US$1.1B Northern Pass line that would bring 1,200 MW of hydropower to New England from Quebec awaits agreement on acceptable route through northern New Hampshire, but Northeast Utilities says it won't use eminent domain

LOS ANGELES , October 13, 2011 () – The US$1.1-billion Northern Pass transmission project that would bring hydropower into New England from Quebec is awaiting an acceptable route through northern New Hampshire, where residents have rallied against it, reported the Hartford Business Journal on Oct. 12.

Hartford, Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities (NU) and its partner NStar of Boston say they will wait for consensus on an acceptable route before seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said Michael Skelton, spokesperson for Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), a subsidiary of NU.

While a right-of-way for the for the project has been obtained for the line’s route south of Groveton, New Hampshire, residents in the largely undeveloped northern part of the state are reluctant to have their natural views obstructed, the Hartford Business Journal reported.

Although the project’s opponents say that NU and NStar would take property through eminent domain, Skelton said that is not the case for any part of the route. NU hopes to have agreement on the route this fall, he said.

He also denied claims that the contract was awarded unfairly to Hydro Quebec, which would supply 1,200 megawatts of power via the proposed line. Hydro Quebec was selected via a competitive bidding process, said Skelton, reported the Hartford Business Journal.

In a position paper issued on the project in September, the New England Power Generators Association indicated that NU could use eminent domain and had unfairly chosen Hydro Quebec.

Criticism of the project by power generators is “really not surprising,” Skelton said, noting that the cheap hydropower to be supplied by Hydro Quebec will make it difficult for some higher-cost generators to compete, the Hartford Business Journal reported.

The primary source of this article is Hartford Business Journal, Hartford, Connecticut, on Oct. 12, 2011.

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