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NH Supreme Court to consider Eversource's appeal of denied permit for power line

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NH Supreme Court to consider Eversource's appeal of denied permit for power line

The New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed to hear Eversource Energy's appeal of the denial of a state siting permit for its 1,090-MW, hydro-backed Northern Pass transmission project.

New Hampshire's highest and sole appellate court notified Eversource on Oct. 12 that it would hear its request to overturn the state Site Evaluation Committee's February denial of a siting permit for the transmission project. The SEC denied a permit because Eversource subsidiary Northern Pass Transmission LLC failed to show that the proposed 192-mile power line would not harm the economy, specifically tourism and real estate values, or "unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region."

With 60 miles of the Northern Pass project proposed to be buried underground to preserve scenic mountain views, its 320-kV high-voltage, direct-current line initially would run 158 miles from the Canada-U.S. border to a proposed converter terminal in Franklin, N.H. From there, a 345-kV alternating current line would continue another 34 miles to a substation in Deerfield, N.H.

The $1.6 billion project was designed to transmit Canadian hydropower generated by provincial utility Hydro-Québec and originally was chosen by electric distribution companies in Massachusetts as the winning bid in a solicitation for cleaner energy. However, the siting committee's unanimous rejection of the siting permit application led to Massachusetts' three utilities contracting with an alternative transmission project instead.

In August, when Northern Pass filed its appeal, the Eversource subsidiary said a favorable ruling could bring the project back before the siting committee for further review in 2019.