Launched in 2009, the Northern Pass Transmission Project is meant to carry electricity from Quebec to the New England grid by way of New Hampshire. The project is in a political deadlock, however, because alternative methods have not been investigated and New Hampshire bears major economic, social and ecological costs while receiving few benefits from the proposed transmission line. Energy infrastructure projects have to find the right nexus between energy markets, environmental integrity and security of supply in order to become socially acceptable. The Northern Pass has yet to find an optimal balance between benefits for both New Hampshire and the New England Region, due to the project being developed independently of a regional planning process. In order to develop socially acceptable energy infrastructure projects in the future, the Conference of the New England Governors and Eastern Canada Premiers should take a larger planning role in energy infrastructure development. Developing future projects on a regional basis will not only enhance social acceptability, but will also allow for a better analysis and distribution of the costs and benefits in the region.

The CIGI Junior Fellows program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs provides masters level students with mentorship opportunities from senior scholars and policy makers. Working under the direction of a project leader, each junior fellow conducts research in one of CIGI’s program areas. This series presents those policy briefs that met CIGI’s publications standards.