Northern Pass Transmission LLC (Northern Pass) has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a Presidential permit to construct, operate, maintain, and connect an electric transmission line across the United States border with Canada. Northern Pass is wholly-owned by Eversource Energy Transmission Ventures, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eversource Energy, a publicly held public utility holding company.
Anyone seeking to construct, operate, maintain, or connect an electric transmission facility crossing the borders of the United States must first obtain a Presidential permit issued by DOE under Executive Order (E.O.) 10485, as amended by E.O. 12038. Northern Pass proposes to build a transmission line that crosses a U.S. border, and has applied to DOE for a Presidential permit. DOE did not initiate, nor is it funding, the proposed transmission facility. DOE’s role is limited to deciding whether to issue a Presidential permit. In addition, in order to build its proposed facility Northern Pass will be required to obtain the approval of the State of New Hampshire.
A copy of the Presidential permit application and the Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, a Supplement to the draft EIS, and Conduct Public Scoping Meetings, and Notice of Floodplains and Wetlands Involvement for the Project can be found in the Project Library. The Department of Energy (DOE) announces its intention to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 to assess the potential environmental impacts from its proposed Federal action of granting a Presidential permit to Northern Pass Transmission LLC (Northern Pass) to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a new electric transmission line across the U.S.-Canada border in northern New Hampshire (NH). The EIS, Northern Pass Transmission Line Project Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0463), will address potential environmental impacts from the proposed action and the range of reasonable alternatives. The U.S. Forest Service (FS), White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) and the Army Corps of Engineers, New England District (USACE) are cooperating agencies.
The EIS will provide the analysis to support a FS decision on whether to issue a special use permit if the selected route crosses the White Mountain National Forest. The Responsible Official for the FS decision is Thomas G. Wagner, Forest Supervisor for the White Mountain National Forest.
The Northern Pass Transmission Project (the Project) includes a proposed High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line that, as currently designed, would be capable of transmitting up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power in either direction, (Canada to the U.S.; U.S. to Canada). The northern HVDC converter terminal is proposed to be constructed at the Des Cantons Substation in Québec, Canada, and would be connected to an HVDC line that would run southward in Québec for approximately 45 miles where it would cross the U.S.-Canada border into Pittsburg, NH. The line would extend south from the international border approximately 158 miles to an HVDC converter terminal that would be constructed in the city of Franklin, NH. The converter terminal would convert the direct current to alternating current (AC) and allow the HVDC line to connect to a new AC line that Northern Pass proposes to construct between the Franklin converter station and the existing Deerfield Substation in the town of Deerfield, NH.
The New Hampshire portion of the proposed Project would be a single circuit 300 kilovolt (kV) HVDC transmission line running approximately 158 miles from the U.S. border crossing with Canada near the community of Pittsburg, NH, to a new HVDC-to-AC transformer facility to be constructed in Franklin, NH. From Franklin, NH, to the Project terminus at the Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s existing Deerfield Substation located in Deerfield, NH, the proposed Project would consist of 34 miles of 345-kV AC electric transmission line. The total length of the proposed Project would be approximately 192 miles with approximately 60 miles of underground HVDC cable
In August 2015 subsequent to the publication of the draft EIS, Northern Pass submitted a “Further Amendment to Presidential Permit Application” which made changes to the Applicant’s proposed project. Specifically, the August 2015 amendment proposes to bury an additional 52 miles of the transmission line in roadway corridors between Bethlehem and Bridgewater, NH. The proposed project as described in the “Further Amendment to the Presidential Permit Application” has the same route as described in the amended Presidential permit application filed by Northern Pass on July 1, 2013 with the exception of increased underground cable. The “further amended” route includes underground cable in NH Routes 18, 112, 116, and US Routes 3 and 302 from Bethlehem to Bridgewater, NH. Northern Pass describes the route in three sections, north, central, and south.
The north section would begin in NH at the U.S.-Canada border approximately 45 miles south of the Des Cantons Substation in Québec and loop out to the east through Pittsburg, Clarksville, and Stewartstown. The Project would be located underground for approximately 8 miles in the north section, under US Route 3 and the Connecticut River in Pittsfield and Clarksville, NH and in Clarksville and Stewartstown, NH along NH Route 145 and Old County Road. The route then runs overhead in a generally southerly direction through the towns of Dixville, Millsfield, Dummer, and Stark to the Lost Nation Substation located in the vicinity of the town of Northumberland and would require new right-of-way (ROW) except for portions in Dummer and Stark which would utilize existing ROW. South of Lost Nation Substation, the line would utilize existing ROW through the towns of Northumberland, Lancaster, and Whitefield to a point east of the town of Littleton and west of the town of Bethlehem.
The central section would run south from that point utilizing existing ROW to the intersection of the existing ROW with US Route 302 in Bethlehem, NH. In Bethlehem, NH the Project would transition from overhead to underground HVDC. For a distance of approximately 3 miles in Bethlehem, NH the Project would be buried in the NH Route 18 and US Route 302 corridors. Between Sugar Hill and Bridgewater, NH, the Project would be buried in the NH Route 18, 112, and 116 and US Route 3 corridors. The Project would transition from underground to overhead HVDC in Bridgewater, NH and would continue in the existing PSNH transmission route to the proposed Franklin Converter Station in Franklin, NH.
The south section of the line would run southeast from the Franklin Converter Station as an overhead HVAC transmission line through the municipalities of Northfield, Canterbury, Concord, Pembroke, Allenstown, and Deerfield, NH. The Project would terminate at the existing Deerfield Substation in Deerfield, NH.
In total the Project would include approximately 60 miles of underground HVDC cable. Approximately 8 miles would be in two areas in Pittsburg and Clarksville, NH, and Stewartstown, NH where the Project would be buried under the Connecticut River and beneath roadways. In addition, the Project would be located underground for approximately 52 miles between Bethlehem and Bridgewater, NH.
The entire preferred route as currently proposed is displayed in the Project Library.
The Applicant’s Northern Pass Transmission Project website: www.northernpass.us
The Department of Energy Northern Pass Transmission Project Presidential Permit Application.
The Department of Energy NEPA website, including information on the NEPA process as well as permit documents.
Federal Register Publication of Notice of Intent — February 11, 2011
Federal Register Publication of Notice of Intent to prepare a Supplement to the draft EIS — September 30, 2015
US Forest Service website for the Northern Pass Transmission Line Special Use Permit
40 Most Asked Questions about NEPA (100 kb PDF)
A basic understanding of energy transmission development issues is important to informed participation in the EIS process. Information is provided here to give you a better understanding of energy transmission and the related potential environmental issues, as well as provide photos, maps, and links.
The Design, Construction, and Operation of Long-Distance High-Voltage Electricity Transmission Technologies Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Technical Memorandum ANL/EVS/TM/08-4 (1.4 MB)
DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
The mission of the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is to lead national efforts to modernize the electric grid; enhance security and reliability of the energy infrastructure, and facilitate recovery from disruptions to energy supply. The DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is the lead agency preparing the Northern Pass Transmission Project EIS.
DOE Energy Information Administration (EIA)
The Energy Information Administration (EIA), created by Congress in 1977, is a statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. EIA provides policy-independent data, forecasts, and analyses to promote sound policy making, efficient markets, and public understanding regarding energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.