National Grid Discusses Plans to Expand Power Lines

The town’s transmission towers and the amount of land they consume may be changing in the near future if a project being spearheaded by utilities company National Grid is approved.

The project, known as Granite State Power Link (GSPL), was recently proposed to the Town Council during their June 19 meeting at the town hall. Presented by representatives Shawn Downey and Danielle Aretz, the GSPL would place a major emphasis on delivering more power to New England by replacing, upgrading, and adding transmission towers to the current 168 miles of said towers that occupy Vermont and New Hampshire.

According to the representatives, GSPL would increase power input to 1,200 megawatts, as well as maximize use of existing infrastructure, minimize development costs, and create 1,500 annual jobs for the two years that it will take to complete the project. Supposedly, it would also lead to 1.4 billion dollars in electrical savings over the first 10 years of the project’s lifespan.

However, in order to accommodate these upgrades and additions, the land separating the towers from surrounding properties would need to be expanded by anywhere from 66 to 80 feet in certain areas.  Downey stressed that the projected placed a heavy focus on informing and communicating with everyone affected by GSPL, from elected officials to the landowners who may have their properties encroached upon. Those affected by the encroachment would also see an additional 59 million dollars in property tax revenues over a four-year period.

But, regardless of their efforts to make the process as smooth as possible, the representatives were met with much resistance from town councilors. Councilor Joe Green was curious about how the representatives came up with their property tax figures, to which Downey noted that it was based off of general estimations of the land. Councilor Ted Combes was curious about how much each individual household would see of the 1.4 billion dollars in savings. Downey explained that it would come out to about sixty cents per megawatt hour.

Conservation Commission Chair Marge Badois was also present at the meeting, asking the representatives about the size of the switchyard for the project, which was an unknown factor at that time, and whether or not National Grid would keep track of conservation easements. Aretz noted that they put forth the utmost care towards minimizing their impact on the environment, stating that “[they] obviously have to undertake environmental studies.”

Vice Chairman John Farrell was the most outspoken about the project, citing previous similar experiences with Eversource Energy and complications their right-of-ways caused Londonderry residents. Farrell stated, “I’m not in favor of granting permission to proceed with GSPL,” noting numerous concerns like the size of the project, the impact on the local landscape, and how it will affect local properties. He also advised the representatives to consider helping develop a community power authority to give the town more reign over use and prices of the electricity.

However, as GSPL is still in a proposition phase in Londonderry, Chairman Tom Dolan advised the representatives to work closely with residents and Town Manager Kevin Smith to smooth out the details of GSPL’s positive and negative effects on Londonderry. The Town Council hopes to meet with National Grid in November to discuss the project further.For more information about the GSPL, please visit

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