Report touts positive impacts of importing Canadian hydro

A recent study sponsored by the Massachusetts Clean Electricity Partnership says that importing a significant amount of clean hydroelectric power from Canada “will result in substantial annual savings to Massachusetts and New England energy consumers,” while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The report issued April 25 by Power Advisory contends that importing  18.9 TWh per year of clean energy from Canada will:

  • Reduce wholesale electricity costs (including both energy and capacity costs) across New England by about 6% and in Massachusetts by about 8%;
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by electricity generation in this region by an average of 7.2 million metric tons per year;
  • Reduce natural gas requirements across the region by about 10%. A substantial portion of currently proposed gas pipeline expansions were assumed to take place; and
  • Result in a 5% reduction in wholesale natural gas prices that will benefit retail gas customers.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has endorsed a much-debated plan that would include importing a significant amount of hydroelectric power into Massachusetts from Canada.

The proposal has been criticized by New England Power Generators Association (NEPGA) and its President Dan Dolan.

NEPGA issued a news release calling the April 25 study “fatally-flawed.” It dramatically underestimates the cost of outsourcing a third of Massachusetts’ electricity market in the form of subsidized contracts to provincially-owned utilities, such as Hydro-Quebec,” NEPGA said in a news release.

NEPGA claims the hydro power imports will undermine electricity markets. NEPGA continues to stand by the analysis conducted by Dr. Sue Tierney, PhD., showing that the proposed out-of-market contracts could increase costs for consumers in Massachusetts by $777m per year and hurt existing plants, including nuclear units.

Power Advisory was engaged by the Massachusetts Clean Electricity Partnership to conduct a study of the benefits of Clean Electricity Imports (CEI) to Massachusetts and New England consumers.

Specifically, Power Advisory performed computer simulations of the New England wholesale electricity and natural gas markets over a 25 year period with and without the importation of a combination of Canadian hydropower and on-shore wind generation.

Scenarios considered reflect the potential for legislation to be enacted in Massachusetts that would authorize electric distribution companies to contract for the delivery of 18.9 TWh per year of such power with the goal of lowering and stabilizing electricity prices and reducing greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions.

On its website, Power Advisory LLC describes itself as a leading North American management consulting firm that specializes in electricity sector matters and solutions.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.