Site Evaluation Committee | New Hampshire Public Radio

Site Evaluation Committee

Brox Environmental Citizens / Facebook

The state Site Evaluation Committee will decide whether to hold a special approval process for a proposed solar farm in Milford, after receiving petitions from nearby residents.

The proposed array, from a local subsidiary of New York-based Olivewood Energy, would have a capacity of 16 megawatts – about half the size of the normal minimum for SEC consideration.

A community group called Brox Environmental Citizens – named for the piece of land where the solar farm would be built – wants the SEC to step in and decide whether to review the project anyway. 

NH Electric Co-op

Solar power in New Hampshire took a big step forward Monday, as the state Site Evaluation Committee unanimously approved a utility-scale solar project for the first time.

NHSEC

State regulators didn't raise major concerns Friday at the start of final deliberations on New Hampshire’s first-ever major solar power project.

The 30-megawatt Chinook Solar array is proposed by Florida-based NextEra, which also owns Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. It would cover about 100 acres of private land in the small Monadnock Valley town of Fitzwilliam.

Flicker CC / https://flic.kr/p/drsrm8

Federal regulators have declined to act on a challenge to a pro-solar energy law from a group with ties to conservative New Hampshire politics and Gov. Chris Sununu.

The New England Ratepayers Association’s petition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dealt with net metering, where customers can generate and sell their own, often renewable power back to the grid to save on their utility bills.

Rob_ / Flickr CC

At a public hearing Thursday, a state site evaluation subcommittee questioned developers behind a proposed 30 megawatt solar project about its potential impacts to the environment and wildlife.

The Chinook Solar array would cover about 100 acres near Route 119 in Ftizwilliam. If approved, it could be the largest solar array in the state.

N.H. DOJ

Governor Chris Sununu says he'll nominate the New Hampshire Attorney General's chief of staff, Dianne Martin, to be the next chair of the Public Utilities Commission.

Martin is the Department of Justice’s lead attorney on state agency contracts and procurements. Before that, she spent five years as an attorney in the AG's transportation and construction bureau.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Eversource's bid to revive its Northern Pass transmission line.

The justices are considering whether the proposal – a nearly 200-mile high-voltage power line to bring Canadian hydropower through the White Mountains to New England – should get a new hearing with the state Site Evaluation Committee, or SEC.

Governor Chris Sununu's latest nominee to the state Site Evaluation Committee has withdrawn from consideration.

The SEC is tasked with approving large-scale energy developments in the state. It includes state regulators and some public citizens.

The executive council was set to vote Wednesday on appointing former state Rep. Michael Vose as the SEC's newest public member. Vose was Sununu’s second nominee to the seat, after the executive council rejected another nominee earlier this month.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state Site Evaluation Committee has given Eversource the green light to build a new transmission line on the Seacoast.

They voted unanimously Monday to certify the so-called Seacoast Reliability Project, after more than two weeks of exhaustive deliberations.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State regulators are in final talks about whether to approve a new transmission line on the Seacoast.

After two days of deliberations, the Site Evaluation Committee has agreed that the Seacoast Reliability Project meets some of the criteria required by state law.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

At least 150 Seacoast residents packed a state hearing Thursday night to urge regulators to reject a proposed transmission line.

Eversource and the region’s grid operator, ISO-New England, say the 13-mile line between Madbury and Portsmouth is vital to improve electric reliability in the region.

The project’s $84 million pricetag would be spread across all New England ratepayers.

But residents like Robert Raymond of Newington want the utility to do and spend more to reduce local impacts, or call the project off altogether.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Several groups are asking the state Supreme Court to uphold regulators' denial of the Northern Pass project.

Towns and nonprofits that oppose the transmission line proposal filed their motions with the high court Thursday.

(Read one of the motions, filed by the McKenna's Purchase development that abuts the project route.)

Eversource

Hearings began Wednesday on Eversource’s proposed transmission line between Madbury to Portsmouth.

The Seacoast Reliability Project would span 13 miles between Madbury and Portsmouth, with a mile buried under Little Bay at Durham and Newington.

Final hearings are scheduled to start this week on Eversource's proposed Seacoast transmission line – but delays at the state Site Evaluation Committee are still possible.

The Seacoast Reliability Project power line would span 13 miles between Madbury and Portsmouth, with one mile buried beneath Little Bay between Durham and Newington. 

Eversource

Eversource is doubling down on what it says will be the best way to run a new power line under the Seacoast's Little Bay. 

The transmission line known as the Seacoast Reliability Project is how Eversource wants to meet the mandates of New England’s electric grid operator.

