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Ontario, Quebec Consider Expanded Hydro Sales

Ontario and Quebec will assess the cost of increasing their trade in hydroelectricity under a memorandum of understanding signed at a joint cabinet meeting in Quebec City September 11.

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The two provinces will “explore opportunities to enhance clean electricity trade in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure system reliability and affordability,” the agreement states. “Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator and Hydro Quebec will work towards a medium-term electricity trade agreement that would provide savings to Ontario ratepayers and provide value to Quebec.”

For months, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance and Montreal-based Équiterre have been making the case that Ontario can import power from Quebec hydro plants for far less than it would cost to refurbish the aging Darlington nuclear station. The deal would still bring Quebec more revenue than it would receive by selling the same power to customers in the United States.

“Ontario already imports electricity from Quebec, but increasing the amount of power would likely require the construction of new—and expensive—transmission lines,” CP reports. “Government sources say Ontario won’t proceed with any new electricity agreements with Quebec unless it would be cheaper than generating the power itself.”