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Do ‘we’ need Northern Pass?

To the editor:

I’ve heard recently that we need the Northern Pass and soon, too.

Using the Energy Information Administration data available from 2010 we find New Hampshire generated about 22,000,000 megawatt hours of electricity and used about 11,000,000 MWh, exporting 11,000,000 MWh.

Maine generated about 17,000,000 MWh and used about 11,500,000 MWh, exporting 5,500,000MWh.

Massachusetts generated about 42,800,000 MWh and used about 57,100,000 MWh, importing 14,300,000 MWh.

So, in round numbers, Massachusetts imported the excess generating capacity of both Maine and New Hampshire, with New Hampshire supplying the majority of that electricity.

In fact, from the EIA data, New Hampshire generates way too much electricity. If “we” is New Hampshire, where the Northern Pass is targeted, the answer is no, we don’t need the Northern pass. If “soon” is the next 10 years, the answer is especially no.

There are at least two ways to go: Stop exporting electricity, stop Northern Pass, shutter the coal plants, put Seabrook on standby; or keep exporting electricity, build Northern Pass, and charge 30 cents per KWh for exported electricity and lower our electric bills — dramatically.

Under no circumstances should New Hampshire or Maine experience rolling blackouts, brownouts or any other shenanigans related to the notion that “there isn’t enough electricity for us.”

Patrick J. Leary


Legacy Comments1

Let’s first discuss the Northern Pass negatives, 1,500 lattice style steel, made in China towers traversing 187 miles from the Canadian border through the heart of the state. These towers will travel through the Great North Country, through the White Mountain National Forest, and continue through scenic by-ways and through residential backyards. The existing rights of way where Northern Pass proposes to erect their monstrous towers were given in the 1930’s through 1950 for the very moral purpose of providing electricity to the North Country. The existing poles measure about 40 feet and blend into the rural New Hampshire landscape. Northern Pass will reap a tremendous profit through rental fees collected from Hydro-Quebec, estimated to be anywhere from 50 to 100 million dollars each year. What New Hampshire residents will reap are lower property values, loss of tourism dollars, and the loss of New Hampshire’s natural beauty. The only solution to this problem is for Northern Pass to utilize today’s technology and bury the entire transmission line. Other currently proposed projects such as the Champlain Hudson line where the lines are proposed to be buried have met little resistance and will be in place while the Northern Pass project will still be battling lawsuits. This was an ill-conceived project designed solely to line the pockets of Northeast Utilities shareholders and executives. Massachusetts should pay New Hampshire to bury the Northern Pass if they need the energy so badly. Better yet, New Hampshire should create an energy corridor in the already softened rights of way and utilize the rental fees to repair New Hampshire’s crumbling infrastructure.

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