SOURCE: Concord Monitor
AUTHOR: Dolly McPhaul
HydroQuebec, Eversource’s partner in the Northern Pass project, is encountering problems in Canada. The Bureau of Public Hearings on the Environment is expressing concerns regarding the environmental impact of the 48 miles of lines connecting the dams to the Northern Pass project. The Nature Conservancy of Canada called the project “environmentally backward.” Another concern is the unknown profitability of the project due to the high cost of construction balanced against the decreasing energy costs in the U.S. and due to the lack of a firm supply agreement.
The recent power auction held in Massachusetts stated there was easily enough power available to meet the needs for 2020-21 and will cost ratepayers less than last year (without Northern Pass power). Eversource, despite the reduction in energy costs, helped keep the rates paid by consumers high, by raising its transmission rates to such a point the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission began an investigation.
The Champlain Hudson Power Express and the New England Clean Power Link, both competitors of Northern Pass, have received their permits and HydroQuebec is in discussions with both projects – not good news for Northern Pass.
In breaking news, HydroQuebec and Eversource were disagreeing over who will pay for the transmission construction costs in the U.S. Canadian papers published stories stating Eversource’s website claimed HydroQuebec would pay for the cost of burial construction in the U.S. (confirmed by a spokesperson at Eversource). HydroQuebec immediately issued a press release on March 8 stating: “We won’t pay a cent for the NP transmission line on the American side. American consumers will pay the transmission costs in the U.S. through their electricity rates.”