New Hampshire state Rep. Larry Rappaport plans to introduce four transmission-related bills, likely at the end of this month, including one that requires all elective transmission lines to be buried.
According to ISO New England, transmission lines are either needed for system reliability or they are elective, that is, not needed to keep the lights on, Rappaport told TransmissionHub on Jan. 3.
“My burial bill says that all elective lines have to be buried and if a line is needed for system reliability, then we suggest bury it, but it doesn’t have to be buried; in other words, it’s optional,” he said.
Another bill would require that any entity proposing a transmission line project must go before the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Commission (SEC) and provide fully costed burial options, he said. “They don’t necessarily have to [bury the line], that’s up to the SEC, but they have to present the option and it has to be fully costed,” Rappaport added.
If they do not present a real option, they face a minimum penalty of $5,000 and a maximum penalty of $1m. The actual amount of each penalty would be set by the SEC.
Rappaport also said that another bill he will introduce would establish a commission that would set a state energy policy. “We had such a commission in the beginning of the century and enough [things have] changed that I think we need to do it again so rather than reacting to things, I think we need to plan it,” he said.
A state senator is working on a bill involving the same issue and if it is similar to his, Rappaport said he would probably pull his bill in favor of the senator’s, but if not, he would keep his bill.
The fourth bill would require all transmission line projects to use state transportation rights of way whenever possible.
Reasons behind the bill include “getting double duty out of the right of way,” as well as financial gain for the state. Rappaport added, “The single largest problem in New Hampshire is money and this [bill] means that money would go to the state as opposed to a transmission company.”
One major transmission project in the works in New Hampshire is the Northern Pass project by Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU) subsidiary The Northern Pass Transmission, which would import 1,200 MW of Canadian hydropower, specifically from Hydro-Québec.
The Northern Pass said on Dec. 31, 2012, that it has identified a new route in the North Country that it will submit to the SEC in the future for consideration and review in relation to the proposed DC line between the United States and Canada.
The state’s legislative sessions ends in June, Rappaport said.