As the project progresses, National Grid will continue our ongoing commitment to keeping residents, officials and businesses up to date on our project progress and anticipated local impacts. Please note that the siting processes in Vermont and New Hampshire are separate and distinct. Below is a review of the basic steps in the federal and each state’s specific siting processes.
Public outreach is central to the development philosophy of the Granite State Power Link and will be undertaken from project development through operations. Since the project’s public launch in March 2017, GSPL has undertaken extensive outreach efforts targeting grassroots and grasstops stakeholders to provide wide-reaching education on the project and the development, permitting, and construction process. GSPL has and will continue to conduct: briefings; one-on-one meetings; presentations to Boards of Selectmen, state legislators, NGOs and interest groups; community public meetings; and, formal communication to all project landowners and abutters. GSPL is committed to open, transparent and regular communication to ensure public participation is embedded into all activities.
MA RFP Opportunity:
The Granite State Power Link will “bid” into an opportunity to commercialize (or pay for) the project via Massachusetts distribution companies through long-term contracts. The deadline for submissions into this competitive process is July 27, 2017. GSPL will be measured against other projects and it is imperative to showcase your support for GSPL to ensure it is selected.
This competitive project process was made available through Massachusetts state law (AN ACT TO PROMOTE ENERGY DIVERSITY (Ch. 188, the Acts of 2016)), directing the state’s electric distribution companies (EDCs) to jointly solicit proposals for “clean energy generation,” which it defined as either: (i) firm service hydroelectric generation from hydroelectric generation alone; (ii) new Class I renewable portfolio standard (RPS) eligible resources that are firmed up with firm service hydroelectric generation; or (iii) new Class I RPS eligible resources. The law gives preference to proposals that combine new Class I RPS eligible resources and firm hydroelectric generation and demonstrate a benefit to low-income ratepayers without adding to project cost. MA EDCs issued an RFP for Long-term Contracts for Clean Energy Projects.
EDCs must jointly enter into long-term contracts for an annual amount of “clean energy generation” equal to 9,450,000 MWh by December 31, 2022. Proposals received pursuant to each competitive solicitation for clean energy generation will be subject to review by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and all proposed long-term contracts must be approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) before they are entered into by the EDCs.
Responsive bids are due on July 27, 2017, with winning bidders to be announced January 25, 2018.
Presidential Permit Process (Federal Permit)
A Presidential Permit from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is required for the construction, connection, operation and/or maintenance of electric transmission lines that cross the U.S. international borders with Canada and Mexico.
Executive Order 12038 states that, before a Presidential permit may be issued, the action must be found to be consistent with the public interest. The two criteria used by DOE to determine if a proposed project is consistent with the public interest are:
- Environmental Impact – The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires that Federal agencies give due consideration to the environmental consequences of their actions. Pursuant to NEPA, DOE must determine the environmental impacts associated with issuing or denying a Presidential permit. DOE published NEPA implementing procedures on April 24, 1992 (57 FR 15122). These rules, codified at 10 CFR 1021, specifically delineate the steps of the NEPA process.
- Impact on Electric Reliability – DOE considers the effect that the proposed project would have on the operating reliability of the U.S. electric power supply system; i.e., the ability of the existing generation and transmission system to remain within acceptable voltage, loading and stability limits during normal and emergency conditions. The standards DOE applies include the standards of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) and the standards of the member regional councils that are formulated by the utilities themselves.
After compliance with NEPA and satisfaction of the electric reliability criteria, E.O. 12038 requires DOE to obtain concurrence from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense before a permit may be issued.
The time required to process an application for a Presidential permit is usually determined by the extent of the environmental analysis. A decision on a permit may be reached within six months if it is determined that the issuance of a permit is not a major federal action significantly affecting the environment and that an environmental assessment is the appropriate level of review for NEPA compliance. However, if it is determined that an Environmental Impact Statement would be required to adequately address the full environmental consequences of the proposed action, the time for processing the permit application could take 18 months or longer.
For more information on Presidential Permits, please see the Department of Energy’s website.
Vermont Section 248 Process and Section 231 Petition
The 248 process is required for companies to obtain approval from the Vermont Public Service Board (Board) before beginning site preparation or construction of electric transmission facilities, electric generation facilities and certain gas pipelines within Vermont. Below is an overview of the process steps as it relates to GSPL. It is anticipated that the process will take approximately one year to receive a certificate. Click HERE for a public guide to the 248 process.
231 Petition Process
National Grid will request the issuance of a Section 231 Certificate of Public Good to own and operate the Granite State Power Link. This is under the purview of the Vermont Public Service Board and evaluates whether the petitioning entity has the technical, operational and regulatory experience, as well as the financial stability to own and operate the project within Vermont.
New Hampshire SEC Process