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Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Eversource Energy Schedules Hastily Called Press Conference About Northern Pass

Hartford-based Eversource Energy has called a 10 a.m. press conference on Tuesday  in Pittsfield, New Hampshire for what it is says is an "updated" route for the Northern Pass transmission line project it has proposed to bring hydroelectric power down from Quebec.

In a media advisory sent out at 3 p.m. Monday, just 19 hours before the event will be held, Eversource said it will "announce a new balanced plan with an improved route that preserves New Hampshire's most treasured scenic areas."  The advisory also says the company will "unveil a comprehensive plan that ensures the Granite State receives significant, enhanced and unique benefits."

It will be interesting to see what changes Eversource is proposing. One of the major concerns about the project is the impact that the 187-mile transmission line will have on New Hampshire's environment. A draft report issued last month by the federal Energy Department concluded that the transmission project will have a negative effect on tourism, wildlife and prop­erty values in New Hamp­shire, but that  it would cost less than other alternatives.

The current plan for the project calls for only eight miles of transmission line to be buried underground. None of that would be done the White Mountain National Forest, one of New Hampshire's scenic treasures

 The Department of Energy report says burying additional amounts of line is “practical and technically feasible,” but only if a lower power transmission cable is used.

The report says the line could be buried over greater distances if a 1,000 megawatt line was used instead of the 1,200 megawatt transmission that is currently being proposed. But doing so would reduce the amount of electricity that could carried by the project.

Eversource's media advisory says the "new route addresses many of the concerns voiced to the project over the years, as well as the conclusions of the U.S. Department of Energy's draft Environmental Impact Statement."

To borrow a line from Lewis Carroll, the author of "Alices's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass," the Northern Pass project just gets "curiouser and curiouser."

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