(Quebec) While a transmission line project to export electricity to New England has just secured a permit from Quebec, Hydro-Quebec has spent $ 1 million promoting its energy corridor in Maine as it finds itself at the center of a referendum in November.
According to documents recently submitted to the Maine Ethics Committee by the Hydro-Quebec Maine Partnership Committee, set up by the state corporation, the amounts were spent primarily on professional service fees, as well as employee and consultant bonuses.
Since last year, Hydro-Quebec, south of the border, has committed 8.4 million solar cans to promoting New England’s Clean Energy Delivery (NECEC). In November 2020, the Energy Corridor was to be subject to a popular consultation, but the opposition referendum process by the highest court in the US state was declared unconstitutional before the ballot took place.
In total, more than 10 million knares were pumped into this PAC.
“We are continuing our media campaign,” said Crown spokesperson Lyn Saint Laurent in a telephone interview. We can see that it has a positive effect. Nothing prevents us from undertaking this campaign. It is very transparent. ”
The first referendum attempt revolved around certification awarded to the project by the Maine Community Services Commission. This time, opponents want to force a popular consultation that would force high-voltage power lines – such as NECEC – to garner two-thirds of the state legislature’s support going forward.
Hydro-Quebec relies heavily on NECEC to deliver 9.45 TWh of hydroelectric power annually for 20 years to Massachusetts under a contract estimated to generate US $ 10 billion in revenue. South of the border, the road should cross Maine.
For its part, the committee on “clean energy issues” in which we find the US partner of the state-owned company spent 5.6 million dollars, while a committee supported by companies in the oil and gas sector pumped more than 2 million euros. .
It is possible that Hydro-Québec will lose the right to continue spending this way in Maine. Republican Senator Richard Bennett raised concerns about foreign interference when taking a vote in the state framework, as he recently introduced a bill that would prevent an entity based outside the United States from acting as Hydro-Québec it is currently doing.
On the US soil, the track is estimated at 233 kilometers and work has already begun. The presidential permit, the latest in a string of permits obtained, was granted in January. In Quebec, the Appalachian-Maine connection should extend more than 103 kilometers from the Appalachian sub-station to the border. Last December, the Bureau of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) released a positive review of the track.
“This government mandate is a major step in realizing the project and in positioning Quebec as the green battery for Northeast America,” Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Julian said in a press release.
The Appalaches-Maine Corridor is still awaiting approval from the Canadian Energy Agency, which is expected to make its decision before the end of spring. There must be more than 275 workers on site in Quebec, a number that should reach 400 during peak construction periods.
Along with opponents from Maine, five indigenous communities in Quebec and the Eno nation in Labrador are fighting over the Energy Corridor, who have asked the Régie de l’énergie to block the project. With an indigenous community in Maine, they also filed the same request with the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden.
They blame the state company for wanting to profit from its project without providing compensation for the use of their ancestral lands for decades to produce hydroelectric power.