Twin States Clean Energy Project - New Transmission Line

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Sep 3, 2003
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Gorham NH
A new major power transmission project through NH and VT States Detail Map 05.01.23.pdf
Looks to me that the developers have decided that VT will be friendlier to the project than NH which is a quite a shift as VT has been the "graveyard" of major projects in the past. They must have quite the plan to get act 250 approval but routing it through the Northeast Kingdom under and an existing road is probably a good start. The NH portion project looks to run parallel to existing overhead lines. Knowing that the state highway down the CT river on the VT side is decidedly "rural", they are effectively going to be rebuilding the highway to get a cable into the right of way. It looks like they are making a much better thought out concept than the Eversource quick and cheap NP and hopefully they learned something. I think the NH governor's thoughts are now far more focused on national office or he would have had his fingers in it to shift the underground run to route 3 but I expect given the NP battle, that would have been a tough sell and he wants to green up his credibility. Lot of NH old school politicians are probably grumbling about the loss out of their district but others will crop up to replace them in other districts.

It is interesting that they claim 1200 MW capacity, that is quite larger than the claimed 900 MW limit for underground cables claimed by Northern Pass. The new route has mostly stayed away from core of the WMNF so AMC will probably not sign up to oppose. They are keeping it underground in Dalton (home of a high profile early opposer of NP, Jim Dannis). I wonder if SPNHF will decide its worth the effort as it does stay away from a lot of their hot buttons (new aerial corridors). A lot of the smaller rural towns along the NH side probably will not object strongly to widening and filling out existing Aerial transmission right of ways and appreciate the tax revenue.

This also appears to be a public powerline project compared to the merchant project proposed by HQ so that is somewhat better for the gird as its not monopolized by one entity. The tradeoff is unlike the other sefl funded project this one is funded by the federal government.

At this point it seems to be a lot of pluses and not a lot of minuses except it still suffers from high exposure of a major power corridor to vandalism/terrorism as anyone with a deer rifle can take out the lines a with couple of shots in the right place. It still fundamentally is a "brown" hydro supply but given the power generation issues in Mass and CT, its probably the best Not in My country solution. Hopefully it does not derail offshore power generation for the region.
The Kennedy family is apparently behind this one, so it should be interesting to see how it goes.
I think Citizens Energy was also linked to Clean Power Connect project in Maine. Given that Sununu has given his stamp of approval and NH's inauspicious highest power rates in the region, I dont see a lot of opposition in NH state government, although local opposition will probably form once the extent of the "existing utility line upgrade" is apparent to abutters. Its likely that in order to move higher amounts of power over the lines the new line will need be placed higher in the air requiring new and taller towers and usually a wider right of way. That could raise local opposition of abutters which was a driver in the NP opposition where people along the project right of way supported the north country effort as they realize that they didnt have a lot of hope of stopping the project in their area.

Vermont had already approved the similar goal Lake Champlain project (with lots of incentives to the state) so I do not see a major pushback from VT. The Kennedy dynasty, some involved with Citizens Energy, still has some political pull that might get the federal dollars in play. The extended family definitely diminished their environmental credibility with opposition to the original Cape Wind near offshore wind power project.
Looks like its a go Three big transmission projects win $1.3B in DOE loans

I asked someone from Dalton NH (which will directly be impacted by the new project at the Lancaster Farmers Market if he had heard of any organized opposition, he was not aware of any and speculated that those active in town were far more concerned with the proposed landfill project being forced on them. He introduced me to one of the original intervenors of Northern Pass. I asked her if she was aware on any organized opposition and she was not aware of it.
The biggest impact will be to State Route 102 in the Northeast Kingdom of VT where the line will be buried.
It's a war of attrition. The powers that be will always win eventually!
Well, despite a promising start and 1.2 billion in federal dollars National Grid is giving up

I am not aware of any major opposition, it sounds like it comes down to economics and changes in Quebec "surplus green power". There was a recent study that HQ will need new generation within 5 years to meet the demand.

The new transmission line in Maine is scheduled to restart this year after a couple of year of court cases. Unlike the Twin States line, it has a guaranteed purchaser, utilities in Mass.

If National Grid cannot make a project get built with a 1.2 million federal subsidy, I dont see any other projects getting built regionally.

In the past these big projects were built based on transmission fees, as long as power (or natural gas) was flowing that paid the bills and banks lent money long term. Banks are far less lucky to lend on these megprojects any more unless the risk is backstopped, they do not want to take the risk that happened during the "gas bubble" in New England where several large projects got built and promptly handed back to the bank when the economics did not pan out. There used to be a lot more big players in the region whose businesses were tied to the region. Those days are gone an most of energy infrastructure is owned by global companies that can choose to deply their money elesewhere. I also think that if they hold off the government is going to make large projects even more attractive to build when the lights start flickering out.