By Tony Giunta, PG, Director of Project Development
The hot media topic for the week of May 22nd was the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee’s (SEC) vote to delay their decision on the Northern Pass project to September of 2017. As the end of that week rolled into Memorial Day weekend, I wonder how many families gathered around the barbeque and talk about how this action will affect their lives? My guess is few to none!
That’s too bad because the SEC’s vote to delay is serious stuff and it has the potential to adversely impact each and every one of us. With the Northern Pass project projected to deliver an estimated $80 million dollars in direct electricity cost savings, it will delay relief on all our high electric bills. With fossil fueled power plants quickly replacing retiring zero carbon emission nuclear plants, the SEC delay is jeopardizing our environment by allowing high carbon emitting sources to come on-line before clean low emission hydropower is approved. But most importantly, the SEC delay is risking every New Hampshire job directly and indirectly dependent upon our fragile manufacturing sector.
To my fellow citizens throughout New Hampshire-if your job is in any way connected with the manufacturing industry please understand that your livelihood, employment opportunities for your children and grandchildren, and your desire for a clean carbon-free future depends on approval of projects like Northern Pass. Realize that your employers are being crippled by the highest electricity costs in the nation. As their overall cost to produce products continues to skyrocket, manufacturers are finding it more and more difficult to compete with their domestic and global competitors. Inevitably, their only logical choice for survival will be relocation.
Up to now, there has been a glimmer of hope that large projects delivering cheaper energy were in our foreseeable future. But the SEC’s decision to delay Northern Pass sends a very bad signal to manufacturers-one which will be interpreted as an indifference to their plight and a clear sign that “it’s time to go!”
So, if you, your family members, your friends have jobs dependent on manufacturing, it’s time to be concerned. If you care about your environment and would like to see our society strive to achieve an affordable carbon free economy, then it’s time to be concerned. When you started reading this article, you may have had no interest in the SECs recent decision to delay the Northern Pass. But hopefully you now realize it’s time to sit up and take notice it’s time to pay attention because delaying a decision on Northern Pass really does affect you!