Loss of Property Value in Eversource Transmission Investment
- Feb 2, 2021 9:05 pm GMT
This is going to be a brief comment on a particular transmission investment, proposed by the New England electric utility, Eversource. The particular investment, a transmission line proposed between the locales of Acushnet and Fall River, both in Massachusetts. The specifics of the proposed transmission line are detailed at
The course of the transmission line is proposed to be straight, which would minimize construction costs, all else equal.
The problem is that all else is definitely not equal in this situation. The transmission line, as proposed, passes through what appears to be an extremely scenic and secluded area, by the Copicut Reservoir and Camp Interlocken, in Fall River. This area contains forests, and the Reservoir is open to shore fishing. See
This is another case, as with Northern Pass, where the engineering desire to minimize costs is ignoring feelings, and the resulting willingness of people to spend time, money and energy to preserve natural beauty, and inherently, property values. Even ignoring any degradation in quality or expense of drinking water for Fall River as a result of the project, the project is interfering with what in essence is tourism, and with the ability of Fall River citizens to escape the trauma of the pandemic, both of which have value.
Eversource would be extremely well-advised to re-route the project, possibly near Cedar Swamp Road in Freetown, Massachusetts, to minimize infringement in the preserved areas. It's a general problem. People have moved to areas with natural beauty to escape intrusion, and the people who are able to do so are people of means, who stand to lose if their property values are threatened. This is obvious to the economist. Eversource can learn this the hard way by having the public hearings it claims it will pursue, and arousing the wrath of environmental and citizen groups, and possibly having to cancel the whole project, since the people in the immediate area pay the whole amenities cost and get only a tiny fraction of the possible environmental benefits that may be associated with increased use of renewable energy made possible by the new transmission. Or Eversource, and other companies in the electricity industry, can start thinking in these terms before they lose the money and time.