied for and eventually received but I expect in the VFTT readership I might be one of the few who have sat before the SEC as an applicant. The need for a statewide comprehensive permit on energy projects has been around since the highly controversial never approved major oil refinery and nuclear plant at Seabrook with the realization that a major energy project impacts a region much larger than a town boundary. It took awhile for the law to end up in its current state and just prior to the NP application the makeup on the board was tweaked to give the public more input. These projects are inevitably large dollar speculative projects with the potential for long term profits. The developers have to have deep pockets to gain approval and they are pitted against typically underfunded local entities so it is difficult to make it a fair process. The losing side of a major permit inevitably says the committee is biased, just a rubberstamp permit for big business as the vast majority of the projects are approved. If denied, which is pretty rare, then the losing party is "shocked and outraged".

    For the VFTT crowd the two largest projects permitted under the SEC in NH impacting the whites would be the Millsfield Wind Farm and the Groton wind farm on the ridge line overlooking Plymouth. The Millsfield windfarm went through the permit process fairly easily, the conservation community made some objections but the project pretty well was out of sight out of mind in an area with long history of being working woods and I expect most including myself regarded the project as an extension of the working woods history. I kept far less track of the opposition to the Groton wind farm (near Plymouth). I believe the opposition was higher but even though it is a visual blight on the ridgeline in Plymouth, it physically is located in Groton. In this case the project was approved and in general wind farms with similar characteristics seem to be a blind spot in the regulations and developers have learned to "bribe" the local town adequately to support the project. The smaller Jericho windfarm in Berlin was not large enough for an SEC permit and was approved locally. Luckily NP had physical presence in many towns so the viewshed impact from towns outside the towns in the corridor was not an issue except in the WMNF which were largely subdued by the burial modification.

    When our project went before the board to hopefully gain a waiver from the full process, we had to prove that we had considered the following and NP had to do the same thing. These are not arbitrary, for each project, they are the law and have been for over 20 years.

    " (a) The applicant has adequate financial, technical, and managerial capability to assure construction and operation of the facility in continuing compliance with the terms and conditions of the certificate.
    (b) The site and facility will not unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region with due consideration having been given to the views of municipal and regional planning commissions and municipal governing bodies.
    (c) The site and facility will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water quality, the natural environment, and public health and safety.
    (d) [Repealed.]
    (e) Issuance of a certificate will serve the public interest
    ." Here is a link to the RSA http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/...H/162-H-16.htm

    The import thing to note is that the permit is not issued unless all four conditions are proven based on the record from the public hearings. In case of NP, the SEC could not reconcile the record with Item B. The record developed during the hearing phase was quite the contrary. Few if any towns outright supported the project with the exception of Franklin, which would be the site for the DC converter station which would be a major new taxable property. The majority of the towns formally opposed the project and many were interveners in opposition. Many towns had advisory votes and written public comments opposing the project and the public hearings overwhelmingly showed opposition despite NPs heavy handed attempts to trying to quell opposition.

    Therefore in this case, the SEC elected to stop the process as they had reached a fundamental impasse between the record and the law. This shouldn't have been a "shock" to Eversource, the only real supporters of the project were those with direct or indirect economic impacts and politicians who had received past financial support from Eversource. In the case Les Otten's Balsams project, despite months of public denials that his advocacy for the project has no strings attached, in sworn testimony before the SEC he admitted that funding to support the Balsams was conditional on his public support. The SEC does have the right to impose conditions on the approval of a project but I don't think it would have been productive to grant a permit and put in enforceable conditions that Eversource would have to get overwhelming support from the towns and the public at large to proceed. An infinitely large checkbook probably wouldn't turn the tide as certain landowners in northern NH elected to sell their land or development rights at far less to SPNHF then what was being offered by NP.

    IMHO, knowing that the process inevitably was going to end up at the state supreme court, the SEC decided they might as well not delay the process. I expect the leagues of lawyers on both sides have built up very long lists of potential points to be appealed. My understanding of state law is the court cant issue a permit all they can do is remand it back to the SEC with guidance on where the process erred from the statute. The NH governor is also unable to force a permit and I expect attempts to change members of the SEC to those who would vote to approve the permit would be met by further appeals. As the opposition knows, the best option to kill the project was just delay it long enough until the project is reconfigured or it becomes not worth pursuing.

    A somewhat relevant side note is that Eversource in NH is going to be shrinking substantially as they have just divested their power generation assets. They will now become a regulated transmission and distribution operation. This is a regulated business and the state has oversight in their operations. They will not be allowed to maintain a bloated middle and upper level staff to support their new smaller footprint in the state. The NP project could have potentially been a home to excess staff for 2 to 4 years but without the permit some folks will end up on the street sooner than later. The best approach they have now is try to keep a brave face on and try to delay the inevitable. I expect some high level heads will elect to "retire" as upper management of Eversource is going to need cover.

    The state supreme court to date has been hesitant to get involved. There were a couple of attempts to short circuit the SEC permit process by the opposition and it appears as though the court elected not to get involved knowing that they would be involved at a later date. I just don't see any outcome of an appeal that puts the process back on track. I could speculate that NP could attempt to force the SEC to go back into deliberative session but I don't see the outcome changing so its just delaying the inevitable. Ideally NP would be best off requesting a new permit based on burial along existing roads but I expect the Franconia parkway section may require congressional involvement to allow expansion of the developed area. I don't think the option of putting it under the parkway would pass muster as that would require the highway to be closed outright for months to support the construction. They could try to shift to the proposed burial alignment in place in the application but to date there are many indications that the plan in place has created opposition in most towns it runs through. The only other "nuclear option" is to get the project declared a critical regional electric infrastructure project. In theory the Federal Government passed a fast track federal method of bypassing state and local opposition to critical infrastructure projects but despite the intent I don't think it has really been used successfully. Given that there is permitted project in VT and two other far less controversial powerline proposals on the table, I expect Mass will jump on one of them and I don't see a lot of future for NP.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 02-03-2018 at 08:27 AM.

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