First proposed in 2016, the project includes a mile of cable buried beneath Little Bay, between Durham and Newington.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu has signed a bill allowing him to appoint more private citizens to the state Site Evaluation Committee and requiring them to undergo more training.

The SEC is tasked with approving big energy projects in New Hampshire.

Right now, it includes the state's three public utilities commissioners and other state agency heads, plus two public members – citizens, appointed by the governor, who have some relevant expertise.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State regulators voted unanimously Thursday not to give Eversource a new hearing for its Northern Pass power line proposal.

That means the case, which has stretched for nearly a decade, will likely go before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. 

Consumer Energy / Flicker CC

The New Hampshire Supreme Court says electric utilities like Eversource should be allowed to invest in natural gas pipelines.

Tuesday’s ruling reverses a 2016 order by the state Public Utilities Commission.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Opponents of the Northern Pass power project are pushing back on developer Eversource’s request for a new hearing before state regulators.

The utility has argued the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee didn’t give the embattled power line proposal its due consideration before denying it a building permit earlier this year.

They want the SEC to set a new hearing and consider more specific conditions that could green-light the project.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Supporters of Eversource’s Northern Pass transmission line want to remove two evaluators from the appeal process for the project’s state permit.

A group of business and union stakeholders made the request to the state Site Evaluation Committee this week.

The business group wants Public Utilities Commission member Kathryn Bailey and public representative Patricia Weathersby to recuse themselves from future Northern Pass proceedings at the SEC.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire regulators on Monday put off a final decision on Eversource’s appeal for its Northern Pass permit.

The state Site Evaluation Committee, or SEC, voted to wait on next steps until the end of March, when they expect to put their earlier denial of the utility's proposed transmission line in writing.

That denial came in early February. Soon after, Eversource asked for the decision to be reconsidered.

On Monday, the SEC declined to take up any such request until after their written decision comes out.

Michael Kappel/Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee meets Monday to discuss what to do about Eversource's appeal for its Northern Pass permit.

The meeting comes weeks after the SEC first rejected the proposed transmission line, which would run nearly 200 miles from Canada to New Hampshire.

Eversource's appeal argues that denial didn't give the Northern Pass plan its due consideration.

Eversource

The Department of Environmental Services has finished a long-awaited report on a Seacoast power line proposal from Eversource.

The DES is recommending the state Site Evaluation Committee approve the 13-mile reliability project – with conditions.

Those center on the potential water quality and sediment effects of Eversource’s plan to bury nearly a mile of cable under Little Bay, between Durham and Newington.

Before the state decides whether to permit the project, DES wants Eversource to test its proposed method, which involves blowing a trench across the bay bottom.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Eversource is asking New Hampshire regulators to reconsider their rejection of the Northern Pass project.

The utility filed a motion Wednesday with the state Site Evaluation Committee, or SEC. It wants the committee’s Feb. 1 denial of the project thrown out and the case re-heard. Eversource argues the SEC didn’t do its required diligence in discussing all the criteria the project had to meet to get a permit. 

Thomas Gehrke / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials in Massachusetts are still debating the future of a big renewable energy contract for their state.

That’s after their initial pick, Northern Pass, hit a major roadblock in New Hampshire – though the transmission proposal still has support from Gov. Chris Sununu.

The Commonwealth picked Eversource's Northern Pass plan last month for a long-term contract that must start in 2020. That choice was thrown into limbo a week later, when New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee denied the project its final permit.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state Site Evaluation Committee waded deeper into questions of Northern Pass's impact on the North Country on Wednesday.

Fewer protesters and even fewer supporters were there to listen than on the first day, as members continued their final deliberations on permitting the transmission line.

In discussions of how Northern Pass will affect land-use plans along its route, members seemed to grow more conflicted about how to define the tipping point where the project might become too impactful.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The final witnesses gave testimony on the Northern Pass transmission line Thursday, after eight months of hearings and years of planning.

Day 70 of adjudicative hearings at the New Hampshire site evaluation committee centered on wetlands and property values.

Ray Lobdell, with the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, testified in the morning session on whether Northern Pass would affect more sensitive habitat than expected.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

Eight months of hearings on the Northern Pass transmission line are set to wrap up this week.

It's the last step before state regulators start deliberating on the controversial project, which is years in the making.

Annie Ropeik/NHPR News

The state has three weeks of hearings left before moving into deliberations on the Northern Pass project – so opponents are gathering last-minute comments from residents on the power line's proposed route.

Eversource

Officials with the town of Durham say they remain concerned about a proposal to bury a long-distance power cable across a one-mile stretch of Great Bay.

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