N.H. regulators approve Eversource transmission line

transmission lines july 1 elp

Eversource Energy on July 14 said that the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee has voted to approve construction, by Eversource Energy and National Grid, of the new, overhead, 345-kV Merrimack Valley Reliability Project.

The company noted that the SEC on July 11 said that it will issue the project a certificate of site and facility. That decision follows rounds of public information sessions and public hearings in New Hampshire counties through which the new line would pass, the company said.

A company spokesperson told TransmissionHub on July 22 that the vote to approve was a voice vote and that the written certificate will be issued in the future.

The MVRP would run along existing utility rights of way, with about 18 miles through Londonderry, Hudson, Windham, and Pelham in New Hampshire, and about 6.5 miles through Dracut, Andover, and Tewksbury in Massachusetts, for a total length of about 24.5 miles, the company said.

National Grid and Eversource will jointly invest a total of nearly $125 million in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to bolster the regional infrastructure, Eversource said, adding that both companies are in the process of reviewing bids for the project.

"As the first large transmission project in more than 20 years to be considered and approved by the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee to move into construction, the MVRP will answer an urgent need identified by New England's independent system operator, [ISO New England (ISO-NE)], to strengthen the area's electric system in response to forecasted load growth and aging infrastructure," Joe Purington, Eversource vice president of Electrical Operations, said in the statement.

"This is a critical transmission infrastructure project – for New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and all of New England – and we're proud to be working closely with communities throughout the area to improve and update our systems,” Rudy Wynter, National Grid president and COO, FERC-Regulated Business, said in the statement. “When completed, the MVRP will ensure that consumers have a strong electricity grid and reliable power for years to come."

Eversource said that it and National Grid will continue to meet with local officials and residents of the host communities as the project moves into construction. Eversource further noted that community meetings will be held before construction begins to inform property and business owners, as well as other interested parties about work activities and schedules. Project representatives from Eversource and National Grid will continue to communicate directly with abutters along the ROWs throughout the construction and restoration process, Eversource said.

According to the project’s website, construction is anticipated to begin this year, and the project has an estimated in-service date of 2017.

In a July 11 letter to the SEC administrator, Christopher Aslin, assistant attorney general, counsel for the public, offered to the committee a refinement of one of the recommended conditions of a certificate of site and facility presented in his closing statements at a June 14 adjudicative hearing.

As indicated by the applicants and counsel for the public on June 14, with some adjustment to the language, the applicants would not object to the counsel for the public’s recommended condition regarding notice of any future cost overruns for the project.

Accordingly, in consultation with the applicants, the counsel for the public recommends that this language be included as a condition of a certificate in the event that the committee decides to grant a certificate of site and facility to the applicants: the certificate holder is to, within 45 days of its ISO-NE filing, notify the committee if the certificate holder’s forecast or actual expenditures for the entire project – between Tewksbury, Mass., and Londonderry, N.H., as filed by the certificate holder with its ISO-NE regional system planning (RSP) forecast updates, exceed the projected cost for the entire MVRP by an amount equal to or greater than 25 percent.

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