With $318M Invested, Eversource Pulls Plug on Northern Pass

CONCORD, N.H. (CN) – Appellate defeat brought about the end Thursday of the Northern Pass, a $1.6 billion hydropower project that would have run 192 miles through New Hampshire into Canada.

Brad and Sue Wyman paddle their 1930s Old Town Guide canoe along the Androscoggin River on Sept. 27, 2014, north of the White Mountains in Dummer, N.H. The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments in May on Eversource’s bid to revive its Northern Pass transmission line proposal, which was rejected by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee in 2018. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

Eversource announced it was cutting its losses in an SEC filing, one week after the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld a decision by state regulators that denied Eversource a permit.

“On July 24, 2019, Eversource concluded that construction of the project was no longer probable and that substantially all of the project costs, certain of which are subject to cost reimbursement agreements, were impaired,” Eversource Vice President Jay Buth told the SEC.

Eversource had argued that the $1.6 billion project would bring clean energy to the region and help the economy. Having already spent $318 million on the project, Eversource told the SEC that it plans to write off $200 million after taxes.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, who had supported Eversource’s project, said that he hoped there would be alternative options to lower energy rates in the Granite State.

“The court has made it clear – it is time to move on,” Sununu said last week. “There are still many clean energy projects that lower electric rates to explore and develop for New Hampshire and the rest of New England.”

Opponents of the project argued meanwhile that the project underestimated how the transmission line would harm local communities.

“We took on Northern Pass because we saw the proposed overhead line as a direct threat to conserved lands in the state, including three of our Forest Reservations and dozens of conservation easements,” said Jane Difley, president of the Forest Society.

The Conservation Law Foundation also fought the Northern Pass in the nearly nine-year court battle.

“Eversource has been nothing but dismissive of community concerns throughout this process and that alone is enough to reject Northern Pass for good,” Tom Irwin, vice president and director of CLF New Hampshire, said in a statement last week. “This project has always been bad for the state and Eversource needs to move on.”

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