What’s going on with the Hingham Electrical Infrastructure Reliability Project (HEIRP)?
August 2023 Update
Dear HMLP Customers:
Almost a decade ago, HMLP began looking at how to ensure the reliability, long-term sustainability and resiliency of our electric supply. At issue for HMLP is the route and manner by which we currently obtain electricity from the Massachusetts electric grid – via two overhead electric lines. A portion of these overhead supply lines parallel the MBTA railroad line, as you can see in the accompanying photo.
As currently configured, the parallel overhead transmission lines serving Hingham do not meet established reliability standards. Any number of contingencies – such as an extreme weather event or a train accident – could disrupt Hingham’s power supply for days, or even weeks. Because HMLP’s current system does not meet state and federal reliability standards for utilities, it became clear a few years ago that HMLP needed a third transmission line to ensure continuous and uninterrupted power. Moreover, a third transmission line will support the Town of Hingham’s Climate Action Plan as the Town and HMLP together proceed with electrification efforts necessary to meet climate change goals.
Early studies conducted by HMLP found that the new transmission line should be built underground and that a new substation in Hingham also would be required in order to ensure reliability and position HMLP to serve growing electrification needs over time.
Almost three years ago, HMLP began introducing its plans to the public and to people who might have homes and/or businesses along the preliminarily proposed routes. We named the project: the Hingham Electrical Infrastructure Reliability Project (HEIRP) and we created a separate website regarding the project.
After a series of preliminary meetings in Hingham in 2021, HMLP achieved a significant milestone in April 2022 when at Town Meeting, Hingham voters approved HMLP’s request to transfer custody and control of a portion of the Transfer Station property to HMLP for the new substation that the project requires.
Next, in a series of public Open Houses held in Hingham and Weymouth in the Summer and Fall of 2022, HMLP provided details on the proposed project, and presented two preliminary routes through Hingham and Weymouth that would begin at HMLP’s new substation site on the northeastern corner of the Town Transfer Station on Hobart Street in Hingham, extend along public ways through Hingham and Weymouth, and interconnect with an Eversource transmission line off of Broad Street in Weymouth. At these meetings, HMLP received valuable public feedback from residents and businesses on a whole host of issues of importance to the community, including traffic control, noise mitigation, construction schedules and construction methods, and HMLP’s plans for communicating with residents and businesses before and during construction.
For much of 2023, HMLP’s project team has been engaged in the detailed planning and design work required for filings with the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) – filings which must be approved by the EFSB for the project to move forward. The feedback received at the 2022 Open Houses was critical to the planning and design work needed for the project and importantly enabled HMLP to select its Preferred and Noticed Alternative Routes for the EFSB filings.
As shown in the accompanying map, HMLP’s Preferred Route is approximately 3.2 miles long. This route exits the proposed Hobart II Substation at the Hingham transfer station and runs west on Hobart Street, turns south on French Street, then turns west on High Street and continues west into Weymouth on High Street which becomes Broad at Commercial Street. Broad Street is followed for approximately 9,300 feet until ending at the Weymouth Tap Station Site at the Eversource Right-of-Way.The Noticed Alternative Route is 3.7 miles long. This route also exits the proposed Hobart II Substation in Hingham and runs west on Hobart Street, then turns south on French Street and turns west on High Street. The Noticed Alternative Route then continues west into Weymouth continuing on High Street which becomes Broad Street. This route then turns south down Water Street, turning north on Pleasant Street, and travels west on Lake Street, and northwest on Essex Street, which transitions to Spring Street. The route turns west onto Broad Street and continues west on Broad Street to the Weymouth Tap Station site on Eversource’s Right-of-Way.
HMLP is expecting to submit its regulatory filings to the EFSB in the fourth quarter of 2023. The filing of petitions with the EFSB will kick off a new public process in which the agency will hold public hearings – as yet not scheduled – to invite public comment and input from officials, residents and businesses in Hingham and Weymouth. These public hearings will be widely publicized with press releases and public notices at the time they are scheduled.
At HMLP, our mission is to provide reliable electric services to the Town of Hingham while keeping rates reasonable, service quality high, and operations environmentally sustainable, including a commitment to 100% carbon-free energy. The Hingham Electrical Infrastructure Reliability Project is a vital component of fulfilling our mission, and I hope you will continue to support HMLP and our team as we work to bring this Project online.
To stay up to date with HEIRP and learn more, visit https://heirp.com.