Northern Pass submits hydro-dependent power line project into New England RFP

Northern Pass Transmission (NPT), which plans a power line to wheel power out of Canada into New England, on Jan. 28 submitted a comprehensive proposal to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island in response to a joint Clean Energy request for proposals (RFP).

The NPT proposal will substantially reduce both energy prices and greenhouse gas emissions, improve winter reliability issues and add much-needed fuel diversity to the region’s energy mix—all while providing unmatched benefits and value for New England electric consumers, said project backer Hydro-Quebec in a Jan. 28 statement.

“Our proposal offers the cleanest, most reliable and cost-effective energy product in the marketplace today,” said Thomas J. May, Eversource Chairman, President and CEO. “We are ready to move ahead with our partner, Hydro-Québec, to help solve New England’s energy challenges.”

Northern Pass will bring 1,090 MW of hydroelectricity from Hydro-Quebec’s existing resources over a high-voltage transmission line extending from Des Cantons, Québec, to Deerfield, New Hampshire, where the line will interconnect to the New England electric system. Both the New Hampshire and Québec portions of the line are advancing in the siting process, and the project is on-track to be in service in May 2019, said Hydro-Quebec.

NPT’s bid includes a fixed construction price of C$1.6 billion, with the project seeking funding for only a portion of that cost from utilities participating in the solicitation. New Hampshire customers will not pay for the construction of the project.

Hydro-Québec said it is providing a unique delivery commitment to ensure that at least 6.3 terawatt hours (TWh) of firm hydro power from existing resources will be delivered into New England when customers need it the most—during peak demand periods and throughout the year when supplies are scarce and prices are at their highest. This proposal ensures that a guaranteed annual amount of energy is delivered into the wholesale energy market at prevailing market prices.

“Hydro-Québec has been a major participant and ally in the New England market for decades now but we can do more, through the guaranteed deliveries that are being proposed in this bid, to help the region meet its greenhouse reduction goals,” said Éric Martel, Hydro-Québec’s CEO. “We firmly believe that this project is an important part of the solution to expanding New England’s clean energy supply and offers increased reliability for both the Québec and New England grids.”

NPT and Hydro-Québec have assembled a highly experienced team of contractors and equipment suppliers. Accordingly, the project’s fixed construction price bid is the result of agreements reached with strategic partners, including Quanta Services, the largest transmission and distribution specialty contractor in North America, who will serve as the general contractor and assume the construction risk. Northern Pass has taken the additional steps to secure pricing on all materials and equipment, including with ABB, who will engineer and construct the underground DC cable and the converter station in Franklin, N.H.

“We’ve developed this bid as a cost-effective solution to the region’s energy needs, and because we believe it is a win-win for New England consumers,” said Bill Quinlan, President of New Hampshire Operations for Eversource. “Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have the opportunity to advance their clean energy goals, while New Hampshire will not only share the inherent clean energy benefits, but will also receive substantial economic and environmental benefits unique to the Granite State.”

Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas for more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Hydro-Québec generates, transmits and distributes electricity. Its sole shareholder is the Québec government. While using mainly hydroelectric generation, it supports the development of other technologies—such as wind energy and biomass—through purchases from independent power producers.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.