Massachusetts utilities have wrapped up contract negotiations to buy large amounts of Canadian hydropower, which would be carried over a yet-to-be-built Maine transmission line.
Electric companies affiliated with Eversource, Unitil and National Grid last week agreed on terms to buy 9,450,000 megawatt-hours annually from Hydro-Quebec using Central Maine Power's New England Clean Energy Connect power line.
The wholesale power would be procured at a levelized price of 5.9 cents per kilowatt hour, touted as a "highly cost-effective source of clean energy generation for Massachusetts customers" that could cut retail bills by 2 to 4 percent and reduce the region's reliance on natural gas to produce electricity.
The power purchase agreements were submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, which in turn recommended approval to state utility regulators.
It's a final step in a process initiated in 2016 when Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation requiring utilities to buy clean power from new sources to fight climate change and diversify the state's energy portfolio.
The law launched two competitions -- one for offshore wind, and another for a potential mix of solar, wind, hydro, and storage. Hydro-Quebec ended up in the catbird seat, winning approval to provide all the energy in the latter procurement.
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