Northern Pass Misses One Self-Imposed Deadline, But Announces A New Route

Dec 31, 2012

For much of the year officials at Northeast Utilities have been saying they would have the new route for Northern Pass submitted to the US Department of Energy by the end of the year.

But the New Year is here and while nothing has been posted with the DOE Northern Pass says it has a new route.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

In a conference call with analysts early in October Northeast Utilities official Lee Olivier said the company was “still on track” to file a new route with the Department of Energy by the end of the year.

That echoed statements earlier in the year.

But as the year ended no new route has been posted on the Department of Energy web site.

However, Monday the Northern Pass website announced – without any details – officials “have identified a new route in the North Country” that it will submit to the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee.

The announcement did not say when the route would be filed with the Department of Energy which must approve before the project can move forward.

If DOE approves the state’s Site Evaluation Committee must give it the okay.

Northern Pass has been looking for a new route since April 2011.

That’s when officials withdrew the original route through upper Coos County between Canada and Groveton.

The officials admitted the original route faced too much opposition and they hoped to find a more acceptable alternative.

But Northern Pass has found itself in a geographic chess game.

It has been trying to buy land – sometimes paying a million dollars or more.

Opponents have been urging landowners not to sell.

And the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has been using conservation easements to try and block a route.

If Northern Pass files a new route with the DOE it will trigger a new series of hearings before the Department of Energy.

For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen