Archive for the ‘High Voltage Power’ Category

Decentralizing Our Energy Supply Promotes Health

September 19, 2017

Each day we are confronted with news of tragic events in the world. People lose their water, energy and food supplies that threaten survival. Too many are people are overdosing on drugs.  On the brighter side are stories like Paul Allard’s piece in the Concord Monitor 8/21/17, ‘My Turn, the Northern Pass and the Land That Gave Me Sobriety’.  Allard credits his recovery from drug addiction to the White Mountains where he hiked his way out of hopelessness, and turned his life around.

Tourists continue to exclaim how wonderful it is to breathe our moist fresh air, provided so generously by our abundance of trees and forests. NH protects one of the last vital forests remaining in the US where people can come for respite. Yet the NP project wants to plow up 500 miles of trees to access their lines. NP wants to destroy even more trees to put lines down through neighborhoods along state roads. HydroQuebec has been ruthless in their destruction of Quebec’s tourism, indigenous culture and livelihood. I cannot understand why, in light of that destruction, any NH Site Evaluation Committee would even consider the NP proposal, why NP hasn’t been given the choice to either underground down I93, whose median exists for just such a project, or forget this project.

Today, centralized power lines are considered archaic. If attacked by war, terrorists, or natural disaster, too much is instantly lost for too many people and survival becomes an overwhelming problem.

Clearly, the refusal of Eversource/HQ to even consider undergrounding their line down the corridor already in place has to do with their plan to totally centralize power in NH.  Northern Pass plans to put the backbone of their centralized power company right down through the existing Eversource line. At the Public Hearing in the Plymouth State University Ice Arena, Eversource NH CE, William Quinlan stated, “The Northern Pass is the first of many planned projects for New Hampshire”. Indeed, property has already been purchased in the North Country. Future plans simply extend ribs east and west down the NP backbone until they smother NH in a cobweb of lines, foist an archaic system on NH, and put every other energy company out of business, leaving NH at the mercy of HQ’s central control of energy in northeast US.

Decentralized energy generates local control through a variety of energy options, including those as yet to be developed, along with the headway currently made by solar. Local control puts communities in position to support surrounding areas that need power, should disaster strike.

This NP project has already pitted families against each other, destroyed property values, and threatened NH citizens with more destruction. HydroQuebec does not plan to spend a penny for construction of the project. I do not understand why the NH Site Evaluation Committee would want to allow any company to bully the length and breadth of our state with such destruction so HQ/Eversource could make a pile of money providing MA and CT with power.

Where would we be today if instead of funding seven years of protest hearings, those funds had been spent supporting research into new forms of clean energy, energy that is not obtained at the cost of a culture, livelihood, property, and health of the people it is intended to serve?

Your support is needed to stand up for this land, not just for ourselves, but for all the people who count on being able to come here to relax, energize, and breathe.

Let Gov. Chris Sununu know your concerns at State House, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301.

Also the SEC, c/o Pamela Monroe, Administrator, 21 S. Fruit St., Suite 10, Concord, NH 03301 or email: Pamela Monroe@sec.nh.gov.

 

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Life Sustaining Health

August 17, 2016

We are definitely in the midst of what Joanna Macy calls The Great Turning. We are smack between the Industrial Revolution and a Life Sustaining Civilization, according to her 2012 book, coauthored with Chris Johnstone, “Active Hope: How to face the mess we’re in without going crazy.”

Four years later, we seem to be right on schedule with the three dimensions of The Great Turning.  Predicted first are Holding Actions: blockades, boycotts and civil disobedience to buy time and save some lives, some ecosystems, some species and cultures. The opposition to the Northern Pass and the Tar Sands Pipeline are but two examples of buying time to protect our health.

This week Kris Pastoriza of Easton became the first Northern Pass civil disobedience arrest stemming from NP bore-hole drilling near waterways in Easton. Pastoriza sat on a bore-hole site near the Ham Branch River, preventing the drilling rig from being unloaded there. After her arrest, NP bored in a location that the Easton Select Board had requested not be bored. The contaminated mess NP left behind is still being investigated.

