The EFSB Filing

May 2, 2017

The Massachusetts Energy Facility Siting Board (Chaired by EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton) announced they have scheduled public hearings for Sudbury on May 25th and for Hudson on June 1st.

*PLEASE ATTEND: Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School Auditorium

Thursday, June 1, 2017
beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Hudson High School Auditorium
69 Brigham Street, Hudson

April 20, 2017

Protect Sudbury learned of Eversource’s imminent filing on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from Sudbury BOS Chair, Susan Iuliano who called PS Director Jim Gish, as well as from a call direct from Eversource to PS President, Ray Phillips.  This letter was also shared with us from our compatriots in Hudson. With this filing, we end the first phase of Protect Sudbury’s opposition to this project. What comes next? Here’s a look at the EFSB process.  The PS web site will stay updated as our volunteers get and upload the information. Check the web site frequently for updates!

April 21, 2017


Documents made public on the EFSB website. We are official- Docket EFSB17-02.
Filing documents are available to the public. To read the documents
1) Visit this website: http://170.63.40.34/DPU/Fileroom/dockets/bynumber
2) Enter the project name in the top left corner: EFSB17-02


Initial Observations on Eversource Petition. EFSB17-02

4/21/2017 Bill Schineller, Protect Sudbury

In order of cost, Eversource’s proposed options are:

  • Overhead MBTA RoW: $44.2M (‘Noticed Variation’)
  • Underground MBTA RoW: $91M (‘Project’ / ‘Preferred’ )
  • Under-streets: $110.4M (‘Noticed Alternative Route’)

Eversource has not removed the overhead option ($44.2M) and this route remains a real concern as it could still be chosen by the EFSB based on lowest cost.
Note: ISO-NE budgeted project based on Eversource’s low ($41M) bid.

The underground MBTA RoW option they are now featuring is estimated at $91M.
The width of the clearing is 30′ – 50′.
Eversource expects DCR to carry out vegetation management of ~20′ within the total 30′ clearing.
The petition does not specify use of herbicides by DCR on their portion.
Vague about how the rest of Eversource’s required 30′ will be kept clear of vegetation.

Eversource’s Under-street route option is estimated at $110.4M.
(Sudbury Substation (behind Buddy Dog),west along Boston Post Road/Route 20, north onto Green Hill Road, west to Old Lancaster Road. Old Lancaster Road to Hudson Road west, State Road in Stow to Main Street in Hudson to Forest Avenue in Hudson, southwest to Intel access road to Hudson Substation.)

Major concerns with the preferred Underground option are:

  • 115kV under access road / future recreational trail (2′ off to the side). Is that safe?
  • Large-scale tree removal. 30′ wide – is that a ‘canopy’? 50′ wide at every splice box (every quarter mile or so)
  • Leaving tree stumps everywhere
  • Massive trenching / soil disturbance
  • Will tear a major permanent gash through Sudbury, and alter the character of the town permanently. (Not a shaded path)
  • Vegetation management plan remains vague.
  • Bridgework based on ‘preliminary engineering review’
  • Eversource has not earned the benefit of the doubt

Challenge at Siting Board:
The Siting Board will evaluate options based on A) Reliability, B) Cost, and C) Environment.
A) Reliability need is highly questionable (conceived based on 2008 demand data, kept alive based on Eversource profit motive)
B) Cost estimates questionable – other solutions might be cheaper and less impactful. ISO-NE Award process didn’t vet estimates, Eversource produced the numbers in the proposal.
C) Permanent negative environmental impacts present along the MBTA RoW. Once construction begins, it’s a utility corridor forever. Contiguous conservation lands, Priority Heritage Landscapes permanently sacrificed.

References:
From Sudbury-Hudson_EFSB Analysis_VOLUME_I.pdf

Section 5.5
“Within the 30 feet of clearing, a 22-foot wide construction platform will be developed that consists of:

  • a 14-foot-wide access road
  • a 4-foot-wide duct bank (offset from the access road by 2 feet)
  • splice vaults (requiring additional workspace outlined below)
  • 4 feet of additional construction area to facilitate installation of the duct bank

At proposed splice vault locations, a temporary work pad approximately 40 to 50 feet wide
by 50 feet long will be necessary to support cranes and other specialized equipment that are
required during vault installations and cable pulling and splicing. All temporary work pads
for the splice vaults will be reduced to a uniform 22-foot-wide construction platform
following installation of the splice vaults and the pulling and splicing of the cable, and the
vegetation removed will be allowed to grow back to the final maintained ROW width of
30 feet.”

Page 5-14
“Splice vaults for the Project will be spaced approximately every 1,500 to 1,800 feet along the
MBTA ROW.”

“It is assumed that the duct bank can be installed above all existing culverts along the MBTA
ROW. In addition, there are three existing bridges over waterbodies along the MBTA ROW.
Based upon a preliminary engineering review, the Company plans to reuse the existing
bridge structures and rehabilitate them such that they can accommodate a utility crossing.
The bridge improvements will also incorporate the future multi-use path, in accordance with
DCR’s proposed design plans.”

Section 5.6
“The Company expects to come to an agreement with the DCR regarding responsibility
for vegetation management on the MBTA ROW and expects that the DCR will ultimately
carry out maintenance activities (e.g., mowing, trimming) associated with the maintained
area over the trench and on the shoulders of the multi-use trail.
The Company expects that vegetation management carried out by DCR will conform
with DCR Trail Guidelines and Best Practices Manual and with electric utility best
management practices.”

 

Deals being made

This letter came from DCR and details an agreement made between Eversource, DCR, and MBTA with regards to siting this project along the MBTA Right of Way.

We have asked MBTA for the Option Agreement itself via public records request and have been denied. The Option Agreement is among other records MBTA has denied us and why we are suing them. This is the closest we can find to specifics of their deal.

From the Sudbury BOS Press Release: “In conversations with the Town, Janelle Chan stated that if an overhead line was awarded at the Energy Facilities Siting Board, MassDot and Eversource would revisit the option to discuss a potential option for an overhead project.