Eversource, HRE to replace PPA involving Northern Pass with alternative agreement

Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) d/b/a Eversource Energy and Hydro Renewable Energy (HRE), an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro-Quebéc, have announced their intent to work to replace their existing power purchase agreement (PPA) with an alternative agreement to provide customers in New Hampshire “with environmental and potential future economic benefits as part of the Northern Pass Transmission” project, according to a July 25 statement.

As TransmissionHub reported, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission denied Eversource’s petition for reconsideration regarding the commission’s March 27 order, in which the commission dismissed the company’s petition requesting approval of a proposed PPA.

As noted in the PUC’s April 20 order denying the petition, Eversource last June filed the petition for approval of the proposed 20-year PPA between Eversource and HRE. Under the PPA’s terms, HRE would sell, and Eversource would buy, about 100 MW of firm, on-peak electric energy delivered to Eversource’s Deerfield substation over the proposed Northern Pass Transmission line.

Under the terms of Eversource’s proposal, the order added, net gains or losses from the purchase and subsequent resale of the energy would be accounted for through the Stranded Cost Recovery Charge (SCRC) rate established by the 2015 Restructuring Settlement Agreement and approved by the PUC in a July 2016 order.

An Eversource spokesperson told TransmissionHub on April 25 that the PPA is not a requirement of the Northern Pass Transmission project state permit process. 

The spokesperson added, “The PPA was proposed as a response to many, including business leaders and policy makers, who asked for a guarantee that New Hampshire, as host state of the Northern Pass project, will receive its fair share of energy from the project and economic benefits above and beyond those received by other New England states.” 

As TransmissionHub reported, the commission said in its March 27 order that “the proposal cannot be approved because it is inconsistent with New Hampshire law, specifically the Electric Utility Restructuring Statute, RSA Chapter 374-F.”

An Eversource spokesperson told TransmissionHub on July 26 that the PPA has been withdrawn, and that the companies “have stated their commitment to work to develop an alternative agreement to provide benefits to [New Hampshire] customers, but no new agreement yet exists.”

Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource operations in New Hampshire, said in the July 25 statement: “We recognize the importance of delivering value to New Hampshire and are pleased to be cooperating with our partner on a new approach that will result in unique and significant benefits for the Granite State. PSNH remains firmly committed to pursuing opportunities to lower energy costs for our customers above and beyond the $62 million in annual energy cost savings for New Hampshire consumers.”

Steve Demers, vice-president – Business Development of Hydro-Québec, said in the statement, “Hydro-Québec is committed to working with Eversource to provide the value of Quebec hydropower environmental attributes to the state of New Hampshire, in addition to the benefits associated with the operation of the Northern Pass Project.”

Noting that the commission in March dismissed the original PPA on the grounds that the agreement was not consistent with the state’s electric restructuring law, Eversource said in the statement that a subsequent attempt by New Hampshire lawmakers to address issues raised by the commission has yet to advance. Eversource also noted that the commitment associated with the July 25 announcement will be consistent with the commission’s decision and comes at no cost to New Hampshire customers.

Through the newly announced commitment, the parties will work toward an agreement to provide to PSNH the environmental attributes associated with an annual volume of clean energy delivered into the New England region, Eversource said, adding that PSNH would be able to utilize those attributes to satisfy future clean energy requirements and direct any benefits to New Hampshire customers.

On the latest status of the transmission project, the spokesperson on July 26 said that the state permitting hearings for Northern Pass continue, with hearing days scheduled this month, as well as in August and September. The federal environmental impact statement is expected to be issued the U.S. Department of Energy in August, he said.

The project will be bid in to the Massachusetts Clean Energy solicitation/request for proposals, the spokesperson said, noting that bids are due on July 27.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.