National Energy Board of Canada grants approval for Northern Pass project

Eversource Energy’s (NYSE:ES) Northern Pass on March 6 said that the Northern Pass transmission project is now fully permitted on the Canadian side of the border, following the approval by the National Energy Board.

The Province of Québec in December granted Hydro-Québec a permit to construct the hydroelectric transmission line that will connect with the Northern Pass project at the U.S. border, the company said.

Northern Pass also noted that the project has been awarded a Presidential permit, allowing the project to connect to the Hydro-Québec system at the international border.

As TransmissionHub reported, Northern Pass recently filed a motion with the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) requesting that the committee vacate its recent decision regarding the project and to resume deliberations on the proposed project. The SEC on Feb. 1 decided to deny the Northern Pass project application, through which the company sought a certificate of site and facility.

In a separate March 6 statement, Hydro-Québec noted that the project – also known as the Québec-New Hampshire interconnection project – is a 320-kV DC transmission line, some 80 kilometers long, that will be extended into the United States to connect the Des Cantons substation in Val-Joli to the Franklin substation in southern New Hampshire.

According to the March 8 National Energy Board letter decision, the board has decided to issue the electricity permit EP-303, the effect of which is to approve the project.

The board said that it notes the concerns of the Innus de Pessamit related to the generation of electricity and reservoir management, and the potential impacts of those on its traditional territory, but also notes that the project, as applied for, is not dependent on any new upstream facilities.

The board said that it is of the view that upstream facilities are not part of the project, and as such, the scope of the letter decision is limited to the project and its immediate associated facilities.

The board also noted that it is of the view that the overall design of the proposed 320-kV project makes use of sound engineering practice in respect of structural design, layout, line and structure numbering, equipment selection, transfer capacity and reliability.

The board said that it is satisfied that Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie (HQT) has demonstrated that the project is responding to market need and that the project would increase the export capacity of Québec.

Also, noting that HQT stated that the estimated project costs are C$125m, the board said that it is of the view that HQT has demonstrated that it has sufficient financial resources in place to finance the construction and operation of the project.

HQT provided evidence that its abandonment cost estimate (ACE) for the project is about $11.3m with abandonment work requiring five months to complete. The board added that it is satisfied that HQT has sufficient financial strength to finance the future abandonment of the project. Noting that it approves the ACE of $11.3m, the board said that HQT will be required to apply to the board to abandon the project.

Among other things, the board said that it notes HQT’s efforts to determine an appropriate route, taking into consideration public input and land use in the area. The board said that it is satisfied that HQT has identified and addressed environmental and socio-economic effects associated with the project, including those raised through the public comment process within the ambit of an NEB permit application and scope of the applied for project.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3235 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.