Projects continue to advance following Massachusetts RFP outcome

Companies issued statements following the selection of the Northern Pass project in the Massachusetts Clean Energy solicitation, with Emera President and CEO Chris Huskilson, for instance, saying that Emera will continue to advance the Atlantic Link transmission project, including the project’s Presidential permit application and required approvals from relevant agencies in the United States and Canada, as the company assesses the solicitation’s outcome and future market opportunities.

Atlantic Link, a proposed 1,000-MW subsea transmission line between Atlantic Canada and southern New England, was proposed by Emera last year in response to the request for proposals (RFP), Emera said in its Jan. 25 statement.

“Emera has been advised that its proposal regarding the Atlantic Link subsea transmission project will not at this time proceed to negotiation with Massachusetts electric utilities for a long-term contract,” Huskilson said in the statement.

“Connecting New England to new sources of affordable clean energy in Atlantic Canada, along a reliable subsea transmission connection, remains a compelling opportunity that would bring significant value to the market,” Huskilson said. “The project embodies Emera’s strategy of delivering cleaner, affordable energy to customers. Atlantic Link’s proposed delivery point at Plymouth, Massachusetts, which would repurpose infrastructure that currently serves a retiring nuclear plant, is optimal.”

According to the project’s website, the Atlantic Link involves installing two high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission cables – entering the water near an existing electric substation at Coleson Cove, New Brunswick, and coming ashore at a site near the Pilgrim nuclear generating station at Plymouth, Mass. The two cables would be installed together in the same corridor, the site noted. The length of the line – which would be almost entirely underwater – would be about 375 miles, depending on the final decision regarding cable routing, according to the site.

The site noted that the project includes:

  • Two converter stations (at Coleson Cove and at Plymouth), as well as a new substation in Plymouth
  • Onshore anchoring sites

National Grid

Separately on Jan. 25, John Flynn, president and COO, U.S. Strategic Growth, National Grid Ventures, said in a statement: “We are disappointed that our projects were not selected in the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP but we firmly believe the Granite State Power Link [(GSPL)] and the Northeast Renewable Link [(NRL)] provide the Commonwealth of Massachusetts a triple-win by delivering the greatest emissions reductions at the lowest cost with minimal environmental or community impact. We are proud of these carefully-designed solutions, which meet the targets of this historic procurement, while providing billions of dollars in economic benefits to the commonwealth and host communities.”

Flynn continued: “Our partnerships with General Electric and Citizens Energy further our commitment to bring broad economic opportunity to Massachusetts. We continue to join with our fellow projects to encourage the Evaluation Committee to provide full transparency into the evaluation process and decision, to ensure public trust in this historic decision. Moving forward, we are committed to advancing projects in our renewable energy portfolio that achieve substantial triple-win benefits for customers and communities.”

Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph Kennedy II said in the statement, “We will continue to help build important green energy infrastructure and use our profits to serve the energy needs of struggling senior citizens and low-income families.”

Will Hazelip, vice president, National Grid, told TransmissionHub in December 2017, that the GSPL is designed to transmit 1,200 MW from Québec into the New England transmission system, while the NRL is designed to transmit 600 MW of energy from New York to Massachusetts.

According to a project fact sheet, the GSPL would involve building about 59 miles of new HVDC transmission line from a new converter station in northern Vermont to a new converter station in Monroe, N.H. The project would require an interconnection upgrade to about 109 miles of existing alternating current (AC) transmission lines from Monroe to a new switching station in Londonderry, N.H. The fact sheet also noted that the entire project and interconnect would stay within, or adjacent to, existing transmission corridors.

On the need for the project, the fact sheet noted that New England’s energy constraints, driven by retiring fossil fuel generating plants, require immediate and cost-effective transmission solutions that would transport clean energy to benefit customers now and in the future.

A National Grid spokesperson on Feb. 2 told TransmissionHub that the GSPL permitting process is on track. A Presidential permit application was submitted in December 2017, the spokesperson said, adding that New Hampshire and Vermont state siting applications will be submitted this year. The company anticipates obtaining all permits/approvals by mid-2020, to then start construction, the spokesperson said. The project’s estimated total cost is $1.1bn, and it is estimated to be in service at the end of 2022.

According to the NRL’s website, that project would involve building a 23-mile, 345-kV AC transmission line from National Grid’s Alps substation in Nassau, N.Y., to Eversource Energy’s (NYSE:ES) Berkshire substation in Hinsdale, Mass. The line – which would stay within, or adjacent to, existing transmission corridors – would help provide a much-needed source of clean energy into the New England energy grid, helping to lower regional energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while promoting economic development in New York and Massachusetts, according to the site.

The National Grid spokesperson on Feb. 2 said that the NRL permitting process is on track as well, with federal and state environmental permit applications – as well as siting applications in Massachusetts and New York – to be submitted this year. The company anticipates obtaining all permits/approvals by the end of 2019, to then start construction, the spokesperson said. The project’s estimated total cost is $400m, and it is estimated to be in service at the end of 2021, the spokesperson said.

