Will Northern Pass Create Jobs? It Depends On Which Study You Believe

Stefan Kraft / Flickr

How many jobs could 180 miles of power lines create in NH?

One of the main questions that lingers over Northern Pass is: Will it create jobs, especially in the struggling North Country?

And, befitting the layers of controversy surrounding the project, the simplest answer won out.

It depends on who you ask.

Today, the New England Power Generators Association released a report it commissioned from PolEcon Research.  The Association is one of the major opponents of the Northern Pass project.  Unsurprisingly, the report found the jobs created by the project will be much less than the utility group claims.  According to a Power Point presentation accompanying the release, PolEcon found:

“•Job impacts one-half the magnitude estimated in other studies.
•A few, large, nationwide electrical contractors dominate the work on transmission projects in New England.
•Spending by out-of-state workers produces a large portion of job impacts.
•Northern NH will capture fewer jobs per mile of transmission line construction than Central and Southern NH counties.
•Job impacts of the proposed project will add about 1/10th of one percent (.001) to NH’s employment growth rate during peak construction activity.”

In other words, for New Hampshire workers, it’s a drop in the bucket.

Meanwhile, Northern Pass is standing behind the study it commissioned from Dr. Lisa Shapiro, the Chief Economist of Gallagher, Callahan, and Gartrell.  In the report update released last April, Shapiro writes:

“The downward pressure on wholesale energy rates will have the effect of creating jobs in new Hampshire.  It is estimated that on average 200 more jobs per year will be created in New Hampshire over the 10 year period.  These average 200 jobs per year will be created after the project becomes operational and are therefore in addition to the significant jobs created during the development and construction of the project…

“This Update finds that an average of approximately 1,100 to 1,500 jobs will be crated annually in New Hampshire over the three-year construction phase of the project, similar to the results of the preliminary study…”

Unsurprisingly, both groups are standing behind their study methodologies.

So we’ve decided the best thing to do (for starters, at least), is to allow you to look at–and compare–both reports in the same post.  (We decided to go with the update of the Northern Pass report as opposed to the original paper to allow a fair comparison of the most recent figures.)

Northern Pass Job Impact Study


New England Power Generators Job Impact Study




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