Home Energy services Hydro-Québec sees fewer obstacles to New York exports than the Maine project

Hydro-Québec sees fewer obstacles to New York exports than the Maine project


“But it’s our job to be proactive. We don’t take anything for granted,” says the chief operating officer of Hydro-Québec Energy Services.

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Hydro-Québec’s plan to deliver electricity in New York State should not encounter the same obstacles as an interconnection line in Maine, according to Serge Abergel, chief operating officer of its subsidiary. American Hydro-Quebec Energy Services.

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One reason is that New York state doesn’t have a referendum process that could stall the project, like Maine did last year, Abergel said in an interview in Montreal, where he made a presentation Tuesday at the Conference of Montreal. He noted that the New York project has all necessary permits for construction and is expected to be in service in 2025.

But Abergel is not yet claiming victory. “I have concerns for all the projects,” he said. “I want to be clear: it’s not because there is a particular threat, but it’s up to us to be proactive. We take nothing for granted. »

The project, which is expected to generate $20 billion in revenue over 25 years and provide the equivalent of one million homes with electricity, has strong support from communities suffering from the effects of fossil fuel-related air pollution that New York State wants to replace with clean energy. energy sources, Abergel said.

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For example, thermal power plants around New York create pollution, especially in Queens and Manhattan, with some areas dubbed “Asthma Alley.”

“It’s the place in the United States with the highest rate of asthma due to local air pollution,” Abergel said in his presentation. “People have stepped up and said they’ve had enough of this environmental discrimination.”

The fate of the Maine project is still uncertain. The 336 kilometer project that would cross Quebec and Maine to provide electricity to Massachusetts was rejected by 59% of Maine citizens who voted in a referendum in November. Maine’s Supreme Court is expected to rule on a constitutional challenge to the referendum. In the meantime, work is suspended.

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The court is also set to rule on another permit challenge for a 1.6-mile segment of the line, after a Maine Superior Court judge ruled the permits invalid.

Hydro-Quebec expects decisions by the end of July on both, and Abergel hopes to win both.

“We will let the court make its decision, but we are convinced that a project which obtained its permits with a four-year process deserves to move forward.

Hydro-Quebec’s partner in Maine, New England Clean Energy Connect, has already spent nearly US$450 million, or about 43% of projected costs, according to court filings. If the project is abandoned, Hydro-Québec estimates that it will have to write off $536 million from its net income.

The Massachusetts contract would bring in $10 billion in revenue over 20 years to Hydro-Quebec and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by three million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 700,000 cars off the road.

No backup plan has been identified to bring electricity to Massachusetts.

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