For Immediate Release - June 17, 2013

PATRICK ADMINISTRATION COLLABORATES WITH OTHER NEW ENGLAND STATES ON REGIONAL INITIATIVE FOR LARGE HYDRO

The effort will help expand large hydro imports into New England, reduce greenhouse gas emissions

BOSTON – Monday, May 17, 2013 – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont, have launched a regional initiative to expand large hydro imports into New England. The collaboration is part of the Patrick Administration’s continued focus on expanding cleaner, cheaper power options for the Commonwealth.

“As we look to lower energy costs and increase grid reliability in Massachusetts, it makes sense to work with our regional partners to bring more of this clean energy resource to New England,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We will explore every option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save residents and businesses money.”

“Vermont has long worked to have a diverse mix of green, clean sources of electricity that can address climate change in a way that is affordable for ratepayers, and hydropower is an important part of furthering those goals,” said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. “The desire for clean, low-carbon sources of power, including hydro, is why I asked my fellow Governors to support a coordinated procurement effort before the end of the year.”

“Governor LePage has had the vision to develop a regional partnership to bring competitive hydroelectric power to Maine and New England since he took office, and this announcement is a critical step in moving forward with this objective” said Patrick Woodcock, Director of the Maine Governor’s Energy Office. “The State of Maine welcomes this leadership from the State of Massachusetts as well as our regional partners, looks forward to collaborating to bring additional hydroelectricity to New England, and ultimately developing a true regional renewable energy market.”

The New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) will evaluate the opportunities, options and issues relating to the expansion of large hydro into New England. Massachusetts and other states will consider those findings and, as warranted, incorporate them into a strategic plan to be presented to the New England Governors for their consideration later this year. The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) will play a lead agency role for this new large hydro initiative on behalf of the Commonwealth, and work closely with NESCOE to develop options for expanded large hydro imports.  

“Governor Patrick signed The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) into law in 2008, establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limits for any single state in the nation,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “Large hydro will play a critical role in advancing our clean energy revolution, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and complying with the GWSA. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our New England partner states to accomplish these objectives.”

This regional approach will seek to utilize economies of scale to unlock imports from the significant resources in neighboring Canadian provinces, including the Maritimes and Quebec. The partnering states recognize the benefits of clean hydro electricity, including reducing and stabilizing electricity prices, enhancing fuel diversity, increasing electric grid reliability, reducing environmental impact from the energy sector, and encouraging an energy future that utilizes resources from within the region and nearby borders.

Massachusetts considers projects greater than 30 MW to be large hydro. In Massachusetts, hydro power accounts for 13.2% in the winter, and 14.2% in the summer, of the total capacity in the state. As large hydro is a well-established renewable resource that does not require incentives, it cannot be used to comply with the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS). The Patrick Administration remains committed to expanding other renewable resources, like wind and solar. The Commonwealth has established a goal to install 2,000 MW of wind and 1,600 MW of solar by 2020.

This regional work will build upon NESCOE’s current work on a coordinated regional procurement for renewable energy. Governor Deval Patrick proposed a resolution at the New England Governor’s Conference last summer in Vermont that passed unanimously and directs NESCOE to develop a request for proposal (RFP) in 2013 for a significant amount of renewable energy. NESCOE has developed a draft RFP and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and plans on announcing an RFP release date soon.  

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STAKEHOLDER QUOTES:

“Hydro-Québec has been working with New England to meet its energy needs for decades. We welcome initiatives to recognize hydroelectricity – a renewable, reliable and low-carbon source of energy – as part of the solution to the energy and environmental challenges facing the region” said Thierry Vandal, President and Chief Executive Officer for Hydro-Québec.

"The clean energy industry applauds the leadership of the Patrick Administration and their counterparts in Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont," said Peter Rothstein, President of the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC).  "The New England electricity system is a single interconnected grid, which underscores the importance of having the states come together on a strategy and process for procurements of large hydro imports and other rapidly growing renewables, which will produce benefits for ratepayer bills, for the economy, for jobs and the growth of the clean energy industry.  Large Hydro is an important part of a successful all-of-the-above energy strategy for New England."

“We appreciate the Patrick Administration’s efforts to study how best to expand Canadian hydropower in New England,” said John Kassel, President of Conservation Law Foundation. “There is clearly a role for large hydro in our region’s energy transition, as long as it adds to, instead of competes with, needed growth in wind and solar power and comes in through transmission lines that are properly sited in cooperation with local communities.”

"Hydroelectric generation has great potential as a long-term, reliable, clean electricity supply that can contribute to New England's clean energy requirements," said Ed Martin, President and CEO of Nalcor Energy. "We fully support the work being undertaken in New England to study the incorporation of large-scale hydroelectric developments into the New England supply mix."

“The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) supports the Patrick Administration’s effort to explore bringing large hydro imports to Massachusetts,” said Dan O’Connell, MACP President and CEO. “Adding this clean resource the Commonwealth’s energy mix will benefit Massachusetts residents and businesses for generations to come.”

“We support efforts to diversify New England’s energy mix, which will increase reliability and affordability while also delivering clean energy to homes and businesses across the region,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind.  “Hydropower can complement other renewable resources such as wind and solar energy, and we believe it is certainly worth studying to determine how these clean energy resources can work together to benefit the region, ratepayers and the environment.”

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