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New Hampshire Transmission Siting (8-NH-a)

In New Hampshire, a developer may need a Certificate of Site and Facility from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (Committee) to construct, operate, and maintain an energy facility. RSA §16-H:5(I).


The New Hampshire Legislature enacted the Energy Facility Evaluation, Siting, Construction, and Operation Act (Siting Act) to establish a “…procedure for the review, approval, monitoring, and enforcement of compliance in the planning, siting, construction, and operation of energy facilities.” RSA §162-H:1. The Committee has nine (9) members including the commissioners of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs, the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources, two members of the public, and an alternate public member. RSA §162-H:3(I).

The Committee regulates the construction, operation, and maintenance of energy facilities, primarily, pursuant to New Hampshire – N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 162-H et seq., Energy Facility Evaluation, Siting, Construction, and Operation Act, New Hampshire – N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. SITE 300 et seq., Certificates of Site and Facility, and New Hampshire – N.H. CODE ADMIN. R. SITE 200 et seq., Practice and Procedure Rules.



Transmission Siting Process

8-NH-a.1 - Consult Site Evaluation Committee (Optional)

The developer is encouraged to contact the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (Site Evaluation Committee) to determine if the proposed project requires a Certificate of Site and Facility, to obtain application requirements, and an overview of the application process.


8-NH-a.2 to 8-NH-a.3 - Is a Certificate of Site and Facility Required?

In New Hampshire, a person must obtain a Certificate of Site and Facility (Certificate) from the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (Site Evaluation Committee) to construct, operate, or maintain an electric facility. RSA §162-H:5(I).

A "person" means "any individual, group, firm, partnership, cooperation, cooperative, municipality, political subdivision, government agency or other organization." RSA §162-H:2(IX).

An "energy facility" means "any industrial structure that may be used substantially to extract, produce, manufacture, transport or refine sources of energy, including ancillary facilities…" RSA §162-H:2(VI). The definition of "energy facility" includes, in part:

  • An electric transmission line of a design rating of 100 kilovolts (kV) or more, associated with generating station equipment and associated facilities designed for operating at a capacity of 30 megawatts (MW) or more, over a route not already occupied by a transmission line or lines;
  • An electric transmission line of a design rating in excess of 100 kV that is in excess of ten (10) miles in length, over a route not already occupied by a transmission line;
  • A new electric transmission line of design rating in excess of 200 kV; and
  • Any other facility and associated equipment that the Site Evaluation Committee determines requires a Certificate.

RSA §162-H:2(VI).

For a complete definition of "energy facility" see, RSA §162-H:2(VI).


8-NH-a.4 to 8-NH-a.8 - Provide Notice of Public Information Session(s)

The developer must publish public notice of the public information session not less than 14 days before each session in one or more newspapers having regular circulation in the county in which the session is to be held. N.H. Admin. Code 201.01(b). The notice must describe the nature and location of the proposed facility. In addition, the developer must mail a copy of this notice to each of the affected communities by first class mail and to each owner of abutting property by certified mail. N.H. Admin. Code 201.01(b); RSA §162-H:10(I).

The developer must also provide a copy of the public notice to the chairperson of the Site Evaluation Committee not less than ten (10) days before any public information session. RSA §162-H:10(I).

At least 30 days before filing a Certificate Application with the Site Evaluation Committee the developer must hold at least one (1) public information session in each county in which the proposed facility is to be located. At the public information session, the developer must provide information regarding the project and provide an opportunity for comments and questions from the public. The developer must address any comments and questions submitted. N.H. Admin. Code 201.01(a); RSA §162-H:10(I).

The developer must also prepare a transcript of the public information session. N.H. Admin. Code Site 201.01(c); RSA §162-H:10(I).

8-NH-a.9 - Certificate of Site and Facility Application

The developer must submit a complete original Certificate of Site and Facility Application (Application), 15 copies, and electronic PDF version of the Application to the chairperson of the Site Evaluation Committee. RSA §162-H:7(I); N.H. Admin. Code 301.01(a).

