The Burden is Too Great for NH Property Owners, Economy, and Ratepayers.
CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Chapter of Sierra Club, 10,000 members and supporters, announced its opposition to the Northern Pass. The Sierra Club goal is to support a 100% fossil-free power sector for energy efficient homes, businesses, schools, and municipalities in the United States by 2030. New Hampshire Sierra Club (NHSC) endorses investment increases for grid modernization, weatherization, energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy projects, as envisioned in the NH 10 Year Energy Strategy.
Flooding Canada for Profits:
In October, 2010, Public Service Company of New Hampshire, now Eversource, announced the Northern Pass. The project, if built, will transmit electricity generated in Canada and owned by the Province of Quebec for sale to greater New England. A Province of Quebec owned company, Hydro Quebec, has dammed waterways, flooding vast land areas. The dammed water generates the electricity using turbines. In order to market the electricity, Hydro Quebec needs a pathway to build infrastructure to sell the electricity to Massachusetts and Connecticut, and New York. The proposed pathway is though New Hampshire.
PSNH owns rights of way it acquired around 75 years ago using rate payer money to bring necessary electricity to homes and businesses in New Hampshire from its fossil fired generating plants in Portsmouth and Bow. The electricity is transmitted along the old rights of way to substations where the voltage, usually 115 kV, is reduced for distribution to New Hampshire customers.
PSNH, now Eversource, proposes to rent the old rights of way to Hydro Quebec to serve as a corridor to transmit the electricity to greater New England. The transmission facilities will require the construction of steel towers as high as 135 feet on massive concrete foundations. There are two distinct sections of the project. North of Franklin, NH the transmitted electricity will be high voltage direct current (DC) rated at 300+/- volts, meaning as high as 600 kV. In Franklin, a 21 acre converter station will be built to transition the DC to alternating current (AC). The second section, South of Franklin, will run alongside existing transmission and distribution lines approximately 34 miles to Deerfield. The AC transmission towers, rated 345 kV, will vary from 48 feet to 135 feet. It is worth repeating that the new towers will, in most areas, be constructed next to the existing 115 kV wires that bring electricity to New Hampshire.
NHSC opposes Northern Pass because:
“Flooding vast areas of Quebec, eradicating wildlife, displacing Native People, installing towers and wires or digging a trench across New Hampshire will be a permanent scar. That is why New Hampshire Sierra Club opposes Northern Pass,” continued Jerry Curran from Amherst. “More flooding is happening now. There is no guarantee that Hydro Quebec will stop flooding rivers and valleys. The Northern Pass can only encourage more flooding.”
“NHSC supports more investments in energy efficiency and weatherization in our homes, businesses, schools and municipal buildings, as developed in Governor Hassan’s 10 Year Energy Strategy,” stated Catherine Corkery, NHSC Chapter Director. “Studies have shown significant potential in all sectors in New Hampshire (residential, industrial and commercial) to save millions of dollars with energy efficiency and weatherization alone. Further, ISO New England has predicted annual energy demand to grow less than 1% until 2021. We need to invest in our needs and demands before approving massive projects, like Northern Pass.”
“The burden of Northern Pass is too great for New Hampshire property owners, economy, and ratepayers. The transmission pathway wrongly assumes that the right-of-way easements allow for rent to Hydro Quebec,” continued Corkery. “The easements were purchased with rate payer money for needed transmission and distribution to New Hampshire homes, farms and businesses. Eversource, doing business as Northern Pass, has no right to rent easements to foreign governments to sell Hydro Quebec energy. The safety of burying under road ways is unknown. The transmission towers or digging a trench through the heart of New Hampshire will impact property values negatively. Buried or left above ground, this proposal is a bad deal for New Hampshire”
“Last month the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the summer of 2015 the hottest summer on record. With 14 out the 15 hottest years ever recorded having occurred since 2000, it’s undeniable that climate change is affecting us here and now,” stated Jim Allmendinger of Durham. “We urgently need to address carbon emissions and invest in our own communities, infrastructure, homes, and renewable energy now, not later.”
“The Northern Pass opposition will need more volunteers to win,” stated Jerry Curran, NHSC Chapter Chair. “We are asking current rights of way easement holders under threat of Northern Pass to share your easement forms to further instruct our efforts to oppose Northern Pass. Please scan your easements and send to NHSC603@gmail.com or mail them to our office. If folks have questions or are willing to volunteer, send us a note to NHSC603@gmail.com or call our Concord office 603-224-8222.”