The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has reached a settlement with Northern Pass Transmission that allows the company to operate as a public utility once its secures the federal and local approvals necessary for its power transmission project.
Northern Pass is developing a 192-mile transmission line that would move power from Canada to a substation in Deerfield, N.H.
Northern Pass is owned by Eversource Energy Transmission Ventures, a unit of Eversource Energy, and the PUC noted the parent company's experience in its decision to grant utility authority.
There at least six major transmission lines being developed on a merchant basis in New England, largely with an eye to bringing low cost Canadian hydropower into the region where it can be difficult to site a renewable energy project.
One of those projects, Northern Pass, recently took a step forward. The PUC reached a settlement with the company, allowing it to operate as a utility in New Hampshire, meaning Northern Pass will be subject to PUC jurisdiction once the transmission project is in service.
“This approval is another milestone for the project, which promises to deliver significant environmental and economic benefits, as well as energy cost savings to New Hampshire,” Bill Quinlan of Eversource, Northern Pass’ parent company, said in a statement.
Under the settlement, Northern Pass will have to contribute $20 million over 10 years for energy efficiency and other clean energy initiatives. Northern Pass also agreed to hold New Hampshire electric ratepayers harmless from costs associated with any potential regional cost allocations for the transmission line.
Northern Pass has a transmission service agreement to sell firm transmission services to Hydro Renewable Energy, a unit of Hydro-Quebec, for 40 years.
“We look forward to continuing to move through the state and federal siting processes with the goal of making the benefits of Northern Pass a reality for the state’s energy consumers,” Quinlan said.