Concord N.H. – A report on the environmental impact of the controversial Northern Pass Power Transmission Project has finally been released. Eversource Energy is proposing to construct 187-miles of electrical transmission line across New Hampshire to bring 1,200 megawatts of hydro-electric energy, enough to power 1.2 million homes, to southern New England Markets.
The report concludes that the Northern Pass proposal would result in more vegetation being removed, a larger possible effect to endangered animals, and a possible larger visual impact that could have negative effects on tourism and property values compared to alternatives. The report states towers would be able to deliver more electricity than the alternatives and would produce a reduction in wholesale electricity costs of $22 million for the state, compared to a reduction of $18 million for most of the alternatives.
The alternatives proposals mostly revolve around burying the lines, either entirely or at certain sections of the lines. The alternatives would have a much smaller effect on the environment, but do pose a greater risk of exposing contaminated soil or groundwater during the construction. The report also notes that due to the lower cost of using towers municipalities would receive less tax revenue from construction costs then they would if the lines are buried. Towns also run the risk of losing tax dollars from property taxes in the future because towers may hurt property values.
The U.S. Forest Service will use the report as it determines whether to issue a special use permit to allow the project to build through the White Mountain National Forest.
Public hearings on the draft report will be held by the Department of Energy on October 6th in Concord, October 7th in Whitefield and October 8th in Plymouth. The exact times and locations have not been announced. To check out the reports for yourself click here