Having electricity available at the flip of a switch is something we all expect, and something our economy can’t function without. But reliable electricity doesn’t just happen; it is the result of long-term planning and minute-by-minute monitoring. People who live and work in New Hampshire have become increasingly concerned about the rising cost of electricity and the impact it’s having on local businesses and the economy. Energy officials have also expressed concern in recent years about the future reliability and diversity of our energy supply. The addition of 1,090 megawatts of clean, reliable, competitively-priced hydropower from Northern Pass will benefit our region and help address these concerns by:
The New England electric grid, of which New Hampshire is a part, has become
dependent on natural gas for generating roughly half of its electricity, yet it lacks
the pipeline capacity to reliably supply these power plants when demand for gas
is highest. We have seen a number of older power plants throughout the region
retire or announce retirement. New energy projects have been proposed but they
aren’t being built quickly enough to make up for the plants we’ve lost. Our
dependence on natural gas, lack of supply, and the closing of power plants have
resulted in higher prices for consumers, driving up our cost of living and cost
of doing business throughout New England.
Today, there is a large gap between the low power costs in Québec and the high electricity prices in the New England market. The existing transmission connections between the two systems are highly utilized, especially during periods of high electricity demand. Adding a constant source of affordable hydropower from Northern Pass will displace higher cost sources of electricity on the New England system and will help lower the overall cost of electricity on the grid.
Northern Pass is expected to lower electricity rates for New Hampshire customers by approximately $63 million annually.
The construction of the Northern Pass transmission line, will provide New England access to a new 1,090-megawatt base-load power source that will help reduce the region's dependence on natural gas, particularly during periods of high demand in the winter months when fuel is expensive or unavailable to generators.
Part of the Northern Pass also includes upgrades to the North Country electric system. These upgrades will improve the North Country electric system capacity by up to 100 MW, removing constraints to existing renewable energy (e.g., wind, biomass, small hydro).
Hydroelectric energy transmitted over the Northern Pass line will provide essential
fuel diversity benefits, as well. In its 2014 Regional System Plan, the
regional grid operator, ISO New England, concluded that the region is
increasingly dependent on natural gas, that over 4,000 MW of resources are
expected to retire by June 2017, and that state goals for renewable resources
are stimulating the development of intermittent resources such as wind and
solar. The availability of 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power over the
Northern Pass line will counter balance these trends by providing flexible and
reliable capacity and energy supply that is clean and constantly flowing.
Northern Pass addresses New England’s need for fuel certainty, provides greater fuel diversity, and improves system reliability. This, in turn, will free up more natural gas for other uses, like providing heat and supplying hot water to homeowners across the region. Diversity of energy supply is key to energy security — and economic security.