Shumlin: Mass. “crazy” not to pursue hydropower from Canada

Photo: Thinkstock

BOSTON, JUNE 8, 2016…..As the House prepared to take up a bill Wednesday for procurement of 1,200 megawatts of hydroelectricity, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said Tuesday the Green Mountain State would be a willing partner.

The House bill aims for a total of 2,400 megawatts of electricity through hydropower and wind. The hydropower would presumably come from Canada, a major producer, traveling through one of the northern New England states.

“I think Massachusetts is really smart to be buying green clean renewable energy from Hydro-Quebec. Vermont’s been doing it for 30 years. I’m always puzzled that we’re the only state that’s doing it,” Shumlin told reporters in Boston on Tuesday. “And I can tell you it’s been cheap. It’s been green. It’s been clean. And we as a result have one of the lowest emissions in the country, so Massachusetts is crazy not to be turning to good green clean hydropower.”

Hydro-Quebec supplies 10 percent of the electricity for New England and the company is working with Northern Pass, according to its 2015 annual report. Northern Pass is a 192-mile electrical transmission line from Canada to Franklin, N.H.

With 99 percent of its generation from renewables, Hydro-Quebec reports a generating capacity of 36,912 megawatts from 87 generating stations.

Massachusetts does not have a contract for importing hydropower from Canada, however about 17 percent of New England’s energy came from outside the region and some of that is Canadian hydro, according to the Department of Energy Resources.

ISO New England is the grid operator for the region and the Department of Energy Resources does not track whether imported power flows into Massachusetts or where it is generated.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate who appeared on an opioid panel with all the New England governors on Tuesday, walked away from reporters during a question about importation of hydroelectricity. Maine Gov. Paul LePage told the News Service he does not talk to news reporters.

The New England Clean Power Link, another transmission line proposal to carry hydropower, would run from Canada to Ludlow, Vt.

Asked whether Vermonters would be willing to provide a conduit for the Bay State’s electrical needs, Shumlin said, “Climate change is the biggest challenge we all face. Vermont wants to do its part in helping Massachusetts reduce its carbon footprint.”

Copyright 2016 State House News Service

Comments are closed.