National Grid Pulls Plug On Twin States Energy Project Disappointing Sununu

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Map of Twin States Clean Energy Link that had been proposed by National Grid and Citizens Energy Corporation.

Updated Tuesday with brief statement from National Grid: “We are grateful for the selection of the Twin States Clean Energy Link by the U.S. Department of Energy through their Transmission Facilitation Program (TFP). Unfortunately, National Grid has determined that the project is not viable at this time.  National Grid thanks the dozens of route communities and regional partners who engaged with us and supported this project. We will continue to pursue paths to building much-needed transmission capacity for the region and for our customers and communities.”


CONCORD – Gov. Chris Sununu said he is disappointed the plug has been pulled on a proposed 1,200 megawatt bi-directional transmission project which would have brought Canadian hydro power to New England through New Hampshire and Vermont.

The 211-mile Twin States Clean Energy Link was intended to support the region’s climate goals by bringing power through existing infrastructure and in some cases going underground.

“As an early supporter of this project, I am disappointed that National Grid has chosen to not move forward with the Twin State project,” Sununu said Monday. “New Hampshire will continue to prioritize an all-of-the-above approach to energy resources to ensure the reliability of our grid and protect Granite State ratepayers.”

The line was intended to come from Quebec through Vermont and enter New Hampshire in Monroe using in some cases existing overhead transmission lines owned by National Grid.

Not only was it supported by Sununu, a Republican, the Democratic Biden Administration selected it as part of a $1.3 billion commitment to build out the nation’s transmission infrastructure in October of 2023.

It was part of the U.S. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Transmission Facilitation Program. 

The project had received unprecedented support from community members and key stakeholders across New Hampshire, Vermont, and New England.

Donald M. Kreis, consumer advocate for the Office of the Consumer Advocate, said Monday night: “I thought the Twin States Project was a good idea and said as much to the U.S. Department of Energy in support of federal funding for part of the project costs.  But, it appears, the project was too good to be true because National Grid was not willing to move forward with it unless New England’s retail electric ratepayers essentially guaranteed the company’s revenue stream.  That’s not the way merchant transmission projects like Twin States are supposed to work.

“Meanwhile, there’s been a distinct shift in the rhetoric emanating from Hydro Quebec in Canada.  Until about a year ago, Hydro Quebec was telling everyone it could supply all the power New England wanted as long as we built the necessary transmission links – but now our Canadian neighbors are telling us their supply of electricity for export is anything but infinite.  That might be the real story behind the demise of the Twin States – the end of our ability to treat Hydro Quebec as the answer to all our electric supply needs,” Kreis said.

(Updated with comment at top of this story) Officials of National Grid did not immediately respond to requests for comment but advisors said the problem that led to the decision to discontinue the project came down to other New England states and their commitments to the project, which were not as supportive of efforts that required commitments to the power which would assure the financing. 

There were also further demands from the federal government and timing hurdles, particularly the slow development of offshore wind power which was important to satisfy the bi-directional capacities of the line. Without it, officials said, the one way hydro from Quebec from north to south would put a strain on the costs of the project as well as Hydro Quebec.

When it was selected, Stephen Woerner, New England President of National Grid said the U.S. Department of Energy “has recognized the significant economic and environmental benefits of this project to New England communities, residents and businesses and we’re grateful for this recognition from our federal partners. This project would be a win for the New England region, and we thank our stakeholders and the many route communities for their strong support. We look forward to working with DOE on the next steps in the TFP process and continuing our deep engagement with the communities and our regional partners to bring this project to fruition.”

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm had said, “To realize the full benefit of the nation’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035, we need to more than double our grid capacity and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda puts us in position to do just that.”

The project was projected to lower costs for customers across New England, creating more than $8.3 billion in wholesale energy market cost savings over the first twelve years of operation alone, according to an independent market assessment.

National Grid and Citizens Energy Corporation were assembling a $260 million community benefits program, of which at least 40 percent was to be dedicated to disadvantaged communities throughout New England. 

National Grid serves more than 20 million people through networks in New York and Massachusetts. 

Last May, Sununu “enthusiastically” supported the Twin States Clean Energy Link to add to the region’s power grid.

Speaking to reporters Sununu said it would reduce power costs in the region and that it was thoughtfully designed. 

In a May 3, 2023 letter to U.S. Secretary Granholm, the governor praised it for “minimizing visual impacts while delivering much needed new clean energy to our state.”

“In addition, Twin States is important to New Hampshire because it has the potential to solve a
long-standing hurdle in our North Country by accomplishing costly system upgrades that can
allow small renewable energy projects to be developed along the Coos Loop, which is an
existing transmission line that serves our northernmost communities. Innovations like this will
allow for continued economic growth and new opportunity in our North Country,” Sununu said last May.

Paula Tracy is a veteran reporter in New Hampshire and previously worked for NH Union Leader and WMUR before becoming’s senior writer.

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