Macy’s second step, Structural Change, brings in new economies and new ways of being together. Local Food Movements, the spread of Permaculture farming practices, Food Labeling activists, Transition towns like Florida’s Babcock Ranch (new), and Rutland, Vermont (now on solar), demonstrate these changes.

Finally, we experience a Shift in Consciousness. New forms of thought are happening. There is a profound shift in our perception of reality, what we must do if we want our offspring to get along with the rest of the world, thrive and survive. All of which leads to a spiritual awakening to the importance of all life forms and a new means of communication.

Other life forms are attuned to each other and jockey around us to survive. Tiny bacteria might be more powerful than all our human intuition and learning. We need to become fluent in other species languages to be able to work together so that life on Earth may continue for us all.

Challenges continue. In our area, the Northern Pass has dragged on for six years, despite massive opposition. This week, we learned that Massachusetts enacted a new utilities law that essentially sells that state’s rights to centralized corporate energy. Utilities there can now legally collect up to 2.75 percent from ratepayers to offset  the costs of long-term contracts for hydro-power or offshore wind. This is a step back to 20th century technology, definitely not a form of future cheap energy. This smacks of a similar ripoff deal HydroQuebec managed almost 40 years ago with Newfoundland over Churchill Falls energy. That whole sad story is available on the internet.

As water scarcity accelerates, we also need to keep alert to protect our water supply, to save our trees that store water for us, and release it to the atmosphere for our benefit as well. Visitors from the West and South and abroad marvel at the luxury of breathing deep in our forests, and how good it is to be able to smell the vegetation!

It is up to each of us to do our part in this shift to a Life Sustaining Civilization. We can join community efforts that support our Forest Society, Permaculture gardeners, Farmers Markets, and new forms of energy. We can write to Governor Hassan and our legislators. All that we each do counts.

Northern Pass Threatens NH Health

August 1, 2016

Northern Pass Project spokesman, Martin Murry, says NP cannot afford more burial and explains how “dependent its now uneconomic project has become.” Don’t believe it!

All those properties NP has purchased in the NH forest will be worked into their “plans for many more projects” the Eversource spokesman expects to promote. His vision seems to include a massive cobweb of towers and lines all over New Hampshire. NP is just one line through the tip of the iceberg.

Murray claims that NP reduces 3 to 4 million tons of carbon tons per year. NP seems to be ignoring the loss of carbon sequestering trees that NP will eliminate with their 500 miles of access roads and widened existing paths to support the NP high frequency power line. How many carbon sequestering root systems and mycelium will be decimated for their 35 foot pilings along with drilling through our granite? (And the polluting machinery needed to drill, transport, and bury tons of concrete, etc.) Where are the figures for the pollutants emitted to put in the line?

Today, we know that an expansive connective system exists below ground that far exceeds what we see above ground in our forest. For more graphic views of these systems, see How Trees Talk To Each Other with Susan Simard, Forestry Professor at UBC, on Youtube.

What can our forests teach us about how to get along with different people in the rest of the world we share? Look at how tremendous varieties of trees and plants all share space? Now, we know that trees and plants actually communicate with each other and help each other through this vast network below ground.

Currently, Maine (85.8%) and NH (78.4%) lead our nation’s states in percentage of timberland. If you would like a preview of what NH will look like if the NP and Eversource’s “many other projects” bulldoze through NH, just drive Interstate 80 West and see what the land looks like when power lines replace trees. You will see ‘big sky’ because there are few trees to block your view. And you will see why water is scarce, land is drying up, and drinking water continually threatens people’s health in our midwest.

One thing Martin Murray has right is that now is the biggest opportunity of a lifetime here in NH. However, the opportunity is not Murray’s plan to attack our forests; the opportunity is to save our forests and save our health.

