Editor’s note: InDepthNH.org takes no position on the Northern Pass Transmission project. As a public service, we do offer the opportunity for people in favor and opposed to the proposed 192-mile high-voltage transmission line to voice their opinions in occasional op-eds. We reserve the right to edit for length. InDepthNH.org cannot guarantee the accuracy of information contained in opinion pieces. We also cannot guarantee that all submissions will be posted. We appreciate all civil discourse. Send op-eds to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks. Nancy West, executive editor.
By Dolly McPhaul
In a recent interview on NHPR, Governor Sununu made a number of important statements regarding the Northern Pass (NP) that are incorrect.
The governor said, “Is pretty much the entire infrastructure going to be paid by Hydro-Quebec? Absolutely.” That is incorrect. Despite the NP claim that HydroQuebec (HQ) would pay for the construction of the NP, HQ issued a press release stating they would not pay for “a penny” of construction of the NP on US soil.
“There’s no doubt it (NP) brings 1,100 megawatts of clean, renewable energy to the Granite State and Granite State rate payers” according to Governor Sununu.
Incorrect. The Power Purchase Agreement NP wanted, to allow them to buy power from HQ and resell it, reserving about 10% for NH, failed, twice. There currently will be no power from the NP for NH or NH ratepayers other than through the NE Grid…the normal process.
“Are we going to get lower rates on energy costs? No doubt,” states Governor Sununu.
Again, incorrect. The facts are the power from the NP will not go to NH and the ratepayers will not receive any benefit. We could pay more. President Quinlan stated under oath, “there is a possibility NH consumers may have to pay some for the construction of the NP.”
For rates to decrease, two factors must be considered: the cost of the energy and the cost of transporting that power. The price of energy has been decreasing while the transportation costs have been escalating, thanks in large part to Eversource, as they control the majority of the transmission lines in New England.
“Are 90% of the towers already there? Yes.” according to Governor Sununu. “They get a little taller…” That statement implies the towers will be just as they are, but a “little taller.”
That is again incorrect. The NP website states, “The Northern Pass will “construct” lines that operate at voltages of +/-320 kV DC and 345 kV AC. These higher voltages require greater height and separation for safety.”
There will be new towers, more towers, higher structures, many steel lattice towers with arms and 140 monopoles…totally different from the mostly 45’-75’ wooden poles used now.
Governor Sununu stated 90% of this project is already in an existing right of way. Again an erroneous statement. According to the NP website, “More than 80% of the 192-mile route will be located beneath public roadways or within existing transmission corridors.”
Governor Sununu infers, by using existing ROWs, there will be little disruption and construction will be minimal. Right of ways will have to be expanded, huge concrete footings for the gigantic, mostly steel towers will have to be poured and beneath public roadways is not an existing transmission corridor.
That process will disrupt our town centers, businesses, traffic and infringe on private properties.
The governor stated he has not placed a single person on the SEC. Not true. Within the last two and a half months, he has placed Robert Scott as Commissioner of the DES and Michael Giaimo as a member of the PUC, both of whom will therefore sit on the SEC. They supposedly will not serve on the NP case, but a scenario does exist in which that could happen.
Governor Sununu, if Northern Pass gets built, it will be on your watch. You will own it. History will associate your name with the hideous towers and destruction of our beautiful views. Are you confident that you are hearing the whole truth about this project? Your “facts” suggests you are not.
Dolly McPhaul, Sugar Hill