While the Globe correctly supposes that new imports of Canadian hydropower can benefit New England under the right conditions, it is wrong to assume that Northeast Utilities’ deeply flawed Northern Pass project is the only viable option for the region (“Gains outweigh the costs for hydropower from Quebec,” Editorial, Sept. 15).
There are several robust transmission proposals on the table, and possibly more under quiet development. At least two of these projects, unlike Northern Pass, blend imports of hydropower with developing new renewable resources in New England, an outcome that we, like the Globe, believe must be part of the equation. Underground or submarine alternatives to new overhead power lines are integral to all of the proposals except Northern Pass. According to Vermont’s governor, there also are low-cost solutions to facilitate new imports over existing transmission lines in that state.
As imports of Canadian hydropower likely will have a role in the region’s energy future, it’s essential that proposed power line projects compete on verifiable social, economic, and environmental attributes to ensure that the benefits are ultimately real and clearly outweigh the burdens. Right now, Northern Pass does not fit that bill.