François Legault pitches Quebec as 'battery of North America' in New York
Premier spends economic mission promoting hydroelectricity, commercial interests
Quebec Premier François Legault is in New York City this week, promoting the province's hydroelectricity as a green energy option for the bustling metropolis.
In April, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by importing "zero-emission Canadian hydroelectricity."
He called for negotiations to begin immediately on building a supply line that would connect a hydro station south of Montreal with the Big Apple.
Speaking outside The Jewish Museum in New York on Monday, where Legault was set to tour the Leonard Cohen exhibit, the premier said that it's still early on in the process and things aren't at the point of "negotiating a price."
In place of meeting with de Blasio, who is currently running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Legault met with the city's Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan.
Speaking to the Foreign Policy Association, Legault said that he's keen to push through a deal that will help New York City meet its goals.
"Quebec has already the built hydroelectric capacity to become the battery of North America — affordable, renewable and reliable energy supply," he said.
Legault isn't just eyeing the Big Apple either. He's setting his sights on the state as well.
"Today about 20 per cent of New York State's renewable energy comes from Quebec. We have, right now, the capacity to do more. Three times more."
During his visit, Legault also announced Quebec-based company AddEnergie has signed a deal with New York City to set up a public electric car charging network.
As part of his four-day economic mission, Legault will also be meeting with officials in Washington, D.C.
With files from Radio-Canada's Jean-Philippe Guilbault