Let us choose to honor and save our forests and our health.

 

Replacing Carbon Footprint for Health

February 9, 2016

Figuring out the carbon footprint we leave with our homes, schools, municipal buildings, ski areas, shopping malls, travel vehicles, road maintenance, and more becomes overwhelming in that there seems to be no end to what we ask Earth to contend with and make OK. Do we really have to look at our footprint?

Only if we want to continue to breathe freely, continue to raise our children and access safe food and water. Most of us luxuriate in this beautiful north country where just a drive to the post office bathes us in scenic splendor. It is hard to recognize that continuing this luxury depends on whether we wake up, do our part, and give back to the Earth the means to continue to provide us with enough oxygen.

The term “carbon footprint”(CF) tells us the amount of land and sea area required to sequester carbon dioxide emissions from human activities. Trees and plants help us because they need to breathe in carbon dioxide and they exhale oxygen for us. Trees are the major lungs of the earth.

To figure out our carbon footprint, just what counts? Is it just about our home energy and personal travel habits or does it include all the goods and services we purchase, the skiing, theatre performances, our shoes and clothes? Do we count the footprint of meat we buy or is that tallied by the cattle raiser? Over which carbon footprints do we have control?

On the state level, the Northern Pass wants to put in an above ground line with 35’ deep cement pilings for miles of High Voltage poles. Every ton of cement emits one ton of carbon dioxide and that doesn’t include the print left by cement mixers, blasting, jackhammers, etc. NP plans to cut 500 miles of access roads to service their power lines. That means cutting carbon-sequestering trees down. Will New Hampshire require NP to mitigate its carbon footprint and include a comprehensive plan to offset the huge carbon footprint the NP creates?

There are international companies that measure and monitor carbon footprints. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an internationally recognized company based in London that measures 4000+ international companies who voluntarily submit their environmental and emissions data. Harry Hintlian, who has a home in Woodstock, where he and his family vacation, recently received the highest environmental rankings from the CDP for his Superior Nut Company. Hintlian’s Cambridge, MA company has been offsetting its carbon footprint by planting trees in the tropics through Reforest The Tropics (RTT).

The Gloucester, MA school system is implementing the Cape Ann Green Initiative, an RTT program that teaches school children how to figure out the carbon footprint of their homes, schools, and community.
Thanks to our school systems, our children are our greatest teachers of basic technology. It is time to raise our carbon footprint consciousness by jumpstarting our schoolchildren who will surely stimulate us to protect their future by offsetting our CF.

NP Logging Plan Threatens Our Health

June 25, 2015

I was stunned to hear on NPR that the top of Eversource’s plan is to hire New Hampshire people to do the logging necessary to put in their line for the Northern Pass. This means trees taken down to make 500 miles of new roads to service the line, in addition to widening and extending the existing corridor. This means 500 miles of water-sequestering trees – GONE. This means not only one wide swath through our forests for the main line, it also means ANOTHER swath for the roads connecting service to the line.

We feel sorry for California’s lack of foresight that has taken them too long to wake up to their water crisis. After years of development, building dams, and failing to replant precious forests, it is dues time for California. Cal Fire states that 95% of fires have a human cause, i.e. sparks from construction equipment.

The kind of logging Eversource proposes exploits the very trees that are capable of sucking up massive amounts of carbon dioxide, and decrease global warming. Instead, it promotes soil erosion as water sequestered by downed trees must be dispersed, wasted. This kind of logging destroys habitats, which, in turn, affects diversity at a time when the world is slowly waking up to the reality that we have to care for the earth and all life here if we want the earth to care for us.

NP continues to put out false information about the cost of undergrounding the line. Yet, a Hydro Quebec subsidiary pleased the people of Australia by undergrounding 100 miles there, which the Australians have found cost effective to install and maintain.

