MANCHESTER, N.H.—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a major environmental certificate for a new transmission line originating in Quebec and extending through New Hampshire that will take clean Quebec hydroelectric power to the New England grid.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) from the DOE declared the Northern Pass, backed by Eversource Energy, to be the "preferred alternative" for transmission.
The Northern Pass line will begin at the Canadian border across from Pittsburg, N.H. and extend 309 kilometres to Deerfield, N.H. where it will connect to the New England grid, notes a media statement released earlier this month. More than 80 per cent of the line will be located along existing transmission corridors or buried along roadways to minimize visual impacts in the White Mountain National Forest area, the statement indicates.
The transmission line will be controlled by the regional system operator, ISO-New England. The FEIS concluded that the proposed Northern Pass route provides substantial benefits and will result in only minimal impacts.
"We are extremely pleased that DOE has completed its FEIS and greatly appreciate the years of hard work by all of the experts involved in this thorough review of Northern Pass," said Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource operations in New Hampshire. "As this clean energy project continues to advance through the final stages of the New Hampshire permitting process, we are encouraged to have reached this major federal permitting milestone."
The statement said the Northern Pass project will create 6,747 jobs in New Hampshire during construction as well as 901 permanent jobs.
The Northern Pass is now awaiting the issuance of its federal permits, including the DOE’s Presidential Permit, a Special Use Permit from the U.S. Forest Service and the Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
All major state and federal permits are expected in 2017. It is expected the Northern Pass will be substantially complete by the third quarter of 2020. Following testing, the line will be in service by the end of 2020.