The Application must include sufficient information to satisfy the requirements of each state agency having jurisdiction under state or federal law, to regulate any aspect of construction or operation of the proposed facility, and must include each state agency's completed application forms. RSA §162-H:7(IV). Generally the Application must include, at minimum, the following:

  • Description of the type and size of each major part of the proposed facility;
  • Applicant's (developers) preferred choice and other alternatives it considers available for the site and configuration of each major part of the proposed facility and the reasons for the applicant's (developers) preferred choice;
  • A description of the impact of each major part of the proposed facility on the environment for each site proposed;
*A description of the applicant's (developers) proposals for studying and solving environmental problems;
  • A description of the applicant's (developers) financial, technical, and managerial capability for construction and operation of the proposed facility;
  • A document that written notification of the proposed project, including appropriate copies of the Application that has been given to the appropriate governing body of each community in which the facility is proposed to be located;
  • A description of the elements of and financial assurances for a facility decommissioning plan; and
  • Any other information required by the committee.

RSA §162-H:7(V).

The Application must also contain the following information with respect to the site of the proposed energy facility and proposed alternative locations:

  • Description of the type and size of each major part of the proposed facility;
  • Applicant's (developers) preferred choice and other alternatives it considers available for the site and configuration of each major part of the proposed facility and the reasons for the applicant's (developers) preferred choice;
  • A description of the impact of each major part of the proposed facility on the environment for each site proposed;
*A description of the applicant's (developers) proposals for studying and solving environmental problems;
  • A description of the applicant's (developers) financial, technical, and managerial capability for construction and operation of the proposed facility;
  • A document that written notification of the proposed project, including appropriate copies of the Application that has been given to the appropriate governing body of each community in which the facility is proposed to be located;
  • A description of the elements of and financial assurances for a facility decommissioning plan;
  • Location and address of the site of the proposed facility;
  • Site acreage, shown on an attached property map and located by scale on a U.S. Geological Survey map;
  • The location, shown on a map, of property lines, residences, industrial buildings, and other structures and improvements within the site, on abutting property with respect to the site, and within 100 feet of the site if such distance extends beyond the boundary of any abutting property;
  • Identification of wetlands and surface waters of the state within the site, on abutting property and lack of other sources of the information to be identified;
  • Identification of natural, historic, cultural, and other resources at or within the site, on abutting property within respect to the site, and within 100 feet of the site if such distance extends beyond the boundary of any abutting property, except if and to the extent such identification is not possible due to lack of access to the relevant property and lack of other sources of the information to be identified.;
  • Evidence that the applicant has a current right, an option , or other legal basis to acquire the right, to construct, operate, and maintain the facility on, over, or under the sire, in the form of:
    • Ownership, ground lease, easement, or other contractual right or interest;
    • A license, permit, easement, or other permission from a federal, state, or local government agency, or an application for such a license, permit, easement, or other permission from a state governmental agency that is included with the application; or
    • The simultaneous filing of a federal regulatory proceeding or taking of other action that would, if successful, provide the applicant with a right of eminent domain to acquire control of the site for the purpose of constructing, operating, and maintaining the facility thereon; and
  • Evidence that the applicant has a current or conditional right of access to private property within the boundaries of the proposed energy facility site sufficient to accommodate a site visit by the committee.

N.H. Admin. Code 301.03(c).

