New Hampshire SEC suspends Feb. 1 decision denying Northern Pass application

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) has voted to suspend the Feb. 1 decision denying the Northern Pass project application, through which the company sought a certificate of site and facility.

As noted in the order, Northern Pass Transmission and Public Service Company of New Hampshire d/b/a Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES), in October 2015 filed with the SEC the application, seeking approval of the siting, construction, and operation of the Northern Pass project.

As authorized by statute, a subcommittee was appointed to hear and consider the evidence for and against the application, the order said. Following more than 70 days of adjudicative hearings, the subcommittee voted to deny the application, the order said, noting that the subcommittee has not issued a written order on its deliberations.

Northern Pass on Feb. 28 filed a “motion for rehearing and request to vacate” the Feb. 1 decision and resume incomplete deliberations, the order noted, adding that the subcommittee on March 12 held a public hearing on the pending motion and voted to suspend the decision.

In a case like this, where the subcommittee voted to deny the application, “suspending” that decision has little practical effect as the applicant does not have approval and may not proceed with its project, the order said.

The order further noted that in an effort to put in place an orderly process for considering post-decision motions for rehearing, the decision of the subcommittee as voted on Feb. 1 to deny the application is suspended on these terms:

  • The subcommittee will issue its written order when it is completed and signed by the subcommittee members
  • Once the written order is issued, any party seeking rehearing is to comply with the statutory requirements for filing motions for rehearing; objections are to be filed within 10 days of filing of the motion for rehearing
  • A hearing to deliberate on all motions for rehearing and any other relief sought will be scheduled after the deadline for objections; a notice of the time, date, and location of the hearing to deliberate will be issued

In a March 12 statement, Northern Pass said that it hopes that the SEC’s decision to suspend the Feb. 1 oral decision, pending issuance of a written order, “is an indication that the SEC will evaluate the required statutory criteria, as well as thoroughly consider all of the conditions that could provide the basis for granting approval. At a time when the region needs new and diverse sources of clean energy, it is vitally important that projects like Northern Pass are considered fully and efficiently and without unnecessary delay.”

As TransmissionHub reported, Northern Pass on March 6 said that the 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.

Northern Pass said in its March 12 statement that the project has received approvals from all state permitting agencies other than the SEC.

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 direct current (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 alternating current (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 3233 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.