Northern Pass and Natural Resources

Northern Pass will bring 1,090 megawatts of hydroelectricity into the region. Adding one of the cleanest forms of power used today into the grid will reduce our need to burn fossil fuels for electricity. That in turn, reduces New England’s regional carbon emissions and our impact on global warming. The energy from Northern Pass is expected to reduce regional carbon emissions by up to 3.2 million tons a year.

The U.S. Department of Energy released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Northern Pass in August 2017, noting it will have substantial benefits, including:

  • New England will see a reduction of carbon emissions by 9 percent or 2.5 million metric tons
  • Northern Pass will help diversify the region's energy mix and provide a non-intermittent source of clean energy

The New Hampshire Climate Action Plan recommends importing Canadian hydropower to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All six New England governors have continued to meet to find ways to lower energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, including bringing more hydropower into the regional electric grid. In the U.S. Department of Energy draft Environmental Impact Statement on Northern Pass, it said, "Low-carbon hydropower can help achieve objectives and/or statutory requirements to reduce carbon emissions,” such as the state’s Climate Action plan and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Northern Pass also supports efforts to preserve New Hampshire’s native habitats and wildlife. In 2015, Northern Pass donated $3 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to create the Partners for NH’s Fish and Wildlife grant program, which provides funds for local organizations working to restore and protect key New Hampshire habitats and threatened species. The project will also provide wetlands and wildlife mitigation by placing conservation easements on hundreds of acres and the project is expected to contribute millions of dollars into the NH Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Mitigation Fund.  

Avoiding Impacts

The Final EIS also noted Northern Pass will have minimal impact, finding:

  • There will be no "population-level effects to any protected species” due to Northern Pass
  • Noise levels associated with Northern Pass during operation will be well below EPA guidance levels
  • Northern Pass poses no health risks associated with EMFs

Northern Pass has made considerable efforts to avoid or minimize impacts to natural resources when possible. Wildlife data was collected along the proposed route and surveys were taken to look for state and federally listed rare species and invasive species, and potential rare wildlife habitat. Evidence of recorded wetland boundaries, vernal pools, intermittent and perennial streams and rivers were also documented. These surveys were conducted following the protocols developed through consultation with the N.H. Fish and Game Department, the Natural Heritage Bureau, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.