Time running short for N. Pass
NH delays appeal ruling, puts Mass. in fish-or-cut-bait situation
NORTHERN PASS, the New Hampshire transmission line selected by Massachusetts as the winner of a clean energy procurement, is running out of time to win a key permit.
The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, which voted at the start of February to deny a permit vital to the project, voted 5-0 on Monday not to take up Northern Pass’s appeal until after the panel’s written decision is issued, probably later this month. Once the decision is issued, it could take weeks, if not months, for the committee to fully respond, which may be too late for Northern Pass, a project developed by Eversource Energy.
Massachusetts wants to sign a multi-billion-dollar contract for a huge amount of clean energy by March 27. The state selected Northern Pass as the winner of the procurement on January 25, but after the rejection by the Site Evaluation Committee on February 1 Massachusetts officials gave the project until March 27 to show progress in moving the project forward. Without a breakthrough, state officials indicated, they would drop Northern Pass and go with the clean energy procurement’s runner-up, Central Maine Power. Both Northern Pass and Central Maine Power would import hydro-electricity from Quebec.Northern Pass on Monday issued a statement saying it understood the Site Evaluation Committee’s decision. Martin Murray, a spokesman for Eversource, said Northern Pass has all of its other permits and, with the Site Evaluation Committee’s approval, could deliver power two years ahead of any other project.
Massachusetts officials declined comment on Monday.