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Rivals For Mass. Clean-Energy Contracts Await Decision Day

NHPR File Photo

As Massachusetts prepares to announce where it will buy 1,200 megawatts of new renewable power, the 46 projects in the running – including many with a big footprint in New Hampshire – are hoping for the best.

Among the smaller-scale wind, hydro and solar installations that are vying for a Massachusetts contract are big transmission lines to carry Canadian hydro- and wind power.

Those include Eversource’s Northern Pass, and two National Grid plans to use mostly existing power lines in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

“We do believe that projects like Granite State Power Link and Northeast Renewable Link – that are first and foremost focused on using existing infrastructure – really are in the best interest of customers as well as everyone in the region,” says National Grid Vice President Will Hazelip.

He says a deal with Massachusetts would be their best way to move forward.

“Regional energy markets will be impacted by the outcome of the Massachusetts [request for proposals], so depending on what is selected … we’ll have to run some economic models and take a look at that,” Hazelip says.

A combination of National Grid’s projects could cover all 1,200 megawatts Massachusetts is seeking. The projects’ main competitor, Northern Pass, could provide about 1,100 megawatts. But they don’t plan to lose out. 

“We believe Northern Pass is the project best-positioned to meet the objectives of the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP,” says spokesman Martin Murray, “and we are optimistic our bid will be accepted.”

Northern Pass will find out if it’ll receive its final permit, from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, in February. Granite State Power Link plans to begin its SEC application in the coming months.

Massachusetts' decisions are due out next Thursday.  

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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