In northern NH especially, we are used to hearing plentiful running water; we even plan our loop hikes so we can access running water energy for an easier climb on the uphill. We have a steady stream of visitors who come to our mountains to relax and take in the spellbinding beauty of our notches, knowing they can hike in wilderness for days if they want and never run out of access to water. They can see moose, bear, flocks of wild turkey, weasels playing tag around a log; they can hike the Appalachian Trail full of breathtaking peaks and abundant wildflowers and birds; they can drive to scenic lookouts of vast, undisturbed land where the diversity we so need can thrive. They can come back to NH as often as needed to keep their life in balance.

Our job is to continue to steward our forests and recognize that our ability to keep each other well depends on our ability to honor the diversity that gives our forests life, and to say “No” to anything that threatens that diversity.

The Power of Place for Health

June 7, 2015

I just viewed Jerry Monkman’s film, “The Power of Place”, a documentary that combines interviews with experts and NH residents with awesome cinematography of the places that would be impacted by the Northern Pass. The film triggered the memory of my drive west several years ago, to spend nine months volunteering in the Tetons.

As I left New York State and picked up Route 80 West, Big Sky presented itself. What made Big Sky so obvious were the cobwebs of power lines replacing trees all the way from Ohio to Rock Springs, WY. There, I headed north, leaving the flatlands and smothering web. After I passed the stench of the last cattle holding pen area and the beginning of hill country, a miracle happened.

I entered an enchanted forest, enchanted because I drove past plants, shrubs and trees I’d never seen before, all arranged by nature’s finest landscaper and thriving on sandy soil. The hills became small mountains and then everything grew and all of a sudden, I felt energized, not tired after a long drive. November gave way to wild winter experiences and I learned to share space with moose, bison, elk, antelope and so much more.

I was amidst people who valued that shared experience. When they flashed their high beams on the road at night, it was to warn that a herd of elk or other wild life was up ahead, time to slow down. In Kelly, WY, where I lived, if you saw a dog asleep in the middle of the road, you drove carefully around it so as not to disturb its nap.

Viewing the Monkman film in Bethlehem, I was again in the midst of people who value the land and the opportunity to share it with the rest of the natural world. It was a relief to be there with them and to be viewing the mountains that always energize me, especially when I hike the peaks and ridges here in NH. Thanks to the AMC and WMNF, our north country is laced with maintained trails that are free for everyone, and provide rest and renewed energy to NH folks as well as people from all over the world, who still come here to recharge.

This mountain energy is threatened, not only by the Northern Pass, but ISO New England’s plan for a suffocating web of power lines blanketing our whole state, including our forests. When I saw the ISO New England prospective power grid for the first time a few years ago, I cringed at the thought that our state could ever become like Route 80 West – desolate.

When I check out products on the internet, I cringe at the Northern Pass ads that are plastered over websites, full of empty promises. I wonder how many times Hydro Quebec/Eversource Energy has paid out the cost of buried lines in advertizing alone. They must really plan to make a bundle if they can ever fool enough people to just let them in the door.

Solar and yet to be developed sources of renewable energy definitely threaten the monopoly power companies have held over us. Future projections of reasonable rates from alternative sources mean we will have choices that spread the wealth instead of being at the mercy of a monopoly. Such choices will enable us to share this land as a health sustaining space for all life.

Time to continue contacting legislators with requests to fund development of new sources of energy that respect all life. Bottom line: how can our efforts bring a better deal for everyone? Therein lies the possibility for real health and happiness.

Wake Up Calls for Health

March 26, 2015

We seem to be wasting valuable time and energy needed to move forward with renewable energy alternatives. We barely hold one entity at bay when another rears its greedy head.

This week we learned that a NH asphalt plant is trying to relocate to Lisbon from an isolated sand pit in Dalton. The Lisbon location is near residences and businesses that would suffer from both the plant’s noise pollution and toxic fumes that are research-documented as carcinogenic.

