It didn’t take long for Eversource Energy to ‘revise’ their Northern Pass plan in response to the DOE environmental impact statement. Yesterday they announced plans to bury a 52 mile section passing through the White Mountains National Forest, along state roads from Bethlehem to Bridgewater in addition to an already proposed 8 mile buried section located in the far northern part of New Hampshire. They also scaled back (a little bit) on the wattage from 1200 KW to 1000 KW and will be using new cable technology that can be carried by shorter slimmer towers (about 5 to 10 feet shorter – so, er, I guess that means they will be 9 stories tall instead of 10? … big whoop) and more than 100 steel lattice towers would be changed to allegedly less visible monopoles.
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests quickly pointed out that if Eversource said they could bury 52 miles without increasing the cost of the project then there is no reason why they can’t bury the whole thing.
These changes proposed by Eversource are part of the ‘Forward NH Plan’ which combines a smaller Northern Pass Plan project with a series of economic development initiatives to make it more enticing to local towns along the path.
Maybe I’m just being paranoid but personally I am suspicious of ‘generous’ offers like this, as there is often the faint whiff of ‘bait and switch’ wafting about them.
More public hearings will be held this October in various towns along the route, so it will be interesting to see if others share my suspicions.
Stay tuned for further developments.