Northeast Utilities proposes power line route in New Hampshire

Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:53pm EDT
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June 27 (Reuters) - New England power company Northeast Utilities on Thursday proposed a new route for part of a $1.4 billion Northern Pass power transmission line to run from Quebec to New Hampshire.

Northeast Utilities said the high voltage direct current (HVDC) line is expected to be put into service in mid 2017, pending federal and state regulatory approvals.

If all goes according to plan, it will bring about 1,200 megawatts (MW) of mostly hydropower from Hydro-Quebec, Quebec's province owned power company. That could power over one million New England homes.

Northeast Utilities would own the estimated 187-mile portion of the line in New Hampshire and Hydro-Quebec would own the Quebec portion.

In New Hampshire, the HVDC line would run from the town of Pittsburg in the northern part of the state to a new converter station in Franklin in the south central part of the state, where the energy will be converted to alternating current (AC) power. The AC power will travel to an existing substation in Deerfield in the southeastern part of the state.

Northeast Utilities, which submitted its original proposal in 2010, said the project will be financed by its developers and customers will not pay any of the associated costs.

Northeast Utilities said the improved route announced Thursday includes about 40 miles of new rights of way in the northern part of New Hampshire, including an underground portion of nearly 8 miles. About 147 miles of the project will be built in existing transmission rights of way.

But not everyone is satisfied with the project.

The Conservation Law Foundation, a New England environmental group, said in a statement that the Northeast Utilities measures amount to "putting a band-aid on a gaping wound."   Continued...