My Turn: Northern Pass offers a balanced solution

Last modified: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
A growing economy depends on having an ample supply of energy at a reasonable cost. As New Hampshire moves down the road toward a fully competitive energy market, the need for a sufficient and diverse energy supply is of utmost concern for our businesses, homeowners and anyone who has to pay an electric bill.

That’s why the revised Northern Pass project – “Forward New Hampshire” — makes so much sense for our state. This project will deliver ample amounts of clean hydro power into our regional energy grid, and help stabilize and drive down energy costs for decades to come.

When it comes to planning our energy future, we need to move beyond the usual sound bites and really focus on what’s best for the citizens of our state.

Our region suffers from an inadequate supply of power, which makes our electric rates higher than anywhere else in the country. The high cost of energy creates a real strain on families, homeowners and businesses, and makes us less economically competitive. The Northern Pass will deliver 1,000 megawatts of power – a little less than the Seabrook nuclear plant – into our region, driving down the cost of power, and saving New Hampshire ratepayers $80 million a year. In addition, New Hampshire customers will benefit from a power purchase agreement that ensures our customers get the guaranteed lowest rate.

New Hampshire needs good-paying jobs and economic development. Northern Pass will create more than 2,000 good paying jobs during construction, and Eversource has committed to hiring New Hampshire workers. But even more important, by bringing down the cost of energy, we incentivize business to expand and relocate here in New Hampshire. Lowering the cost of energy is among the most important steps we can take to help improve our economic future.

We must protect our environment. The power coming through Northern Pass is clean power, generated from water turbines in Canada. This is exactly the kind of clean, sustainable energy strategy we’ve identified as a priority for New Hampshire.

We need a project route that works for New Hampshire. The new route includes 60 miles of burial, including in and around the White Mountains, lower structure heights and other modifications. It’s clear to me that Eversource has listened, respected and responded to New Hampshire concerns about the need to minimize project impacts. But that’s not the end of the process. We have a formal siting process here in New Hampshire that will objectively evaluate the proposal, take public input and determine whether any further modifications are needed to protect the public interest.

This is a project we need. I urge my colleagues and fellow citizens to give Forward New Hampshire a careful look. When you do, I think you’ll agree this is a balanced solution that makes sense for New Hampshire.

(State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro lives in Manchester and represents District 20.)