Potential Hydro-Quebec deal won't impact province, Paul Davis says

Premier Paul Davis says a potential deal between Hydro-Quebec and a New England energy company won't hurt Newfoundland and Labrador's prospects of selling power generated by Muskrat Falls.
Premier Paul Davis says Muskrat Falls won't be impacted by the proposed partnership between Hyrdro-Quebec and New England as there's a growing demand for hydroelectricity. (CBC)

Premier Paul Davis says a potential deal between Hydro-Quebec and a New England energy company won't hurt Newfoundland and Labrador's prospects of selling power generated by Muskrat Falls.

"I believe that we have the ability to work together," Davis said Monday.

New England governors met with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and the Atlantic premiers in St. John's to discuss a newly proposed transmission line. 

"While there is a level of competitiveness, there is more demand and growing demand for hydroelectricity than I believe that Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador is going to be able to supply,"  Davis said. 

Hydro-Quebec President Eric Martel and Eversource Energy CEO Thomas May met with reporters in St. John's Monday to discuss the newly proposed transmission line. (CBC)
Eversource Energy CEO Thomas May said his New England energy company is proud to team up with Hydro-Quebec, who he calls "the greenest utility in the world," on a proposal that would bring hydroelectricity to New Hampshire. 

"We in New England have an energy crisis of bits, both with respect to prices — our markets have been very, very difficult in the winter — and we've had extreme price spikes in the last two winters," said Eversource Energy CEO Thomas May. 

Hydro-Quebec President Eric Martel says the $1.4 billion Northern Pass Transmission Project would pump 1,000 megawatts into the New England grid.

If approved by regulators, power is expected to flow in spring of 2019.

Top of the agenda is the need for more affordable, clean energy in New England where governors say high rates are eroding competitiveness.

May said his company expects to go forward with licensing the project in the next 12 to 15 months. 

It's a market Newfoundland and Labrador also hopes to tap with power from new projects, such as the Muskrat Falls hydro plant now under construction.

Possible partnership  

When asked whether future projects like the Lower Churchill would be able to access the proposed transmission line through the open tariff system, Martel said "everything is possible." 
Hydro-Quebec President Eric Martel said the utility is open to potential partnerships on projects like Gull Island. (Radio-Canada)

Martel said the utility is also open to future partnerships on projects like Gull Island. 

"I think we're all working together to find long-term solutions for the northeast part of Canada and also the United States,"

The challenge, Martel said, will be to reduce emissions while also paying a competitive price for power. 

With files from Peter Cowan and the Canadian Press.

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