In Trip To Quebec, Shumlin Focuses On Hydro Power

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(Host) Governor Peter Shumlin would like Vermont to buy more power from Hydro-Quebec to replace the electricity that will be lost if the Vermont Yankee plant shuts down next year.

As VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports, power from Hydro-Quebec was one of the top items on Shumlin’s agenda during a two-day trip to Canada.

(Kinzel) Currently, Vermont receives 310 megawatts of power from Hydro Quebec – this represents about a third of the state’s overall electrical needs.

This contract is being phased out, and under the terms of a new long term contract, Vermont will receive 225 megawatts beginning next year for the next 26 years.

This week, Governor Peter Shumlin is meeting with political and business leaders in Quebec.

Shumlin wants Vermont Yankee to shut down when its license expires next year and he says more power from Hydro Quebec could be a good way to replace the Vermont Yankee power. 

(Shumlin) "They’re obviously very interested in continuing the long and very fruitful relationship that we’ve had over the years and we had a great meeting and I’m looking forward to talking to them about future power needs."

(Kinzel) Shumlin says power from Hydro Quebec is a perfect fit for Vermont.

(Shumlin) "It’s renewable power as you know, it has absolutely no greenhouse gas emissions, it helps to do two things for Vermont: first is, it’s cheap reliable power if we can negotiate a good contract; and second is it reduces our contribution to climate change which is an imperative for all of us. So it’s a win-win for Quebec and a win-win for Vermonters if we can get the right price."

(Kinzel) Steve Costello is a spokesperson for Central Vermont Public Service – the state’s largest utility.  He says more power from Hydro Quebec is an option worth pursuing.

(Costello) "It’s certainly a possibility – it’s something that’s among a host of things that we are looking at. They could come to fruition and it’s not to say we’re committed to that at this point in time because we do have a lot of other options out there." 

(Kinzel) Costello says power from Hydro Quebec achieves two important goals for CVPS; consumers like emission free energy and businesses like reliable, baseload power sources.

(Costello) "As a renewable, Hydro Quebec power is very appealing because it is system power and it’s from a whole host of different projects – most of them hydro electric."

(Kinzel) Costello says CVPS is planning for a future that doesn’t include Vermont Yankee and he says the regional marketplace has a number of affordable options available at this time.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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