July 02. 2018 9:39PM

Eversource: Seacoast power line to cost $84m to $216m

By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader


MANCHESTER — A proposed 13-mile transmission line on the Seacoast to help handle increased electricity demand would cost $84 million to $216 million to build, according to Eversource.

The utility backs the cheapest and least disruptive method to bury the line in Little Bay, which borders Newington, Eversource said Monday.

“We understand the importance of selecting the best crossing method, one that’s least impactful to the environment and the community at a reasonable cost to customers,” said Eversource New Hampshire President Bill Quinlan.

Eversource would recover the costs from ratepayers.

Electric demand in the Seacoast is growing at twice the rate of the rest of the state, and the operator of the New England power grid determined that additional transmission capacity was needed, according to Eversource.

The preferred “jet plow” method would place power cables under several feet of the bay sediment by using pressurized water jets, temporarily suspending some sediment in the water column. That work would take about three months and produce an overall project pricetag of $84 million.

The state Department of Environmental Services recommended this technique with some conditions, according to Eversource. DES couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

“Based on the results of this comprehensive study, we’re confident that the Site Evaluation Committee members will have a better understanding of why the jet plow method is appropriate for this project and why we recommend its use.”

That committee begins formal hearings on the project next month.

“Full HDD” (horizontal directional drilling) technology requiring drilling under the entire bay would take 28 months, boosting the total project cost to $216 million. A combination of the two techniques would take 10 months with a project cost of $184 million.

Either method involving HDD would require acquiring additional easement rights on more than 10 properties in Durham and Newington.

“The project as proposed is all within existing electric utility corridor, including the Little Bay crossing, minimizing the impact to environmental resources,” said Eversource spokesman Kaitlyn Woods. “Part of the proposed jet plow installation of the new submarine cable across Little Bay includes the removal of existing cables.”

Eversource said it would expect the SEC to issue an oral decision by year’s end. Construction then could start in early 2019 and put the transmission line into service by late 2019 using the “jet plow” method, Woods said.

The study on the project can be viewed below: