The alignment of as many as three proposed new transmission lines, ample existing and potential Canadian hydro and wind capacity, and renewed interest from consumers in Massachusetts, could bring a spark to clean electricity exports to New England.
Proposals to bring Canadian renewable energy to southern New England via new transmission in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine have languished until now, the Associated Press reports. But a call for new renewable supplies to Massachusetts, it says, “gives a huge boost to those efforts.”
Last summer, the state’s Republican governor Charlie Baker signed a law requiring the state to solicit offers to supply “at least 1,600 megawatts of wind energy, and 1,200 MW of [other] renewable energy, including hydropower, onshore wind, and solar power.” On March 31, five state utilities and the state department of energy resources issued tenders for the second delivery.
“A number of Canadian utilities have hydroelectric, wind, and solar projects that can produce electricity they would like to sell to the southern New England states and New York,” AP observes. “The challenge has been to get that power from Canada to those areas.”
Now, however, several proposed projects would make the connection. TDI New England already holds permits to run a 248-kilometre, $1.2-billion power line from the Canadian border to the New England power grid via Lake Champlain. The Northern Pass project envisions 309-kilometre line across New Hampshire.
And, as the National Observer reports, Halifax-based Emera Inc. is proposing a $2-billion, 563-kilometre interconnection between New Brunswick and Massachusetts that would connect to Newfoundland and Labrador’s Muskrat Falls hydro project. In January, Emera issued a call for 900 megawatts of hydro or wind capacity that it hopes to resell to the U.S.
Hydro-Québec, “which already sends over 40% of its exports per year to New England,” is also “looking to expand power sales to the U.S. Northeast,” the Observer adds. “Our hydro power fits well with the requirements of the [request] and offers a low-carbon, reliable source of energy that is stably priced over the long term and able to complement intermittent sources of energy such as wind and solar,” a Hydro spokesperson said.