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January 27. 2014 9:59PM

Gov. Hassan: Pipeline proposal is not a nod for Northern Pass

The letter from New England governors calling for public financing of a new natural gas pipeline into the region also contained a call for transmission projects that would deliver between 1,200 and 3,600 megawatts of "clean energy" into the New England grid from no-carbon or low-carbon sources.

That sounds like an endorsement of the Northern Pass, which would bring 1,200 megawatts of hydro power from Quebec, through New Hampshire, into the New England grid. The developers of Northern Pass wasted no time in making that observation.

"We are pleased the New England governors have recognized the looming energy crisis in the region, and are taking action by seeking clean energy solutions," said Northern Pass spokesperson Lauren Collins. "It's clear that there is an immediate need to diversify our energy sources and improve New England's infrastructure and we believe Northern Pass can help."

She said Northern Pass would deliver the governors' desired 1,200 megawatts of clean energy and has already been deemed by the New England grid operator as being able to reliably interconnect with the system.

"As proposed, this is the region's only renewable energy project that can be built at no cost to ratepayers in New Hampshire or anywhere else in New England," she said.

Marc Goldberg, spokesperson for Gov. Maggie Hassan, said the call for additional transmission was in no way an endorsement of Northern Pass, and that her position is unchanged from September, when she responded to a Boston Globe editorial in support of the project by calling for more of the line to be buried, if it is to be built at all.

"In New York, the Champlain Hudson Power Express, an energy transmission project that includes Canadian hydropower, is burying more than 300 miles of lines. Why shouldn't we fully examine those types of technology ­— and route — alternatives for New England?" she wrote at the time. "If the solution can be found for New York, we should find a solution for New England and train New England workers to lead the way in new transmission technology and infrastructure construction."

dsolomon@unionleader.com


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