Consultant Questions Whether Mass RPF Will Choose Northern Pass or GSPL Bids without Approvals
CONCORD — A Massachusetts energy consultant Tuesday questioned whether the Bay State, in search of new sources of clean power, would choose proposed transmission projects, such as Northern Pass or a National Grid alternative, that don’t have all the necessary approvals.
“I would expect that the evaluators here are very adverse to putting themselves in a position of putting all their eggs into one basket if it’s a basket where there’s a risk of it still falling apart,” said Robert Grace, managing director and president of Sustainable Energy Advantage in Framingham, Mass.
Grace addressed the New Hampshire Energy Summit at the Holiday Inn, detailing the results of a solicitation from Massachusetts Clean Energy that garnered 46 total bids last summer. Evaluators could choose among a buffet of wind, solar and hydropower options, he said. Officials there are scheduled to select bids for negotiations by Jan. 25.
Grace said evaluators may consider how likely the project will happen, local opposition and costs.
Grace, whose clients include many of the bidders, declined afterward to give odds on whether Northern Pass would prove successful, saying that proposal is “certainly one of the potentially viable outcomes.”
The proposed $1.6 billion Northern Pass project, which runs through more than 30 communities, needs several state and federal approvals before it can start operating by late 2020. The route runs from Pittsburg to Deerfield. The Site Evaluation Committee said it hopes to issue a verbal decision by late February and a written one by late March — after Massachusetts officials make their initial cut.
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