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U.S. Dept. of Energy signs off on Presidential Permit for Northern Pass

Permit approval enables project to cross Canadian border

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
November 21, 2017
REGION — The Northern Pass electrical transmission line cleared a major hurdle last week with the news that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has approved the issuance of a Presidential Permit which will allow the project to pass over the border between the United States and the province of Quebec.

In a statement issued last Thursday, the DOE stated that it had determined the permit was in the best interest of the public, and that the project would have no negative impacts on the reliability of the electric power system in the United States. The proposed Northern Pass transmission line would begin just over the Canadian border, enter the U.S. in Pittsburg, and end at a substation in Deerfield, where it would be connected to the New England grid.

"We are pleased to see the DOE permitting process for Northern Pass draw to a close, and appreciate the years of diligent work done by the federal agencies in reaching this critical project milestone," Bill Quinlan, President of Eversource (which is co-financing the project along with HydroQuebec), said of the permit approval. "With the New Hampshire and Canadian permitting processes also nearing completion, and considering we have all major contractor, equipment and labor agreements in place, Northern Pass is on track to begin construction by mid-2018.  This is good news for customers, and for the broad and diverse group of New Hampshire stakeholders who support this project for the many benefits it will bring to the state and the region."

The Northern Pass project has been in the works for the past seven years, and seeks to carry power to roughly 1.1 million homes over the span of 192 miles. Opponents claim, however, that New Hampshire, which already produces more electricity than is necessary to service its population, does not stand to benefit from the project despite being asked to bear the brunt of its impact. The opposition movement has also voiced concerns that the proposed network of towers that would carry the new system of electrical lines from Quebec to Deerfield would scar the landscape and deal a potentially fatal blow to the tourism industry that has become the economic lifeblood of the North Country.

Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, who is opposed to Northern Pass, said, "It comes down to the State Evaluation Committee to reject the Northern Pass application in the best interest of New Hampshire to protect our environment our small communities and sovereignty. It's a bad deal for New Hampshire."

Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement last week that he was pleased to see the project moving forward.

"Today, New Hampshire is one step closer to lowering energy rates across the Granite State," Sununu commented. "After years of careful review, the Department of Energy has approved the Presidential Permit for the Northern Pass Transmission Line project, which will deliver 1,100MW of clean, renewable energy to New Hampshire: a home-run for small businesses, rate-payers, and clean energy advocates. Shovel-ready projects like Northern Pass stand ready to deliver the clean, base load electricity that Massachusetts should be actively pursuing in their Clean Energy RFP."

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