Thursday, February 21, 2019

Hydro-Québec Dominates Mass. Clean Energy Bids

By Michael Kuser

Hydro-Québec and several partners on Thursday submitted six separate proposals to meet Massachusetts’ call for 9.45 TWh a year of renewable generation, with one proposal alone meeting nearly the entire energy requirement.

The solicitation is a collaborative effort by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the state’s distribution utilities: Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil. Projects will be selected next January, with contracts to be submitted in late April.

Hydro-Québec partnered separately with Eversource, Avangrid and TDI New England on three different transmission projects, and has agreements with Boralex and Gaz Métro to add wind power into the energy mix on each project at the state’s request.

Massachusetts last year enacted a law that requires the state to contract for 1,200 MW of renewable energy, including hydro, onshore wind and solar. A separate clause in the Act to Promote Energy Diversity mandates solicitations for at least 1,600 MW of offshore wind by Dec. 20, with projects to be selected next April and contracts to be submitted at the end of July 2018. (See Massachusetts Bill Boosts Offshore Wind, Canadian Hydro and Offshore Wind Developers Ponder Tx Options.)

Deep Competition

Nova Scotia-based Emera proposed the Atlantic Link project, a 375-mile submarine HVDC transmission line extending from New Brunswick to Plymouth, Mass., near the retiring Pilgrim nuclear plant and close to the Boston load center. The project would become operational in December 2022 and deliver 5.69 TWh of clean energy per year to Massachusetts at a fixed price for 20 years. Energy prices were not disclosed for any of the projects.

| Emera Energy

National Grid partnered with Citizens Energy on two proposed projects. The Granite State Power Link, a 59-mile, 345-kV, HVDC transmission line from northern Vermont to New Hampshire, would deliver 1,200 MW of new wind power from Canada. The companies’ Northeast Renewable Link is a 23-mile AC line from Nassau, N.Y., to Hinsdale, Mass., designed to deliver 600 MW of new wind, solar and small hydro into the New England grid.

Granite State Power Link route map | Granite State Power Link

Important Opportunity

Eversource has partnered with Hydro-Québec on Northern Pass, a 192-mile line that would carry 1,090 MW of hydropower to New England — up to 9.4 TWh per year for a period of 20 years starting in December 2020.

“We’re confident we can deliver up to 9.4 TWh annually … we feel ours is a very strong proposal,” Eversource spokesman Martin Murray told RTO Insider. “It delivers the clean energy that is being sought, and it will be able to do that about two years earlier than any other project that’s been proposed.”

Hydro-Québec spokeswoman Lynn St. Laurent said, “In terms of our export markets, there is this very important opportunity in Massachusetts, and it’s happening now. We’re talking about an approximately 1,000-MW transmission line providing a minimum of 8.3 TWh to Massachusetts. It can go higher than that but we’re leaving some room. In some cases, we know Massachusetts wants to potentially add some smaller projects into the supply.”

Avangrid submitted several proposals Thursday, some wholly owned by the company and others joint partnerships, but it did not release a list. Its subsidiary, Central Maine Power, is partnered with Hydro-Québec on the New England Clean Energy Connect, a 145-mile, 320-kV HVDC line that would carry 1,200 MW of hydro and wind energy from Canada to Maine.

Avangrid CEO James P. Torgerson told analysts last week that his company plans to bid multiple transmission and renewable solutions into the solicitation. “They’re looking for incremental hydro on a firm basis but also new Class I renewable portfolio standard, which would be wind and solar. A combination of both could include transmission projects under a FERC tariff,” he said.

Hydro-Québec has also linked up with TDI New England on the New England Clean Power Link, a 154-mile underwater and underground transmission line that would transmit 1,000 MW of Canadian hydropower under Lake Champlain to Vermont.

[Editor’s Note: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that Emera is a Maine-based company. The company does have a Maine-based affiliate.]