Hydro Refutes Reported $500 Million Subsidy to Bury U.S. Cable

SOURCE: The Suburban
AUTHOR: Robert Frank

Hydro Quebec denies that it granted a half-billion dollar concession to its American partners to bury a 100 km stretch of high-tension line through the White Mountains, after New Hampshire residents complained that giant aerial towers would desecrate the pristine forest there.

“Massachusetts has a very keen interest in purchasing Hydro power,” spokeswoman Lynn St. Laurent told The Suburban in an interview, March 13. “It will be launching a request for proposals (RFP) in the coming weeks for 9.45 terawatt-hours [of energy].”

The provincial government’s electrical energy monopoly reportedly would reimburse the cost of burying the line through annual concessions, according to its partner, American developer Eversource’s subsidiary Northern Pass Transmission, which stated that it will recover its costs from Hydro over the 40-year term of its agreement and that it will own and operate the transmission line and related facilities.

“Most importantly, New Hampshire residents will not pay any of the cost of building or operating the Northern Pass project,” Northern Pass said on its web site.

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Is Hydro-Quebec Having Second Thoughts About Northern Pass?

SOURCE: Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
AUTHOR: Jack Savage

There appear to be legitimate questions about whether the long-standing financial agreement between Hydro-Quebec and Eversource for the financing of the proposed Northern Pass transmission line has fallen apart due to a changing energy market.

The issue went public the week of March 6 when Quebec stakeholders began asking why the state-owned mega utility was paying to bury part of the line in the U.S., but refused to do so in Quebec. That led to a series of public statements that highlighted HQ’s desire to have New England electricity consumers pay for the cost of Northern Pass, a private transmission line for the exclusive use of HQ. Provocative headlines in Quebec papers claimed that “Hydro-Quebec is Considering Abandoning the Northern Pass Project”.

And, as reported by Robert Blechl of the Caledonian-Record, the evidence of the rift between Eversource and HQ is the absence of a renewed Transmission Services Agreement (TSA). The previous TSA, which had been renewed in 2014 to much acclaim by Eversource execs at the time, expired in February 2017. The TSA has long been touted by Eversource as the key difference between Northern Pass and a competing private transmission line project in Vermont, the New England Clean Power Link (NECPL).

The TSA is important in that it outlines how Eversource is paid to build the Northern Pass line if it is ever approved. It is unclear at this point how the absence of a TSA might impact the upcoming ‘trial’ portion of the Northern Pass docket that is before the NH Site Evaluation Committee (SEC). The SEC adjudicative process is already behind schedule, and may prove difficult to complete for any decision to be rendered by the scheduled date of September 30, 2017.

The Forest Society has asked Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to make inquiries at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about the status of the TSA between Hydro-Quebec and Eversource. FERC must approve such TSAs.

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Is Hydro-Québec Having ‘Second Thoughts’ on Northern Pass?

AUTHOR: Garry Rayno

The changing economic environment for electric utilities may have helped fuel what Northern Pass developers say are erroneous reports in Le Journal de Quebec that Hydro-Québec may be rethinking its commitment to the transmission project.

On Thursday, Hydro-Québec and its New Hampshire partner, Eversource, said both companies remain committed to the $1.6 billion project to transport 1,090 megawatts of Hydro-Québec electricity to New England over 192 miles of power lines stretching from the Canadian border at Pittsburg to Deerfield.

“Eversource and Hydro-Québec have had a long-standing partnership to develop a transmission project that would deliver much-needed clean hydropower from Québec to New England energy consumers,” read a statement released by Northern Pass. “Northern Pass Transmission, an Eversource subsidiary, will finance and build Northern Pass, the US portion of the transmission project. Hydro-Québec will do the same for the Canadian portion of the project.”

In two Le Journal de Quebec articles, Hydro-Québec appears to be saying it is reassessing its involvement in the project and its financial arrangement with Eversource.

Also local Canadian officials question why the company would pay to bury lines in sections of the New Hampshire route but not in Canada.

Eversource has agreed to bury about 60 miles of the line, mostly through the White Mountain National Forest, but Hydro-Québec has refused to bury sections of the line in Canada.

In the Le Journal article, a Hydro-Québec official claims New England consumers will ultimately pay for the added cost.

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No Project in the United States without Profitability, Insists Hydro-Québec

SOURCE: Le Devoir
AUTHOR: Karl Rettino-Parazelli

AUTO-TRANSLATED VERSION: Hydro-Québec says it will not pay “a penny” for the burial of the US portion of the Northern Passline power line and that the bill will be returned to US consumers. If it turns out that the project is not profitable, it will be abandoned, she insists.

The Crown corporation strongly reacted Wednesday to an article in the Journal de Montréal stating that it would pay $500 million to bury the high voltage line in US territory, while it refuses to do so for part of the line Québec-New Hampshire, the Quebec portion of the project.

“We will not pay a penny for the Northern Pass project on the US side. These are American consumers who will pay the cost of transport on their territory through their electricity rates,” said Hydro-Quebec in a statement.

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Nature Québec Requests the Burial of the Interconnection Line

SOURCE: La Tribune
AUTHOR: Claude Plante

AUTO-TRANSLATED VERSION: This is how Christian Simard, General Manager of Nature Québec, says about the burial of its power line to New Hampshire on the American side without being on the Quebec side, information widely dealt with by La Tribune in recent years.

It should be remembered that the interconnection electric transmission line must be buried in New Hampshire while the Quebec portion will remain aerial, especially on the territory of the East.

The commissioning of this $125 million project, also known as Northern Pass, is planned for 2019.

The Crown corporation wants to make it clear that it will not pay “a penny for the transmission line of the project Northern Pass on the American side”, contrary to the information conveyed since Wednesday morning.

“It is the American consumers who will pay the transportation costs on their territory through their electricity rates. The project is designed to be profitable for Hydro-Québec and therefore for all Quebecers,” said Lynn St-Laurent, Strategic Advisor.

Nature Québec denounces Hydro-Québec’s claim that the landfill solution in the Hereford Mt. area is “technically less reliable and far too costly, but without a thorough study of this scenario. For Nature Quebec, this argument is “fallacious, because the same line will be buried, a few kilometers further south in New Hampshire”.

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