Forest Society Reacts to Northern Pass Project Reconfiguration

Jack Savage | August 18, 2015

Today Northern Pass/Eversource announced that they would be reconfiguring their proposed transmission line. In particular, they said they plan to reduce the capacity of the project to 1000MW to take advantage of newer transmission cable technology, bury more of the line, and lower tower heights. 

The Forest Society commented:

"Northern Pass deserves credit for agreeing to adopt advanced cable technology that would enable them to bury more of their proposed transmission line. Proposing to bury another 28 percent of the 187-mile line along existing transportation corridors is an improvement as well, assuming they can acquire permission to do so. This is a step in the right direction.

"However, there are still communities and landowners, from Deerfield to Stewartstown, who will be negatively impacted by the more than 125 miles—two-thirds of the route--that they propose to build as overhead lines. Northern Pass still proposes to create 40 miles of new powerline right-of-way through some of New Hampshire’s most scenic landscapes in northern Coos County. And they are still proposing to build their private transmission line through land owned and conserved by the Forest Society. Northern Pass still has no access to eminent domain, there has been no determination of need for the project, and they still have a long permitting process ahead with an uncertain outcome.

"Given that the new technology is apparently allowing Northern Pass to propose burying another 52 miles without increasing the overall project cost of $1.4 billion, there would seem to be opportunity for more burial along roadways. The benefits Northern Pass touts are only enhanced by burial. We will be looking more closely at the details of the new proposal, in particular at potentially lower tower heights in key areas. But we also encourage Northern Pass to take the next step and look closely at additional burial. We look forward to discussing those possibilities with them."