My Thoughts on the Northern Pass
There is a lot of information out there regarding the Northern Pass Project, unfortunately most of it is from Northern Pass. You need to delve a little deeper to find information not directly from them (reading information only from one source creates a very biased set of information).
Here are the Facts about the Northern Pass Project, as I have found:
- Route: The proposed Northern Pass line crosses the Canadian border in Pittsburg and heads south into Clarksville, as was previously proposed. The line travels underground in two separate areas of Clarksville and Stewartstown for a total of 8 miles.
The line then travels overhead into Grafton County where it again goes underground in Bethlehem where the transmission corridor meets Route 302 near Miller Pond. It travels underground to Route 18 into Sugar Hill and heads underground along this road, as well as portions of Route 116, Route 112 and Route 3 into Bridgewater, where the line returns to overhead. From there the line travels to Franklin, where it is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). The line continues overhead into Deerfield, where it enters the New England electric grid at a substation on Cate Road. (taken from: the Northern Pass website). The Northern Pass website shows which Communities would be directly affected with maps here.
- Source: The source of the energy is Hydro power from Hydro-Quebec being purchased by Eversource NH.
- Benefits to the State: It is ANTICIPATED that this project will bring in around $30 million in revenue to the state of New Hampshire (which is not truly a fact at this point, just an estimate).
- Jobs: Northern Pass has indicated that they will be hiring about 2,600 people for the construction phase of the project (it does NOT state that they have to hire New Hampshire Residents, just that they will be hiring that many people who will be working in New Hampshire). These are temporary jobs and will end after the construction phase is over.
- Route: The new proposal states that the route will not be completely buried and much of the line will still be above ground. This is opposed by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The plans are to bury approximately 60 miles of the proposed 187 mile line.
- Cost: Hydro-Quebec has allowed their other pipelines to corrode and then hikes rates to pay for them after they fail instead of maintaining them. See an example here. This was for their oil line, but it shows an example of how they maintain their pipelines and what they do when they fail. They also have been overcharging for electricity with their meters that indicates double or triple the amount of energy actually being consumed.
- Environment: Other than the views, which draw people to our state...there have been serious allegations that Hyrdo-Quebec has flooded native land and exposed people to Mercury Poisoning in the process...this allegation was the reason that their contract to build a similar pipeline to New York was cancelled.
My Unanswered Questions:
- What happens if there is a break in the line? Who is responsible for fixing it?
- How often will maintenance be done on the line and who will be doing it?Does the energy being shipped fall into the regulations that the US sets on energy? If there is a problem, how do customers deal with it? Can they sue a Canadian company or would Eversource deal with the issue?
- When there is a break in my current electric line, everyone down the line loses electricity....this line is 187 miles of line coming from the worst weather in New Hampshire and most of it will be above ground...if there is a bad storm up in Pittsburg, do people in Pembroke lose power?
- How often do the rates go up? I found that Hydro-Quebec tends to raise rates each spring and our electricity providers must have state approval to raise rates, what happens if Canada raises the rates? Do our rates go up automatically, will Eversource still need to get approval and what happens if they don't? Could we end up having one of our NH companies lose business or forced to have layoffs to cover costs?
- If the contract with Eversource ends and they don't renew it what happens to the 187 miles of pipeline?
- Why can we not support clean energy in our own state instead of relying not only on someone outside our state borders but outside our country? We keep talking about stopping our reliance on foreign energy and here we are trying to create a brand new reliance...