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Letter: Missing the point about the Northern Pass

Re “Rerouting the debate,” (Monitor Forum, Nov. 24):

Ayn Whytemare missed the most obvious point about the Northern Pass: The opposition is based upon the aesthetic impact of hundreds of ugly, 100-foot towers that would march from Canada through the most beautiful parts of New Hampshire in order to bring power to southern New England.

People with properties facing the route have lost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in the value of their real estate. If the towers are constructed, the beautiful approach to the White Mountains along Interstate 93 and many rural communities will be scarred irretrievably; tourists and second-home buyers will spend their money elsewhere if they see towers looming above the tallest pines. And these impacts are so unnecessary.

If Hydro Quebec and Northeast Utilities responded to public concerns, they would bury the line, just as similar lines are being buried in New York, Vermont and Maine. If the unnecessary assault of industrial towers on dozens of New Hampshire communities was eliminated, then Whytemare’s article would be relevant. But right now, I imagine her 11-year-old son saying something like this: “But Mom, the opponents aren’t trying to stop the electricity, they just want it to go underground, like cable TV.”

Whytemare is right to talk about the need for conservation, the lack of understanding of environmental issues, carbon footprints, etc., but the Northern Pass debate is not about generating electricity, it is about the transmission of electricity. And on this topic, the opponents are right, Whytemare is silent and the out-of-state corporations are wrong.


Sugar Hill

Legacy Comments3


Carl Martland’s response to Ayn Whytemare stated: ".....but the Northern Pass debate is not about generating electricity, it is about the transmission of electricity." For the majority of New Hampshire opponents, that is true but as a Connecticut resident who opposes this project it is very much the source of generation that is my key issue; namely, energy security. Over the past two years we endured tropical Storm (Irene), an incredible nor’easter and Hurricane Sandy. We suffered three major outages ranging from 5-11 days but in some cases significantly longer. While Northeast Utilities boasts about how they are “hardening” their system, they promote Northern Pass which along with Canadian power brings additional threats to the grid. These include:  Droughts and Forest Fires such as we had this past July  Ice Storms such as the one that incapacitated Canadian power in 1998  Cyber Attacks  Physical Attacks by terrorists  Solar (Geomagnetic) Events like the one in 1989 that entirely brought down one Canadian power system  Increasing the complexity of an already complex system  A combination of two or more of the above Only power produced closer to home provides the resilience required in the digital age. Preferably this could take place with microgrids that employ modular, distributed and diverse generators that separate from the main grid when it is endangered. The environmental beauty of New Hampshire rightly deserves the preservation but even undergrounding the line does not provide the resilience for public safety, health and security of those on the receiving end of the power.

Tech-savvy kid. Mom should listen to him.

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