The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is reportedly negotiating an energy project with Hydro Quebec and other Canadian entities that could allow the state-owned power organization to import up to 2,000 MW of power from multiple sources, including hydropower, from Canada.

NYPA President and CEO Richard Kessel told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican Editorial Board recently that the energy project could be the “biggest … in the state since the St. Lawrence/Robert Moses power project 50 year ago.” Kessel said NYPA was seriously considering importing cheap power from Canada, because it could lower electric bills throughout the state.

But, as he stressed to the Watertown Times Daily, discussions are still preliminary. "Obviously, we’re not anywhere near ready to announce anything," he reportedly said. "Our goal, if this is feasible, is to begin the permitting process within the first six months of next year."
The plan entails importing up to 2,000 MW of hydropower from Canada as well as renewable power produced in Canada and New York.

If the deal goes through, the power would be transmitted throughout the state, likely beginning in Massena. The project, estimated to cost between $4 billion and $6 billion, could take up to five or six years to complete. The lofty price reflects upgrades to New York’s aging transmission network, NYPA told the newspapers.

According to the Watertown Times Daily, NYPA officials have tried to tap into Canada’s hydropower since the late 1970s, but negotiations failed mainly because of environmental and tribal concerns—as well as confusion over international permitting procedures.

NYPA’s reported proposition follows the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s ) approval in May of a funding arrangement for the construction of a 1,200-MW high-voltage transmission line that will cross over the U.S.-Canadian border and connect to ISO-New England’s backbone 345-kV transmission system.

FERC had then said that the expansion would make significant amounts of surplus hydropower available for export to the United States. “This project provides the opportunity for consumers in a region of the country that has tight constraints on electricity supplies to get access to clean, low-cost energy,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said.

Sources: Plattsburgh Press Republican, Watertown Times Daily, NYPA, FERC