Northern Pass

LePage Vows To Push Through $950M Project To Send Quebec Hydropower Through Maine

Feb 17, 2018
Colin Perkel / AP - BDN

Massachusetts chose a $950 million project headed by Maine utility Central Maine Power to be its backup option for a massive clean energy procurement that appeared headed to New Hampshire before regulators there nixed it last week.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s energy czar said his boss would “push this right through” the rest of the permitting process handled by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, but it could set off confrontations with environmentalists who have been cool to, but quiet on, the plan.

Massachusetts officials are demanding to know whether a hydro project that was rejected by New Hampshire regulators is still a viable option for delivering clean energy to the state by 2020.

The $1.6 billion Northern Pass project was supposed to bring hydropower from Canada by creating a transmission line through New Hampshire for customers in southern New England. But the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee last week unanimously rejected its application, citing the project's impact on local communities, businesses and the regional tourism industry.

Massachusetts officials are saying little about the rejection by New Hampshire regulators of a key hydropower project.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs said in a statement the agency will "continue to monitor and evaluate developments," but officials referred all other questions about Northern Pass to New Hampshire officials and utility Eversource.

A state panel in New Hampshire on Thursday rejected a permit the Northern Pass power line project needs to move forward.

Just last week the project’s developers beat out others — including several in Maine — that bid for a massive renewable energy contract sought by Massachusetts.

The Northern Pass project would sluice electricity from Canada’s Hydro Quebec dam system through New Hampshire to Massachusetts customers.

CONCORD, N.H. - The U.S. Department of Energy has granted a key permit for a transmission project that would carry hydropower from Canada to energy markets in southern New England.
 
The awarding of a presidential permit Thursday would let the $1.6 billion Northern Pass project take hydropower across an international border and connect to the U.S. grid if the project is approved. It's the latest sign of progress for a 192-mile project debated for years.