Boost for Northern Pass partners?
But if Northern Pass partners qualify for regional ratepayer support, they could then be eligible to use eminent domain, despite HB 648.
The New England Power Pool’s Transmission Committee got an update on the governors’ initiative from NESCOE at the committee’s monthly meeting on Friday. A copy was posted on the ISO-NE website.
• The states will seek NEPOOL support for two new projects — one related to power transmission, one related to gas pipelines.
• States intend to select a project or projects through an RFP process.
• This is a preliminary proposal. States are working out the details; no agreement has been finalized.
William Hinkle, a spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan, said the Friday meeting was the beginning of what could be a long road.
“RFPs would not be issued until after a public process, probably not until late 2014 or early 2015,” he said. “A variety of projects could be considered under this approach, and they will be vetted and scrutinized to ensure that the winning bidders meet a strict cost-benefit analysis for each state in the region.”
“There are numerous potential gas and electric transmission projects that could serve the region, including proposals in Vermont and Maine, and the RFP process does not commit New Hampshire or the region to moving forward with any particular project, as everything will be evaluated based on responses,” he said. “New Hampshire has been very clear that we will not move forward with proposals that don’t reduce costs to ratepayers, and that all proposals must meet local siting requirements.”
“Based on what New England’s governors have called for in announcing their infrastructure initiative, Northern Pass would be an ideal fit for beginning to address the region’s precarious energy situation,” she said. “Since the criteria for this potential proposal is not final, we can’t speculate on what it might specifically mean for Northern Pass.”
“The RFPs stand to be transformative for the region,” she said. “We’re seeing that with increased discussions by developers around possible new energy sources and transmission lines. Northern Pass, however, is years ahead in the process. It has a secured route and stands alone in the region as the only project with an identified source of power.”
If the governors’ initiative results in a plan to recover project costs from the region’s electricity customers, the ISO would administer the billing and collection as it does for all transmission projects in New England.
“The CLF believes that by and large market-based mechanisms are the best way to procure new electric capacity in the region,” he said, “and we believe that market-based mechanisms work in the interest of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in the consumer interest. There are a number of transmission providers who have been very clear and adamant that they do not need any ratepayer support for their projects.”