If the Application is for an electric transmission line or an electric generating facility with an associated transmission or distribution line, the Application must also include the following:

  • Location shown on U.S. Geological Survey Map;
  • A map showing the entire transmission or distribution line project, including the height and location of each pole or tower, the distance between each pole or tower, and the location of each substation, switchyard, converter station, and other ancillary facilities associated with the project;
  • Corridor width for:
    • New route, or
    • Widening along existing route;
  • Length of line;
  • Distance along new route;
  • Distance along existing route;
  • Voltage design rating;
  • Any associated new electric generating unit or units;
  • Type of construction described in detail:
  • Construction schedule, including start date and scheduled completion date;
  • A copy of any proposed plane application or other system study request documentation required to be submitted to ISO New England in connection with construction and operation of the proposed facility; and
  • A copy of system impact study report for the proposed electric transmission facility as prepared by or on behalf of ISO New England or the interconnecting utility, if available at the time of the Application.

N.H. Admin. Code 301.03(g).

The developer must comply with format and filing requirements when submitting an Application in accordance with New Hampshire - N.H. Code Admin. R. Site 300 et seq., Certificates of Site and Facility.

The developer must also submit with the Application materials a fee as prescribed by the Site Evaluation Committee and RSA §162-H:8a.

8-NH-a.10 - Forward Application Materials

The Site Evaluation Committee must forward a copy of the Application materials to state agencies having permitting or other regulatory authority and to other state agencies as identified pursuant to N.H. Admin. Code 301.10(a), (b). RSA §162-H:7(IV).

8-NH-a.11 to 8-NH-a.12 - Review Application Materials for Completeness

Upon receipt of the copy of the Application materials, each agency must conduct a preliminary review to ascertain whether the Application contains sufficient information for its purposes. Each state agency or regulatory authority has 45 days to notify the Site Evaluation Committee, in writing, whether the Application contains sufficient information for its purposes. RSA §162-H:7(IV); N.H. Admin. Code 301.10(a), (d).

8-NH-a.13 to 8-NH-a.15 - Review the Application Materials for Completeness

The Site Evaluation Committee must review the Application and supporting materials for administrative and technical completeness within 60 days of the filing. The Site Evaluation Committee may reject an incomplete Application. The Site Evaluation must send the developer notice indicating whether the Application is complete or incomplete. If the Application is incomplete, the notice must identify the defects with the Application. RSA §162-H:7(VI); N.H. Admin. Code 301.10(e)-(f).

If the Site Evaluation Committee determines that the Application is incomplete, the developer may choose to file a new and more complete Application or cure the defects in the rejected Application within ten (10) days of receipt of notification of the rejection. RSA §162-H:7(VI) ; N.H. Admin. Code 301.10(h).

8-NH-a.16 to 8-NH-a.19 - Provide Notice of Public Information Session(s)

The developer must publish public notice of the public information session not less than 14 days before each session in one or more newspapers having regular circulation in the county in which the session is to be held. N.H. Admin. Code 201.02(b). The notice must describe the nature and location of the proposed facility. In addition, the developer must mail a copy of this notice to each of the affected communities by first class mail. N.H. Admin. Code 201.02(b); RSA §162-H:10(I-a).

Within 45 days of the Siting Evaluation Committee accepting the Application as complete, the developer must hold at least one (1) public information session in each county in which the proposed facility is to be located. At the public information session, the developer must provide information regarding the proposed facility described in the Application and provide an opportunity for comments and questions from the public. The developer must address any comments and questions submitted. N.H. Admin. Code 201.02(a); RSA §162-H:10(I-a)

The administrator of the Site Evaluation Committee acts as the presiding officer of the public information session and must explain to the attendees at each session the review process for the Application. N.H. Admin. Code 201.02(d).

The developer must also provide a copy the public notice to the presiding officer of the Site Evaluation Committee at least ten (10) days before each session. N.H. Admin. Code 201.02(c); RSA §162-H:10(I-a)

8-NH-a.20 to 8-NH-a.23 - Publish Notice of Public Hearing(s)

The Site Evaluation Committee must publish notice not less than 14 days before each public hearing in one or more newspapers having a regular circulation in the county in which the hearing is to be held. The public notice must describe the nature and location of the proposed facility. The Site Evaluation Committee must mail a copy of this notice to each affected communities by first class mail. N.H. Admin. Code 201.03(d); RSA §162-H:10(I-c).

