Canadian hydro power transmission projects get second wind

Two transmission projects proposed to deliver carbon-free power from Hydro Quebec to New England are receiving renewed interest from the region’s energy decision-makers.

Two Canadian high-capacity, carbon-free hydro power transmission projects appear to have gained their second wind among New England energy transmission and generation decision-makers.

Canada generates an almost limitless amount of hydropower. However, the bottleneck is a shortage of high-voltage transmission lines. Two Canada-New England transmission projects that appeared dead, or at least stalled, in the lengthy regulatory process have received good news in recent weeks.

A $1 billion hydroelectric transmission project through northern New England woods once defeated by voters in a referendum could resume after winning a court case earlier this week, the Journal-Opinion reports today.

Central Maine Power and its partners can get back to work on the 145-mile project stretching from the Quebec border to Lewiston with 50 miles passing through the Maine woods.

The jury found developers had a vested rights claim despite the results of a 2021 statewide vote that halted the project.

Also, in February the New England Governors Association announced renewed interest in the TDI Clean Power Link, a proposed cable running underneath Lake Champlain that would deliver 1000 megawatts of carbon-free generated Canadian hydro power to southern New England.

1000 megawatts is about 50% more than the total output of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, another carbon-free generator serving New England that closed almost a decade ago after the Vermont Senate refused to supports its license renewal.

According to the NECPL website, the link offers two-way transmission. Not only can power be transmitted from Canada, but excess offshore wind power can be “stored” in Canada for later consumption in New England:

“The NECPL project is a fully buried 1000MW HVDC transmission line that will connect Eastern Canada and New England as part of the region’s transition to renewable energy. The project can move energy between Eastern Canada and New England in both directions.

“Once the New England offshore wind industry grows to its full potential over the next decade, it will carry the expected excess wind energy generated in New England to be “stored” in Eastern Canada reservoirs. The energy will be returned months later during periods when renewable supply cannot meet demand in New England. The bidirectional capability between the markets has been studied and determined to be the lowest cost solution to economically build out the clean New England grid of the future.

Both Canadian transmission projects face opposition from the domestic wind/solar power industry. – Guy Page

Categories: Energy

4 replies »

  1. Let’s get on with it! It’s the most feasible way to obtain the electricity needed for the future. We must think beyond Vermont’s borders when developing a viable grid.

  2. I remember when the “green” environmentalist were trying to cancel our contract with Hydro-Québec when the ice storm broke their towers and they couldn’t deliver power. It’s a good thing they weren’t successful then! They really aren’t interested in a green, legal, environmentally sound, reliable power source. They’re interested in the transfer of wealth using their power and money to legislate us into a precarious energy system.

  3. Today, there are only two good ways to produce the much needed electricity. The first is nuclear, the second is hydro. Nuclear because many plants will eliminate a lot of high tension wires for transmission, it will be more local.

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