Report: Massachusetts could re-open RFP for clean energy after Northern Pass rejection
- Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources head Judith Judson directed utilities to examine whether or not the Northern Pass transmission project could meet its operational deadline of 2020 following a rejection by New Hampshire regulators, Renews.biz reports. Massachusetts had selected the transmission project to fulfill clean energy obligations.
- Eversource Energy has vowed to appeal New Hampshire Siting Board's rejection of the 192-mile Northern Pass. But the project's speedy project schedule was one reason it was selected and the appeals process could take upwards of a year.
- Following the New Hampshire decision, the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs indicated the Northern Pass selection is contingent on it receiving other required approvals.The Northern Pass project was one of nearly 50 projects submitted in response to Massachusetts' RFP to help meet its goal of 9,450,000 MWh of clean energy annually.
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources commissioner Judith Judson told ReNews.biz that the state is working to assess this situation as quickly as possible and has asked Northern Pass to reassess its schedule.
“It is incumbent upon the electric distributions companies to review the project’s response, assess it against the original bid to evaluate its impacts, and quickly come to a joint decision on appropriate next steps, which could include moving forward with contract negotiations or, alternatively, terminating negotiations and returning to bid selection,” Judson said.
The project's swift deadline was a big draw, but New Hampshire's decision could open the door for another project. Commonwealth Magazine reported that should Eversource appeal all the way to the state's Supreme Court, a decision is unlikely to be reached within a year.
Northern Pass would run 192 miles from Hydro-Quebec dams in Canada to a substation in Deerfield, N.H., and would provide up to 9.4 TWh of hydropower annually. Developing the project was estimated to increase Massachusetts’ electricity supply to nearly 50% clean energy resources.
But some stakeholders said its selection "is a "is a slap in the face to dozens of affected communities and thousands of local residents who have been outspoken in opposing this harmful proposal." The project developers, however, said they would run most of the lines along existing corridors.
Controversy also sprouted over how the state picked Northern Pass for the RFP. By law, the state's utilities were involved in the selection process. National Grid, Eversource Energy and Unitil Corp. were among those who submitted proposals, and were involved in the selection process. As a result, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy announced she will review that process.
- ReNews.biz Mass mulls RFP re-run
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