By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Gov. Chris Sununu is “enthusiastically” supporting the Twin States Clean Energy Link, a proposed 1,200-megawatt power transmission project which would run hydropower through Vermont and New Hampshire underground in the North Country, to add to the region’s power grid.
Speaking to reporters following the Executive Council meeting Wednesday, Sununu said it would reduce power costs in the region and it is thoughtfully designed. In a May 3 letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm he praised it for “minimizing visual impacts while delivering much needed new clean energy to our state.”
Asked about what the height of the power lines would be and how they would change, he did not say. “What I can tell you is it’s fantastic. It absolutely aligns with what I have been championing – more clean, cheap renewable hydro out of Canada and it’s an opportunity for New Hampshire to do it. But whether it is a Vermont Project or a Maine project or a New Hampshire project, we all benefit from it.”
The project is in its very first stages of development and will be subject to a lengthy public process.
National Grid plans the 211-mile renewable energy transmission project.
The proposed link, slated to run through Vermont and New Hampshire, makes use of existing transmission corridors and infrastructure, along with new, buried lines to minimize impact.
Sununu said the project will bolster reliability and add resiliency to the electric system by bringing additional hydropower to the ISO-New England grid.
It is anticipated the project will save ratepayers billions in just the first fifteen years of operation.
“New Hampshire is always looking to put solutions on the table that lower energy rates for consumers, and the Twin States Clean Energy Link makes use of clean, renewable energy to do just that,” Sununu said. “With a low-impact plan that utilizes already existing infrastructure, this project is a win-win for families and businesses across the Granite State.”
As New Hampshire continues to prepare for the development of offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine, the bi-directional transmission capability of the Twin States Clean Energy Link will enable New England to export excess power to Quebec in the future, Sununu added.
The project proposal is currently before the United States Department of Energy’s Transmission Facilitation Program. A letter from Governor Sununu to the Department of Energy supporting the program can be found here.