WINCHESTER - Two major electrical projects are coming to Winchester - or, rather, going through Winchester, to be more specific.
National Grid and Eversource (formerly NSTAR) have teamed up for two projects: one to connect a proposed new underground transmission line that will connect the Eversource Woburn Substation (located on Cross Street in Woburn) to National Grid’s Wakefield Junction Substation (located on Salem Street in Wakefield) and a second that will connect a proposed new underground transmission line from Everett to Woburn. There’s also a third project that involves an overhead line going through southern New Hampshire (Londonderry, Windham, Hudson, and Pelham) and northern Mass. (Dracut, Andover and Tewksbury).
The first project, connecting Woburn to Wakefield, involves a new underground 345-kV line. The second project, connecting Everett to Woburn involves a new underground 115-kV line. Both projects are transmission projects, which are the backbone of the electric system, carrying a bulk supply of electricity. These projects would serve as a backup incase the system ever crashed. They would not affect local power lines.
The first project, Woburn to Wakefield, passes through Winchester (1.6 miles) and Stoneham (1.8 miles) and includes improvements within the existing Woburn and Wakefield Junction Substation properties. The total cost will be approximately $107M with the transmission line costing $75M.
The second project, Everett to Woburn, passes through Boston, Somerville, Medford, and Winchester. The overall project cost will be approximately $70M and includes improvements within the existing Woburn and Everett Substation properties.
According to Community Relations Specialist Bill Zamparelli, these projects (including the one that impacts southern New Hampshire) will have a major economic impact on the area, as this region has the most concentrated and fastest-growing electrical demand in New England.
ISO-NE System Studies since 2008 have identified potential overloads on existing transmission lines. He said the projects will serve area reliability needs.
The preferred route of the first project carries it along Cross Street into Winchester, then up Washington Street into Woburn and Stoneham, then onto Elm Street in Stoneham and Broadway in Wakefield, before ending on Salem Street. A couple route variations would take the project along Montvale Avenue to Main Street in Stoneham instead of Washington Street. It could then go past the Wakefield High School on Farm Street.
The preferred route of the second project carries it along the Mystic River in Everett through Boston, Somerville, Medford, Winchester before finally ending in Woburn near Horn Pond. An alternate route could bypass Boston and Somerville before meeting up with the preferred route in Medford. It would then splinter in Winchester, going around the town center, past Winter Pond and finally arriving in Woburn.
Project Manager Bev Schultz said that a significant portion of the preferred route for the Woburn to Wakefield project runs along an inactive rail bed. 20 percent of that project’s linear mileage will be in Winchester. She said that Eversourse will pay appropriate personal property taxes on final infrastructure investment in Winchester.
Project Manager David Velez said that approximately 2.3 miles (of the preferred route) of the Everett to Woburn project will run through Winchester (approximately 30 percent of the linear mileage). Just like with the first project, Eversourse will pay appropriate personal property taxes on final infrastructure investment in Winchester.
Both managers mentioned coordinating closely with the town in planing and construction phases including working with Town Engineer Beth Rudolph.
In order to get the pubic up to speed, National Grid and Eversource will hold five open houses starting in Woburn on Monday, April 27 in the City Hall, followed by one in Stoneham on April 28, Winchester on April 29, Wakefield on April 30, and Somerville on Monday, May 4. Each will be approximately two hours long. Though primarily for abutters (who will receive notice), all are welcomed.
By the end of May, the two energy companies hope to file with the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Sitting Board and, if approved, start construction in early-to-mid 2017. The EFSB process includes both public and evidentiary hearings. The public and other interested stakeholders are given the opportunity to participate in the process through the EFSB-sponsored public hearings. The regulatory approval process also requires approval from federal, state and local permitting agencies, including environmental agencies.
Schultz said the entire project should last two years with six months spent in Winchester. Service would be ready by 2018.
More information can be found at the website www.MA-NHSolutions.com or by calling 1-844-646-8427.