Eversource Seeks To Reopen Record on Seacoast Reliability Project

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Eversource map of Seacoast Reliability Project


CONCORD — Eversource wants to reopen the record on the 12.9-mile high-voltage transmission line – or Seacoast Reliability Project – to provide information on potentially impacted historic and scenic resources.

The project would run from Portsmouth to Madbury, going through Durham and Newington.

Representing Eversource, Attorney Barry Needleman said the request, which was made last week, would provide new information that would allow the Site Evaluation Committee to make its full consideration of the project as regulators begin deliberations on the project later this month.

“The Addendum provides relevant, discrete information that will allow full consideration of the issues presented at the hearing,” Needleman wrote in the motion to re-open the record, which was closed last month.

“More specifically, it confirms that no Determined Eligible Sites that are actually scenic resources under Site 102.45 were overlooked in the (visual assessment). After sites are screened based on lack of visibility, lack of public access and/or lack of scenic quality, none remain that were not already considered.”

There are three sites at issue, Merrill Hall on the University of New Hampshire campus in Durham, four historic buildings along Woodbury Avenue in Newington, including the Isaac Dow House, and the General Sullivan Bridge.

An order issued Wednesday by sub-committee chair Patricia Weathersby, scheduled a special meeting to allow cross-examination of Eversource’s witness for historic and scenic sites, David Raphael, and sets Nov. 13 as the deadline to file briefs opposing the motion to reopen the record.

Weathersby said if the motion is granted, the hearing will be Nov. 15 with intervenors and the Counsel for the Public cross-examining Raphael.

If the motion is not granted, Weathersby said, the Nov. 15 hearing will be cancelled.

The reliability project would travel through Newington, under Little Bay, and through Durham to a substation in Madbury.

The controversial project was proposed as early as 2012 — with the application filed in 2016 — to make the transmission system more reliable in an area with greater and greater demand for electricity.

Eversource officials say the Seacoast area is growing twice as fast as other areas of the state, and without the project rolling blackouts are possible.

Much of the objection is to the underground section through Little Bay and the method to be used to place the cable there, and to the section through Durham.

Recently, Weathersby added two more days for deliberations, Dec. 3 and 6 to the already scheduled days of Nov. 27, 28 and 29.

The deliberations will be at 49 Donovan Street in Concord.

The cost of the project will be included in all New England transmission rates because it is a reliability project approved by ISO (Independent System Operator)-New England.

Garry Rayno may be reached at garry.rayno@yahoo.com.

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