Within 90 days after acceptance of a complete Application, the Site Evaluation Committee must hold at least one public hearing in each county in which the proposed facility is to be located. N.H. Admin. Code 201.03(a); RSA §162-H:10(I-c).

The Site Evaluation Committee must hold the public hearing as a joint hearing with representatives from any agencies that have permitting or regulatory authority over the proposed project. The public hearing or public hearings satisfy all initial requirements for public hearings under the statutes requiring permits relative to environmental impact applicable to the proposed facility. N.H. Admin. Code 201.03(b); RSA §162-H:10(I-c).

The Site Evaluation Committee must provide members of the public having an interest in the proposed project with an opportunity to state their positions on the proposed project. N.H. Admin. Code 201.03(e); RSA §162-H:10(I-c).

The Site Evaluation Committee must prepare a transcript of each public hearing and post the transcript on the Site Evaluation Committee's website. N.H. Admin. Code 201.03(g). The Site Evaluation Committee must also post on its website all written documents submitted in connection with any public hearing, including those submitted by members of the public. N.H. Admin. Code 201.03(h).

8-NH-a.24 to 8-NH-a.27 - Publish Notice of Adjudicative Hearing (If Applicable)

The Site Evaluation Committee must publish notice of an adjudicative hearing in accordance with RSA §541-A:31. N.H. Admin. Code 202.09. The Site Evaluation Committee may hold a prehearing conference in accordance with RSA §541-A:31 (III). N.H. Admin. Code 202.10.

The Site Evaluation Committee must hold an adjudicative hearing on the Application for Certificate. N.H. Admin. Code 202.01. The Site Evaluation Committee must conduct the adjudicative hearing in accordance with N.H. Admin. Code 202 et seq. and New Hampshire - N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 541-A et seq., Administrative Procedure Act.

The Site Evaluation Committee must provide members of the public who do not have intervenor status but have an interest in the subject matter an opportunity at a hearing or prehearing conference an opportunity to state their positions. N.H. Admin. Code Site 202.25(a)

8-NH-a.28 to 8-NH-a.30 - Review Application Material for Approval

Each state agency having permitting or other regulatory over the proposed energy facility must assess relevant parts of the Application for approval. These state agencies must report review progress to the Site Evaluation Committee within 150 days after Application acceptance. The notice to the Site Evaluation Committee must outline draft permit conditions and specify additional data requirements necessary to make a final decisions on the parts of the Application that relate to the state agencies permitting or other regulatory authority. N.H. Admin. Code 301.12(a); RSA §162-H:7(VI-b).

These state agencies must submit to the Site Evaluation Committee a final decision on the parts of the Application that relate to its permitting and other regulatory authority no later than 240 days after a complete Application is accepted by the Site Evaluation Committee. N.H. Admin. Code 301.12(b); RSA §162-H:7(VI-c).

8-NH-a.31 to 8-NH-a.33 - Review Application Material for Approval

The Site Evaluation Committee or designee reviews Application materials, state agency decisions, and relevant evidence to make a determination on the Application. The Site Evaluation Committee must also consider and weigh presented evidence at public hearings, written information, and reports submitted to it by members of the public when making an approval determination. The Site Evaluation Committee must issue or deny a Certificate for an energy facility within 365 days after Application acceptance. N.H. Admin. Code 301.12(c); RSA §162-H:7(VI-d).

The Site Evaluation Committee must conduct reasonable studies and investigations as they deem necessary to make a decision on the Application. RSA §162-H:7(V).

The Site Evaluation Committee must make, at minimum, the following findings for a approval determination:

  • A finding on the proposed project's financial, technical, and managerial capability;
  • A finding on the proposed project's unreasonable adverse effects on aesthetics;
  • A finding on the proposed project's unreasonable adverse effects on historic sites;
  • A finding on the proposed project's unreasonable adverse effects on air quality;
  • A finding on the proposed project's unreasonable adverse effects on water quality;
  • A finding on the proposed project's unreasonable adverse effects on the natural environment;
  • A finding on the proposed project's unreasonable adverse effects an on public health and safety;
  • A finding on whether the proposed project unduly interferes with the orderly development of the region; and
  • A finding on the whether the proposed project will serve the public interest.

