Eversource asks regulators to reconsider Northern Pass transmission project, gas pipeline
- The New Hampshire Supreme Court in May reversed a decision by the Public Utilities Commission to reject Eversource's proposed investment in a natural gas pipeline, which the utility says also opens the door for reconsideration of a proposed power purchase agreement (PPA) related to the Northern Pass transmission project.
- In 2016, the PUC dismissed Eversource's application for a 20-year gas capacity contract with Algonquin Gas Transmission through the proposed Access Northeast pipeline. Regulators determined the proposal would violate the state's restructuring of the electric sector.
- The Supreme Court's ruling reversed the dismissal and sent the case back the PUC. Now Eversource has informed the commission it will be filing an updated pipeline proposal and has asked regulators to vacate the PPA rejection.
The New Hampshire high court's ruling will have "broad implications" for the state's energy future, Eversource said in a statement following the May decision. Now the utility is pressing for regulators to breathe life into two projects: the Access Northeast pipeline and the Northern Pass transmission project.
The Access Northeast Project would upgrade the existing Algonquin Gas Transmission system and add regional liquefied natural gas storage assets in New England. The project could boost peak day deliveries, providing up to 925,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas on the coldest winter days.
Eversource pulled out of the project after Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court blocked regulators from approving contracts requiring electric utility customers to support development of gas pipelines. But the New Hampshire Supreme Court reached another conclusion, finding the state's restructuring law was intended to harness the power of competitive markets "as a means to reduce costs to consumers, not as an end in itself."
Eversource has also asked the state to vacate the PPA rejection related to Northern Pass, which it says will add value to the project for the state.
In July the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee refused to revisit its denial of the Northern Pass transmission project proposed by Eversource. Massachusetts had selected the transmission line to supply hydroelectricity from Quebec, but was forced to change course after the project was rejected.
The ratepayer advocate division of the PUC is arguing against the commission reconsidering the cases.
"Eversource should not be allowed to prolong the life of two contentious PUC proceedings that have no connection to events in the real world," Don Kreis told Maine Public.
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