Hazelip said in December that Citizens Energy would have a 10% stake in each project.

TDI New England

Another company that responded to the RFP is TDI-New England (TDI-NE), which proposed the New England Clean Power Link (NECPL) project.

Don Jessome, CEO of TDI-NE, in a statement regarding the RFP selection, said that TDI-NE received notice that its proposals were not selected by the RFP review committee to proceed to contract negotiations.

“While we are disappointed by the announcement, we remain fully committed to the project which is well positioned to meet the region’s laudable goal to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years,” he said. “TDI-NE firmly believes the fully permitted and fully supported project is the right turn-key solution to help New England reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner."

He continued: "We developed the fully buried New England Clean Power Link in a respectful community-minded manner that our partners can take pride in. We thank the State of Vermont and its local communities for their continued gracious support.”

According to the executive summary for the “100% hydro power bid,” TDI-NE and Hydro-Québec provided the proposal, which is designed to offer firm deliveries of 1,000 MW of incremental hydroelectric generation imported from the Hydro-Québec system via the NECPL at fixed prices through a 20-year power purchase agreement and transmission service agreement (TDI-NE TSA) with the state’s distribution companies.

In order to import hydropower from Hydro-Québec’s system, a new HVDC line interconnection between Québec and ISO New England is required.

The energy for the project will tie into, and be transported to, the border via Québec’s transmission system, the filing added, noting that the Québec portion of the line will be built and operated by Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie (HQT) in Québec.

The NECPL will connect with the HQT system at the U.S.-Canada border in Alburgh, Vt., and then travel along the bottom of Lake Champlain for about 97 miles. The filing also noted that an additional 57 miles of the line will be buried beneath existing public road rights of way and will connect to TDI-NE’s proposed converter station in Ludlow, Vt. At that new station, the electrical power will be converted from DC to AC, and then flow to Vermont Electric Power Company’s (VELCO) unconstrained Coolidge substation in Ludlow.

The 154-mile NECPL HVDC buried transmission line will be built and operated by TDI-NE in Vermont under the proposed terms of the TDI-NE TSA, the filing added.

According to the executive summary for the “hydro and wind power bid,” Hydro-Québec, Gaz Métro, Boralex, and TDI-NE offered 1,000 MW of renewable and affordable energy to Massachusetts for 20 years, with wind and hydro power to be delivered from Canada to Massachusetts through the NECPL.

The filing noted that under the proposal:

  • Gaz Métro and Boralex would deliver 300 MW of new “Class I” wind generation with RECs firmed with firm service hydroelectric generation and environmental attributes
  • Hydro-Québec would deliver 700 MW of clean energy generation and environmental attributes from Hydro-Québec’s incremental hydroelectric generation
  • To transport the clean energy, TDI-NE will build the line under a 20-year transmission services agreement

The RFP

According to the March 31, 2017, RFP, Fitchburg Gas & Electric Light d/b/a Unitil, Massachusetts Electric and Nantucket Electric d/b/a National Grid, NSTAR Electric and Western Massachusetts Electric d/b/a Eversource – as investor-owned electric distribution companies serving customers in Massachusetts – in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), collectively sought proposals for incremental clean energy generation and associated environmental attributes and/or RECs under cost-effective, long-term contracts, which may include required associated transmission costs, under Section 83D of Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008, as amended by chapter 188 of the Acts of 2016, An Act to Promote Energy Diversity.

In the RFP, the distribution companies solicited proposals for clean energy generation for an annual amount of electricity equal to about 9,450,000 MWh, to be procured by the distribution companies entering into cost-effective, long-term contracts by 2022.

The RFP added that the distribution companies encouraged proposals that include clean energy generation able to commit to begin deliveries prior to the end of 2020 to maximize Massachusetts’ ability to meet its Global Warming Solution Act goals.

Northern Pass

As TransmissionHub reported, Northern Pass on Jan. 25 said that officials in Massachusetts announced that a bid submitted by Eversource and Hydro-Québec to use Northern Pass Transmission (NPT) to deliver hydropower to the New England grid has been selected in the RFP.

According to the Massachusetts Clean Energy website, the distribution companies and DOER have completed the evaluation of bids received in response to the Section 83D Clean Energy RFP. The bid evaluation process included monitoring and assistance by an independent evaluator, the site noted.

The final acceptance of the bid and the award of a contract is conditional upon the successful negotiation of the contract and required regulatory approval at the state Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the site noted.

In other news, Northern Pass on Feb. 1 said that it will seek reconsideration of the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee’s decision to deny the Northern Pass project application.

According to the project’s website the 192-mile transmission line project is designed to bring 1,090 MW of clean energy from Hydro-Québec’s hydroelectric plants in Canada to New Hampshire and to the rest of New England. The project would build a new DC transmission line from the Canadian border to Franklin, N.H., where a converter terminal would be built to convert the electricity from DC to AC, the site noted. From there, a new AC transmission line would carry the energy to an existing substation in Deerfield, N.H., and into New England’s electric grid, according to the site.

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.