Time was when three squares, enough sleep, and exercise were the commonly held prerequisites of robust health. Today, we learn that toxic fumes, noise pollution, water pollution, electromagnetic ray pollution and much more need our constant surveillance and local control to assure a reasonable shake at our health. We cannot count on most of our elected officials to safeguard the big picture.

Our regulating bodies need catch-up time. Our social activities increasingly revolve around gathering together to wake each other up or face a potential demise. We have the Northern Pass Opposition, the Iberdrola Wind Farm Opposition, the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Opposition, and now the Presby Asphalt Plant Opposition

We have Northern Pass Opposition to an energy supplier that continues to disrupt families and neighbors who struggle to stay alert to the dangers and future costs and threat to our health that this power line is set to charge.

We have Kinder Morgan’s Gas Line Opposition gatherings concerned about noise, water pollution, and financial bleeding that awaits us. Nine towns the line would go through have vetoed the project. Who is listening?

Asphalt production is not something that needs to be expanded for the future. We need to develop surfaces that are water permeable so that rain and runoff is sequestered in ground aquifers and by the roots of our trees. We do not need more noisy wind farms disrupting wildlife, destroying forest land and neighborhood ambiance.

Health is not just a matter of eating wholesome foods, getting plenty of exercise, finding satisfying work and friendships. Each day, we still have to muster up energy to stop whatever corporation threatens our health locally while purporting to provide jobs and cheap energy and better roads, none of which can be assured without health risks..

Time to encourage schools to explore new possibilities for energy. Time to encourage innovators to apply for a share of the 9 million dollars the legislature has in the budget to be used for the development of renewable sources of energy. Time to expand more ways to access solar. Time to stop adding new above-ground wires and begin to underground wires and clear out the cobwebs lining every road in NH. Time to develop affordable road and driveway surfaces that sequester precious water. Time to speak for the trees!

Governor Hassan (603-271-2121) and our legislators need to hear from each of us that our health depends on their support of renewable energy, clean air, noise control and sequestered water.

Oratorios for Health Living

May 31, 2014

Like a great choral oratorio, whether about an outpouring of grief over the death of a loved one, as in the Brahms Requiem, or about a much longer struggle against oppressive forces, as in Handel’s Messiah, people come together, moved by one universal voice that inspires us to move forward and embrace life anew.

That same voice was heard again in the Newfound area community voice that silenced the Iberdrola Wild Meadows Wind Project last week.

A much longer oratorio is currently in the works as people voice concerns over the Northern Pass project. Pieces have been composed chronicling the destruction of culture, livelihood, and natural environment in Quebec, robbing Newfoundland-Labrador of its future energy, and destroying family relations in northern NH. The piece that may well turn the tide on the NP is Susan Schibanoff’s unveiling of the true cost of putting an above ground line through the State of NH. Her piece in the Concord Monitor (May 21), “My Turn: Overhead lines require a lot of digging, too” may well be powerful enough to move us to come together as one voice and put the necessary limits on the project that will ensure a healthy outcome.

The news is that 90-130 foot poles carrying the proposed line through the forest and existing right of way would require 35 foot deep foundations to be dug, blasted and filled with concrete throughout the length of the proposed line. The NP claim that burying the lines is too costly makes no sense. It has to be a lot less expensive to bury lines 3-4 feet deep along existing rights of way than it is to blast 35 foot deep foundations to seat hundreds of monopoles for an above line through forest and replacing existing PSNH poles to support High Voltage Currents.

Hydro Quebec’s bottom line here must be to eventually charge New Englanders steep rates so that HQ can continue to placate Canadian ire over HQ’s destruction of their province for hydropower by promising cheap rates forever to the people of Quebec.

The proposed line would create an ugly swath through our state, destroying families, recreation, livelihoods, real estate and the health and well being of all life here, as has been duly reported over the last four years unless….

Unless we unite as one voice in the final Amen that buries the line or scratches the project altogether.