N.H. Admin. Code 301.13-16. RSA §162-H:16(IV).

The Site Evaluation Committee must make finding determinations utilizing the criteria found in N.H. Admin. Code 301.13-16.

In determining whether to grant a Certificate, the Site Evaluation Committee considers whether the following conditions should be included in a Certificate to meet the objectives of New Hampshire - N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 162-H et seq., Energy Facility Evaluation, Siting, Construction, and Operation Act:

  • A requirement that the Certificate holder promptly notify the Site Evaluation Committee of any proposed or actual change in the ownership or ownership structure of the holder or its affiliated entities and request approval of the Site Evaluation Committee of such change;
  • A requirement that the Certificate holder promptly notify the Site Evaluation Committee of any proposed or actual material change in the location, configuration, design, specifications, construction, operation, or equipment components of the energy facility subject to the Certificate and request approval of the Site Evaluation Committee of such change;
  • A requirement that the Certificate holder continue consultations with the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources and, if applicable, the federal lead agency, and comply with any agreement or memorandum of understanding entered into with the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources and, if applicable, the federal lead agency;
  • Delegation to the administrator or another state agency or official of the authority to monitor the construction or operation of the energy facility subject to the Certificate and to ensure that related terms and conditions of the Certificate are met;
  • Delegation to the administrator or another state agency or official of the authority to specify the use of any technique, methodology, practice, or procedure approved by the Site Evaluation Committee within the Certificate and with respect to any permit, license, or approval issued by a state agency having permitting or other regulatory authority;
  • Delegation to the administrator or another state agency or official of the authority to specify minor changes in route alignment to the extent that such changes are authorized by the certificate for those portions of a proposed electric transmission line or energy transmission pipeline for which information was unavailable due to conditions which could not have been reasonably anticipated prior to the issuance of the Certificate;
  • A requirement that the energy facility be sited subject to setbacks or operate with designated safety zones in order to avoid, mitigate, or minimize potential adverse effects on public health and safety;
  • Other conditions necessary to ensure construction and operation of the energy facility subject to the Certificate in conformance with the specifications of the Application; and
  • Any other conditions necessary to serve the objectives of Energy Facility Evaluation, Siting, Construction, and Operation Act or to support findings made pursuant to RSA §162-H:16.

N.H. Admin. Code 301.17.

The Site Evaluation Committee must issue an Order pursuant to RSA §541-A:35 approving or denying the Application for a Certificate. N.H. Admin. Code 202.28(a).

8-NH-a.34 - Certificate of Site and Facility

The developer must comply with all Certificate conditions. N.H. Admin. Code 301.17.

8-NH-a.35 - Request Rehearing (Optional)

Any interested person may request a rehearing of an Order or decision by the Site Evaluation Committee within 30 days of the date of the Order or decision, pursuant to RSA 541, before appealing the Order or decision. N.H. Admin. Code 202.29(a)-(c). A motion for rehearing must:

  • Identify each error of fact, error of reasoning, or error of law, which the moving party wishes to have reconsidered;
  • Describe how each error causes the Site Evaluation Committee's Order or decision to be unlawful, unjust, or unreasonable;
  • State concisely the factual findings, reasoning or legal conclusion proposed by the moving party; and
  • Include any argument or memorandum of law the moving party wishes to file.

N.H. Admin. Code 202.29(d).

The Site Evaluation Committee may grant or deny a motion for rehearing, or suspend the Order or decision pending further consideration, within ten (10) days of the filing of the motion for rehearing. N.H. Admin. Code 202.29(e).


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