New Hampshire: Bill that threatened hydro transmission project dropped

New Hampshire's legislature has dropped a proposed bill that could have delayed a joint Northeast Utilities-NSTAR transmission project to carry hydropower from Canada to New England, media reports indicate.

In 2009, Hartford-based NU and Boston-based NSTAR-Boston proposed construction of a 200-mile-long high-voltage power line to a Quebec hydroelectric plant.

Through their Northern Pass Transmission LLC venture, NU and NSTAR filed an application in October 2010 for a permit to build the $1.1 billion Northern Pass line at the U.S. border.

About 140 miles of the project would run through New Hampshire. Forty miles of that portion would require the acquisition of new right-of-way rights, which raised concerns among local landowners.

New Hampshire lawmakers had sought to prohibit the state from using eminent domain to acquire land that is not deemed to be part of a grid reliability project.

NU and NSTAR have said the project, which is expected to take about three years to complete, will improve New England's electric reliability and provide 1,200 MW of clean low-emissions hydroelectric power to the region. The utilities must receive state and federal approval to proceed with the project.

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