By Maura Forrest
September 3, 2015
Hydro-Québec and Eversource Energy are moving forward with plans to transport hydroelectricity from Quebec to New England.
The Northern Pass Transmission project would deliver 1,000 megawatts of hydro power to the New England grid. The project is intended to help lower energy costs and reduce the region’s reliance on natural gas.
“We are confident that the Northern Pass project will be the leading solution for delivering significant reliability, environmental, and economic benefits to both New England and Eastern Canada,” said Eric Martel, CEO of Hydro-Québec, in a news release.
Eversource, a New England-based utility, will work with Hydro-Québec to build a 309-kilometre transmission linefrom hydroelectric plants in Canada to New Hampshire. The project will cost $1.4 billion, and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by up to 2.7 million tonnes per year. It’s also expected to generate $80 million in annual energy cost savings for New Hampshire consumers.
The announcement comes shortly after Eversource released its Forward New Hampshire plan, which responded to concerns from New Hampshire stakeholders about impacts of the new transmission line.
According to the new plan, 97 kilometres of the transmission line will be buried to reduce “view impacts.”
The line is anticipated to start delivering renewable electricity to New England by the spring of 2019, pending regulatory approval.
Quebec and Atlantic premiers recently met with New England governors to discuss the project in St. John’s, Nfld.
The province of Newfoundland and Labrador also hopes to sell hydroelectricity from the Muskrat Falls project in Labrador, currently under construction, to markets in the U.S.
But Premier Paul Davis doesn’t believe the Northern Pass project will hurt those prospects.
“While there is a level of competitiveness, there is more demand and growing demand for hydroelectricity than I believe that Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador is going to be able to supply,” Davis said, as reported by the CBC.
The project could also help New England states meet their targets under the Obama administration’s new Clean Power Plan, which requires states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 32 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.