Feds to study about two dozen possible Northern Pass routes
"The number of different variations on the burial (of transmission lines) suggest they are looking at analyzing viable burial alternatives, and I think that is good news for those in the state who are accepting of the power but don't want to see towers overhead," Savage, a project critic, said Saturday. "I think that tells us this thing is heading underground if it's going to be permitted."
The $1.4 billion Northern Pass project would bring 1,200 megawatts of hydroelectric power from Quebec into the New England power grid through New Hampshire over a new 187-mile transmission line, most of which would be built within existing Public Service of New Hampshire transmission rights of way where power lines exist today. A new 32.25-mile right of way and two sections of underground construction, totaling about eight miles, are part of the 187 miles. The project is expected to be in service in mid-2017, according to Northern Pass.Burying lines along the entire route, Northern Pass has said, would be too expensive.
"The release of this addendum by the U.S. Department of Energy marks another important step in the careful and thorough permitting process of the Northern Pass project," Collins said. "This document helps to ensure the DOE environmental review currently underway is transparent and the assessment of project route alternatives is vigorous. We look forward to the DOE's forthcoming draft environmental impact statement - given the acute need New Hampshire and the region have for new and diverse sources of clean energy."
-- Constructing an underground transmission line for the entire length that would be generally located with Northern Pass' preferred route.
-- Burying lines under or adjacent to existing state and federal roads, except for a small northern portion from the border crossing in Pittsburg to Route 3 in Clarksville.
-- Burying transmission lines under or adjacent to existing roads for about 147 miles from the Canadian border crossing to the proposed Franklin converter station and constructing overhead alternating-current transmission lines from Franklin to a substation in Deerfield. Height restrictions near the Concord Airport would require separate sets of shorter towers.
-- Locating the project in the existing right of way belonging to National Grid in Vermont and New Hampshire.
-- Submerging the project in navigable waterways.
-- Hanging lines overhead within transportation rights of way, including roads and railways.
Northern Pass said the cheaper hydro power would save New Hampshire electric users between $20 million and $35 million a year.
Gov. Maggie Hassan said many questions remain about what impacts the project would have on the White Mountain National Forest and local communities.