Natl. Grid finds novel way to lobby clean energy procurement

Natl. Grid finds novel way to lobby clean energy procurement

Enlists help of New Hampshire lawmakers in letter to DeLeo

NATIONAL GRID, which has been raising concerns about the Massachusetts procurement process for clean energy, found a novel way to make its case: enlist the help of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Forty-four of the 400 members of the New Hampshire House recently sent a letter to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and other political leaders in Massachusetts urging the adoption of a number of policies favored by National Grid.

Rep. Stephen Shurtleff, a Democrat and one of the original signers of the letter, said National Grid was very helpful in drafting the letter. He said he signed on primarily because of his opposition to Northern Pass, a project that would deliver hydroelectricity into New England from Quebec along a transmission line running through New Hampshire.

Rep. Gene Chandler, the Republican deputy speaker of the House and the other original signer of the letter, could not be reached for comment.

Joseph Rossignoli, director of US business development for National Grid, said the Massachusetts clean energy procurement is a historic opportunity for the state and the region as a whole. “We have consistently stated our belief that the evaluation process should be open and transparent, which many of the competing projects agree with,” Rossignoli said in a statement. “We are glad to see that leaders throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont share our desire to ensure public trust in the process.”

The Oct. 30 letter urged DeLeo (with copies to Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, and Attorney General Maura Healey) to take appropriate steps to make public the scoring and evaluative methods in advance of the final selection, to ensure the winning project or projects yield meaningful carbon emission reductions, and to include public opinion in evaluating the clean energy bids.

The first two requests mirror concerns National Grid has raised about the procurement process. National Grid is one of the bidders on the clean energy procurement, submitting two proposals – one that would import new wind power from Quebec and a second that would import new wind, solar, and hydro power from New York. Like many of the bidders, National Grid is concerned that Hydro-Quebec, with its vast reserves of hydroelectricity, is the front-runner for the procurement. Hydro-Quebec has submitted six proposals to Massachusetts with three different transmission companies.

National Grid has said Hydro-Quebec’s proposals to deliver energy into New England, including the Northern Pass project, would not result in a net reduction of carbon emissions because the hydro facilities producing the power have already been built or financed. National Grid said selecting a Hydro-Quebec project would merely shift hydroelectricity currently being delivered to New York and Ontario and redirect the power to New England.

National Grid has also recommended that the scoring methodology for the clean energy procurement be released publicly before a winner is announced so everyone knows how wind, solar, and hydroelectric power are being evaluated.

The third recommendation, to incorporate public opinion into the evaluation process, appears targeted directly at Northern Pass, the transmission project developed jointly by Eversource Energy and Hydro-Quebec.

“As you likely know, in recent years many energy projects have been brought before New Hampshire and have inflamed the passions of thousands who have organized and made their voices heard. These voices need to be considered in Massachusetts as it relates to any RFP project,” the letter from the Granite State lawmakers said. “It is imperative that RFP evaluators embrace solutions that minimize impacts and maximize the use of existing energy corridors and infrastructure.”

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Shurtleff, the New Hampshire state representative, said National Grid’s clean energy proposal is much less intrusive than the Eversource/Hydro-Quebec one. Asked about the other two Hydro-Quebec projects, which run through Vermont and Maine, he said he wasn’t familiar with them.

Shurtleff said he didn’t have any major concerns with the way the Massachusetts procurement is being run. “It’s not so much what’s happening in Massachusetts,” he said. “It’s what we’ve seen in New Hampshire with Northern Pass.”

Asked for comment on the letter from the New Hampshire lawmakers, a spokeswoman for Eversource Energy defended the Northern Pass project as the best and fastest way to deliver clean energy to New England. She also passed along documents and letters indicating the project has the support of Gov. Chris Sununu, New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse, and a host of other public and private officials.

  • NortheasternEE

    State and regional mandates for renewable energy are raising rates sky high. Germany where nuclear power is being replaced by wind and solar has some of the highest rates in the world with little to no carbon avoidance. Germany is pulling back and is being urged to abandon the effort.

    https://pattikellar.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/german-wind-industry-collapse-imminent-engineering-professor-deems-energiewende-terminal/

    Both Germany and Australia have invested heavily on the false promise of a less expensive, reliable, clean energy future. As a result they destroyed their reliable system for conventional power, raised rates sky high, and are threatened with blackouts galore. Industries, highly dependent on competitive priced and reliable electricity, are making plans to go elsewhere and take many jobs with them.

    If Beacon Hill cares for the welfare of their constituents, they will reject all this lobbying from crony capitalists like National Grid and Eversource. The prospect of skyrocketing rates to increase their profits is their primary motivation, not a clean energy future.

    • Andrew

      sort of right wing alarmist article that cites just anecdotes don’t you think? Do you really think rates would go down drastically if we abandoned everything but your sacred coal? I doubt it.