New transmission lines proposed for New England

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CONCORD, N.H. — National Grid on Tuesday announced a transmission project that would bring up to 1,200 megawatts of clean energy from Canada to the New England power grid and run along existing lines in Vermont and New Hampshire.

National Grid said the project, which would be sold to a Massachusetts clean-energy program, has two segments. The first is a high-voltage, direct current overhead line in Vermont alongside an existing one from the Canadian border in Norton, to a proposed converter station on National Grid-owned property in Monroe, New Hampshire.

The second segment is an upgrade of an existing overhead line in New Hampshire to accommodate additional power flow from Monroe to Londonderry in southern New Hampshire, where a proposed switching station would be built.

When asked if it would compete with the proposed Northern Pass power project, which seeks to run a 192-mile transmission line in New Hampshire from Pittsburg to Deerfield, carrying enough HydroQuebec power to southern New England markets to power about a million homes, project director Joe Rossignoli said, "Really all I'm here to do is discuss the merits of our project. Ultimately, others will make the call on who gets contracted with it and who doesn't."

Martin Murray, a spokesman for the Northern Pass project, said the National Grid announcement "speaks to the regional need for new sources of reliable and clean power to replace retiring power plants across New England."

He said ISO New England, an independent, nonprofit Regional Transmission Organization that serves New England, has said that new transmission infrastructure will be necessary to reach clean energy sources, "and warned that we will need to address a loss of more than 4,000 megawatts of electric capacity in the immediate future."

The project, estimated to create more than 2,000 construction jobs, would be funded by National Grid and investors, including a nonprofit called Citizens Energy in Massachusetts that plans to use half of its profits to fund energy assistance programs for families in New Hampshire and Vermont. Both states also would receive tax revenues from the project.

Rossignoli said the goal is to have the project done by the end of 2022. The project would require federal and state permits. He said the utility is in discussions with hydro and wind suppliers in Quebec.

National Grid sold its gas and electric businesses to Liberty Utilities in 2012. It also has partnered on a separate power project in Vermont.

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