Our ability to keep each other well depends on our readiness to attend to these health issues and to let our legislators know our concerns. Here’s the URL for the above article.
http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/12046224-95/my-turn-overhead-lines-require-a-lot-of-digging-too

Buried Lines Alert

September 18, 2013

 I attended the Northern Pass Open House at Loon Mountain in Lincoln on 9/16. The event consisted of several displays promoted by NP employees who didn’t seem to know much about the cost of burying the lines. A “more experienced” employee was quickly called over to snow me with a deluge of misinformation delivered passionately. I admit to being fascinated by his performance, waving his arms as he went all around the barn.

 He didn’t tell me about the work of TransEnergieUS, Hydro-Quebec’s transmission division that is involved with the longest underground transmission line in the world at 110 mi, the Murraylink in Australia. He didn’t tell me that SNC-Lavalin, a  Canadian infrastructure engineering and managing company became a shareholder in the project. SNC-Lavalin partnered with TransEnergieUS to develop the Murraylink.

 Several studies confirm the reliability of underground transmission. NC Utilities Commission (Nov. 2003) found that underground (u/g) outage rates are 50 percent less than overhead. MD Public Service Commision (Feb. 2000) found that u/g systems of Urban utilities have lower frequency and duration of outages.  The Australian government (Nov. 1998) found that high voltage u/g systems had 80 percent less outages than overhead.

 Significantly, I found this information on the www.ferc.gov website when I googled Murraylink and TransEnergieUS  and learned that TransEnergieUS had sponsored the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission conference in Hartford, CT in 2004. This information has been available since the pdf of this FERC conference was filed in 2004.

 So the question is: why is HQ turning a blind eye to its own work elsewhere and trying to foist an antiquated system on NH? This is not about supplying power economically to New England. This is about corporate greed poised to make long-term bucks off sleeping New Englanders. In return, they’ll provide us with increased health and energy costs, guaranteed, for the long run.

To voice your concerns, please call or email Governor Hassan, 603-271-2121, Maggie@Maggie Hassan.com.

Rights for Health

September 11, 2013

 The First Amendment to the US Constitution which gives private corporations the power over citizens, gathered citizens, and towns is something that I struggle to understand. Because decisions about our water, food and energy needs directly affect our health, I continue to look at threats to our health proposed by powerful corporations. The bottom line is always about a few people making money at the expense of the general population. Corporations are fully protected by our Constitution which is clearly not “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

 The Northern Pass project, for example, is an attempt by PSNH to gather lucrative rent money from Hydro Quebec. Protecting our health, environment, tourism industry, property, and cost for energy is of no interest to PSNH. They’ve lost 50,000 of their customers due to rate increases and this is their last chance to scam New Hampshire voters. HQ is willing to bury lines in Maine and New York. Those states will receive the rent money from HQ.

 It would clearly be cost effective to bury the lines along existing NH rights of way. It would not be cost effective to bury the lines along PSNH existing lines through the woods. The fact that millions have been spent spreading false promises and buying up property tells us clearly that the projected long run will be a major financial coup for PSNH as well as HQ, at the expense of NH citizens.

 Because Hydro Quebec has systematically bludgeoned their own province, ruined their fishing industry, abused their rivers and wildlife, and indigenous culture, I continue to be concerned that Canada owns all the NH dams in the Connecticut River and increasing acreage in the North Country. If our grandchildren are to survive and thrive in this world, we need to stand together to assure their safety. That means seeing that their water supply, food and energy sources are not being messed with.

One way to stand together is to attend DOE scoping hearings in as many locations as possible, whether you speak or not. Showing Up Matters! Hearings are scheduled as follows: CONCORD: Grappone Conference Center, Sept. 23, 6-9 pm; PLYMOUTH:  Hanaway Theatre, Sept. 24, 5-8 pm; WHITEFIELD: Mountain View Grand, Sept. 25, 5-8 pm; and COLEBROOK: Elementary School, Sept. 26, 5-8 pm.