NSTAR Electric Company d/b/a Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES) on Aug. 2 filed with the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board an application for a certificate of environmental impact and public interest involving a 345-kV transmission line.
The company noted that the application is necessary because of the May 1 denial by the Woburn City Council of Eversource’s petition for a grant of location in the City of Woburn in relation to the line. Without that grant of location, the project cannot be built or completed as approved by the board, the company said. As noted in the application, the board initially approved the project on Feb. 28.
The Woburn City Council’s denial sets forth various reasons for its decision, including concerns that the new line would impede or prevent future use of the public ways, the company said.
Eversource said that it requests a certificate from the board representing a composite of all remaining local permits, approvals, licenses, certificates, or other forms of authorization that would otherwise be necessary in relation to the proposal by Eversource and New England Power (NEP) d/b/a National Grid to build and operate:
- The new approximately 8.5-mile, underground electric transmission line (referred to as the new line) between Eversource’s existing substation in Woburn (Woburn substation) and NEP’s existing substation in Wakefield (Wakefield Junction substation)
- Related substation improvements
Eversource noted that it filed last December the petition with the Woburn City Council for a grant of location in public ways (GOL petition) to allow for the construction and installation of the new line with appurtenant communication/signal wires for a total distance of about 1.4 miles in Woburn – beneath Lake Avenue, Pickering Street, Border Street, Cross Street, Washington Street, and Montvale Avenue. That route comprises the same route approved by the board in its final decision, Eversource said.
Eversource said that in a July 5 initial petition in the matter, it alleged that a certificate by the board was necessary and appropriate because of, among other things, the Woburn City Council’s rejection of Eversource’s GOL application. Eversource’s Aug. 2 application is filed under a July 12 determination of the board’s chairman deferring consideration of the July 5 initial petition and authorizing the submission of an application by Eversource.
The company also said that the new line portion of the project, as approved by the board, is to be built along the primary route in the municipalities of Woburn, Winchester, Stoneham, and Wakefield.
The board-approved route is an underground route that begins at the Woburn substation, crossing the northeastern portion of the substation property to enter Lake Avenue, heading generally northeast, Eversource added. The route then turns south onto Pickering Street before turning east onto Border Street where it crosses Main Street (Route 38) and enters Cross Street at the border of Woburn and Winchester.
The company added that the route for the new line continues on Cross Street – traversing under an elevated section of the MBTA Lowell Line – east into Winchester until its intersection with Washington Street. The route then follows Washington Street north and crosses into Woburn, then east along Montvale Avenue, and under Interstate Route 93 (I-93) into Stoneham. The company also said that the route continues east along Montvale Avenue to its intersection with Main Street. The route then continues north on Main Street until its intersection with Elm Street, and then heads east on Elm Street to the Wakefield town line.
The company added that the route follows Albion Street east/northeast to Broadway and following that roadway north, then crossing the MBTA Haverhill Line railroad tracks at grade and continuing along Broadway to its intersection with an inactive railroad right of way (ROW) owned by the MBTA in Wakefield. The route continues north in Wakefield on the MBTA Railroad ROW for about one mile to its intersection with Salem Street. Eversource added that the route turns east on Salem Street, south onto Montrose Avenue, and lastly southeast onto the Wakefield Junction substation driveway.
“In the initial Section 69J proceeding, after extensive investigation and consideration of the evidence, the siting board determined that the project would be needed because Eversource and NEP demonstrated that the additional energy resources are needed to maintain a reliable supply of electricity to the Greater Boston Area,” the company said. “Further, the siting board found that ‘on balance the project is superior to the other alternatives identified with respect to providing a reliable energy supply for the commonwealth with minimum impact on the environment at the lowest possible cost.’”
The company said that it requests that the board grant it the certificate with respect to: grants of location in public ways for the portion of the new line located in the City of Woburn and the towns of Stoneham and Winchester; the company’s notice of intent/order of conditions from the Winchester Conservation Commission; and street opening permits in Woburn, Stoneham, and Winchester.