Eversource lines up 100 MW of hydro from Northern Pass power line project

Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES) said June 28 that it and Hydro-Québec have reached a significant agreement that ensures Eversource customers in New Hampshire will receive a substantial supply of clean energy from the Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission project.

The power purchase agreement (PPA) between the parties is expected to deliver additional benefits that, combined with the lowering of market power prices, bring the total estimated energy cost savings for New Hampshire customers to over $1bn.

“This agreement is great news for New Hampshire electricity customers who have been struggling to pay some of the highest rates in the country,” said Bill Quinlan, President of Eversource New Hampshire Operations. “New Hampshire is guaranteed a significant amount of clean, affordable power delivered to Deerfield, New Hampshire, when customer demand is highest. Our residential and business customers will get much-needed relief from the price spikes that have plagued the New England energy market in recent years.”

The PPA, which was filed June 28 with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, is a 20-year contract that supports New Hampshire’s Ten Year Energy Strategy and its Climate Action Plan, as well as other regional carbon reduction goals.

“Hydro-Québec is pleased to reserve some of the power that will flow on this line for consumers in New Hampshire, the state hosting the project,” said Steve Molodetz, Vice-President of HQUS, Hydro-Québec’s business development arm. “The low-carbon, reliable electricity will help the entire region move closer to meeting its ambitious climate change goals.” 

As part of the New England regional electric grid, New Hampshire consumes about 9% of the power used in the region each year. The PPA guarantees that Eversource’s New Hampshire customers will receive their proportional share of the power from the Northern Pass line – approximately 100 MW. The PPA will also provide a firm energy supply during peak hours each weekday for 20 years.

The PPA’s pricing framework will help protect New Hampshire customers from future volatility due to things like power plant closures by smoothing out price spikes and is expected to provide substantial savings over the life of the contract. Moreover, the PPA ensures that Eversource New Hampshire customers receive beneficial pricing for 10 years.

This agreement ensures that the power flowing over the Northern Pass line is 100% certified hydropower, Eversource noted. The environmental attributes associated with this clean energy will flow to Eversource’s New Hampshire customers.

The Northern Pass project is currently working through the public permitting processes at the federal and state levels. In October 2015, the project filed an application with the NH Site Evaluation Committee for state siting approval which included a revised route that is 80% along existing transmission corridors or underground along public roadways, thereby eliminating potential view impacts in and around the White Mountain National Forest and Appalachian Trail.

Northern Pass is a 192-mile electric transmission line project that will provide New Hampshire and New England up to 1,090 MW of clean hydropower.

Eversource is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, serving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in 211 cities and towns.

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.