Seven years after being proposed, Northern Pass is nearing a decision by the N.H. Site Evaluation Committee, which in February is expected to issue an oral decision on whether to grant a permit for the project much opposed in the North Country.

Whichever decision is issued, appeals and lawsuits will almost certainly follow, delaying the project once more into the foreseeable future.

But March 2017 saw two developments.

The first was Hydro-Quebec announcing it will no longer agree to pay for the U.S. segment of the Northern Pass line.

The second was the announcement of the $1.1 billion, 1,200-megawatt-capacity Granite State Reliable Power Link, proposed by National Grid and the Massachusetts nonprofit Citizens Energy, which seeks to import Canadian wind power along existing National Grid infrastructure through the Northeast Kingdom and into N.H. at the towns of Littleton and Monroe, to its terminus in Londonderry.

Critics of the $1.6 billion, 1,090-megawatt-capacity Northern Pass have voiced support for the GSPL, saying its run along existing transmission infrastructure would not impact view sheds or property values.

Both Northern Pass and GSPL are among a half dozen transmission line proposals bid into the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP, the winner of which is scheduled to be selected on or about Jan. 25.

The selected project would be funded by Massachusetts ratepayers.

If Northern Pass loses the Massachusetts RFP bid, it could be without a funder, at least in the near term.

~ By Staff Writer Robert Blechl (rblechl@caledonian-record.com)

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