Recognized as One of the Country’s Greenest Utility Companies
Plus: The Latest on Eversource’s Major Clean Energy Portfolio Projects
By Chris Gillespie
Eversource Energy, operator of New England’s largest energy delivery system, has been recognized for its leadership in corporate sustainability and environmental performance by Newsweek’s annual Green Rankings list. According to Newsweek, the Fortune 500 energy provider ranks 20th among 500 U.S. companies and fourth among U.S. utility companies. Although Eversource has historically performed well in the annual survey, this is its highest ranking to date.
“It’s very rewarding to see our commitment to environmental sustainability be recognized in this way,” said Eversource Chairman, President and CEO Jim Judge in a recent press release. “With the support of our employees, we will continue to build on the #1 ranking of our energy efficiency programs, grow our clean energy portfolio and partner with our customers and communities as stewards for our environment.”
New additions to Eversource’s clean energy portfolio include Bay State Wind, a recent partnership with Ørsted, the world’s largest and most successful developer of offshore wind generation. On December 20, 2017, Bay State Wind submitted its bid to build Massachusetts’ first offshore wind farm. If Bay State Wind succeeds, the subsequent wind farm would be the first large-scale offshore wind farm in North America.
According to the proposal, the wind farm will be 25 miles off the coast of New Bedford, MA and provide 500,000 homes in Massachusetts with clean, reliable, stable-priced power. The proposal also states that the wind farm will deliver $300 million in savings per year in lower winter power costs. In order to ensure that power is available during peak-demand hours, the proposed New Bedford project will include a 55 MW battery storage solution, the largest battery storage system ever deployed in conjunction with a wind farm.
“By capturing New England’s powerful and consistent offshore wind resource through the most advanced generation and transmission technology, we can provide clean electricity directly to the region,” said Eversource Vice President of Business Development Mike Auseré regarding the proposal. “Additionally, Massachusetts will see major new investment, job creation, and an increase in tax revenues to support public services.”
Another key component of Eversource’s clean energy portfolio is the controversial Northern Pass Transmission, a partnership between Eversource and Canada’s Hydro-Québec. Through Northern Pass, Eversource and Hydro-Québec hope to bring hydropower generated in Canada down into the New England power grid. To do this, Northern Pass would construct a 192-mile transmission line, spanning nearly the entire length of New Hampshire, from Pittsburg in the north to Deerfield near the south.
Supporters of Northern Pass believe the project will spur economic development in the Granite State, while also providing enough clean energy to power roughly a million homes. Opponents of the plan cite environmental concerns and worries that the towers carrying the powerlines will significantly detract from northern New Hampshire’s world-famous scenery and hurt surrounding ecosystems.
On January 25, Massachusetts approved Eversource’s Northern Pass proposal. On February 1, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee, the final entity needed to approve the project, voted unanimously against granting Eversource a permit for the project. Eversource intends to appeal the decision, putting Northern Pass’s immediate future in limbo for both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Regardless of what ultimately happens with Northern Pass, it is likely that Eversource will continue to work to maintain its role as a green leader for utility and non-utility companies alike.
Chris Gillespie is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Editor’s note: Northern Pass was one of several projects proposed to fill the needs of Massachusetts to get power from Canada. Though it has been denied approval in New Hampshire, the other projects are still viable, and Massachusetts has other options to get the reneable power it was seeking.]