Eversource no longer owns all the land it bought for Northern Pass

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 06-26-2023 5:15 PM

In the final note to the long saga of Northern Pass, an effort to build a power line through New Hampshire, Eversource no longer owns roughly 5,300 acres that it bought for the project.

The company said Monday it had “transferred ownership” of the properties. Several parcels went “to private parties who previously owned (them),” the company said in a statement, and the majority went to R&B Rentals LLC (Bear Rock Adventures) and Dead Water LLC (managed by Wagner Forest Management).

Bear Rock Adventures is a Pittsburg, N.H.-based outdoor recreation company that hosts camping and lodging in the North Country as well as renting snowmobiles, ATVs and other outdoor equipment.

Wagner Forest Management,  based in Lyme, is a huge forest-management company that owns or manages 150,000 acres in New Hampshire and 2 million more in Maine, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Eversource spokesman William Hinkle said the properties “were disposed of for no cost, which is related to the 2019 write-off of the project.”

Northern Pass was a proposed 182-mile power line to bring 1,100 megawatts of hydropower, roughly the output of Seabrook Station nuclear plant, from Quebec into New Hampshire to feed the New England grid. The idea was jointly launched in 2008 by HydroQuebec and utilities that eventually became Eversource Energy.

Eversource abandoned the project in 2019 after years of local opposition concerned that the $1.6 billion project would cut new power line pathways through environmentally sensitive areas. The idea was also opposed by companies that own or operate existing power plants, whose business would have been affected by comparatively cheap hydropower.

Earlier this year, a similarly-sized power line was proposed by National Grid, bringing Quebec hydropower through New Hampshire to the grid. However, it would almost entirely use existing towers and wires, side-stepping most of the environmental issues. National Grid also seeks to tap into federal funds offered by the Biden Administration to strengthen the nation’s electricity supply.

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Another project to bring Quebec power through Maine has been stalled after it was opposed in a statewide referendum. A plan to bring a similar power line to New York through Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, much of it underwater, appears to be moving ahead.

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