Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Granite State Power Link Makes Pitch To Littleton

Granite State Power Link Makes Pitch To Littleton

No Voiced Concerns Monday

Robert Blechl
Caledonian Record

LITTLETON — Representatives of Granite State Power Link, the 1,200-megawatt capacity transmission line proposed by National Grid to import Canadian hydro and wind power through the Northeast Kingdom into New Hampshire, made their pitch to Littleton Monday.

“Local outreach is essential for what we do with our projects,” GSPL project director Joe Rossignoli said during the regularly scheduled selectmen’s meeting.”We take the local relationship very seriously.”

The first of GSPL’s two segments is a new high-voltage direct current overhead line that would run parallel to an existing HVDC transmission line in an expanded right-of-way from the international border at Norton, Vt., through the NEK to Littleton and then to a converter station on National Grid-owned property in Monroe.

“The compelling argument is it makes use of existing transmission rights-of-way and that drives down development costs and minimizes visual and environmental impacts,” Rossignoli said of the project.

The presentation drew no voiced concerns in Littleton and one expression of support by Selectman Milton Bratz.

Referring to Northern Pass, Bratz said, “Five years ago, we took a stand against another project because of cut trees and large towers. I think this addresses the issues we have back then.”

Bratz said if his two former select board colleagues were still on the board, they would likely agree.

The GSPL differs in several respects from the proposed 1,090-megawatt, $1.6 billion Northern Pass proposal, unpopular with many in the North Country.

In addition to GSPL’s $1 billion development cost being funded by the applicant (National Grid) and its investor (Citizens Energy, of Massachusetts) and not ratepayers, the GSPL would have more capacity, would cost more than a third less, and would be almost adjacent to or within existing transmission corridors, with new towers no taller and others smaller than the ones already there.

Although Northern Pass representatives said they do not view the GSPL as a competitor, both projects are bidding for the same Massachusetts clean energy request for proposal and there can only be one winner.

Because the GSPL will have little to no visual impact and the permitting process is expected to be a smooth one, Rossignoli said he is confident of the GSPL’s chances for the Massachusetts RFP. Bids are due by July.

“Last summer we started thinking of ways to get clean energy from Quebec,” he said, adding that some fossil fuel plants in New England are closing and replacement power is needed.

The company estimates the existing right-of-way would be expanded 150 feet through segments of the Northeast Kingdom and over the Connecticut River into N.H.

In the North Country, 4.6 miles of new line would pass through Littleton and 1.2 through Monroe. Four miles in Littleton and Monroe would use an expanded right-of-way for a new DC line.

In all, five miles of line would be in Monroe, eight-tenths of a mile in Lyman, 7.4 miles in Bath, and 8.7 in Haverhill.

Only voluntary land acquisition with private landowners will be needed and eminent domain will not be used, said Rossignoli.

There will be little to no view shed impact for 106 of the 112 miles in N.H, he said.

The second GSPL segment involves upgrading approximately 107 miles of existing National Grid-owned overhead lines from Monroe to southern New Hampshire to accommodate the additional power flows from the new HVDC line.​