Hydro-Québec: What ‘A Deadly Shade of Green’ got wrong

The report was neither accurate nor balanced, a company spokesperson says.

Regardless of how readers may feel about the New England Clean Energy Connect project — the line that would transmit renewable, hydroelectricity from Quebec to the New England power grid — I think everyone can agree that accurate and balanced reporting is necessary in evaluating the opportunities the project represents.

I am writing in response to the series “A Deadly Shade of Green” carried by this news organization. This series, including an article by Matt Hongoltz-Hetling, crossed a significant line in distorting truths and spreading disinformation. The series is designed to instill fear about the NECEC project by telling the stories of individuals who have grave concerns about hydropower projects that have no connection to the NECEC powerline.

Here are a few of the series’ flaws:

Geography: Matt Hongoltz-Hetling intertwines references to the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project — where the power would be generated exclusively in Québec, by Hydro-Québec — with the concerns of Inuit communities neighboring the Muskrat Falls hydro project, which is owned by another company in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The NECEC will connect Québec’s hydropower network to the New England grid. By contractual agreement, we will use a tracking mechanism, compatible with the NEPOOL GIS, to guarantee the provenance of the energy, ensuring it’s 100% from Québec. In the few questions Mr. Hongoltz-Hetling asked Hydro-Québec for his piece, he never once asked about the energy source for NECEC.

Repeated “mistakes”: This past fall, Mr. Hongoltz-Hetling published a series of articles on this same topic. Again, confusion about the NECEC and the concerns of the Inuit communities in Labrador were woven into the writing. The most recent series of articles presented in these pages unfortunately went much farther in misinforming the public. A map showing a flow of power from Labrador towards the east, to the island of Newfoundland, and then south to yet another Canadian province, Nova Scotia, was given the title “The New England Clean Energy Connect.” This is 100% incorrect. The NECEC line would run from Québec to a substation in Lewiston, Maine. Hydro-Québec intervened to have the title corrected. It was in some places, but not all.

Disregard to fact and decades of science: There are no factual grounds for the name of the series, “A Deadly Shade of Green.” Nothing in the series correlated any deaths to a hydroelectric dam project anywhere in Canada — much less one associated with the NECEC project. Suggesting otherwise is sensationalizing at best and slanderous at worst.

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Comment by Willem Post on February 3, 2020 at 5:42am

The values for the NE mix of LDVs were based on the mix using, on average, 0.350 kWh/mile from the battery, which is reasonable, as the mix would include full-size cross-overs, SUVs, minivans and 1/4-ton pick-ups.


Table 3/NE grid

LDV mix



NE grid CO2

NE grid CO2

Model S

Model 3








Source energy




Upstream for extraction, processing, transport, etc., 10.2%




Primary energy




Efficiency loss, 55.5%




Gross electricity generation




Plant self-use loss, 3.0%




Net electricity generation = Fed to grid






T&D loss, 7.5%




Fed to wall meters, as AC






Charging loss, 15%




Self-use loss, about 7%




In battery a mix of LDVs in NE, as DC







Travel, miles/y




Wall meter electricity, kWh/y




2 EVs



The NE electric grid CO2 emissions for 2017 (latest numbers) were 682 lb/MWh, or 682 x 454/1000 = 310 g/kWh, as fed by power producers to the high voltage grid. 
ISO-NE, the grid operator, excludes the CO2 emissions of upstream energy.



- 310 g CO2/kWh, primary energy basis, would become 320 x 1.102 = 342 g CO2/kWh, source energy basis.

- 335 g CO2/kWh, primary energy basis, would become 335 x 1.102 = 369 g CO2/kWh, source energy basis.

- CO2 is 0.4553/0.3500 x 369 = 436 g/kWh, if battery charge change is used for calculating CO2 emissions, primary energy basis

- CO2 is 436 x 1.102 = 480 g/kWh, if battery charge change is used for calculating CO2 emissions, primary energy basis.

- Downstream not included. See Note.



Most non-engineer analysts of EV energy flow do not use real-world values for upstream energy and driving energy.

Often, they omit the charging loss and self-use loss and it’s CO2.

Often, they do not ratio upwards the CO2, as above illustrated.

Their faulty analysis leads to lesser calculated values of EV kWh/mile and CO2/mile.

That likely leads to rosy thinking regarding EVs and likely to faulty decision-making and policy.


Comment by Willem Post on January 30, 2020 at 12:57pm

If Labrador and Newfoundland have robust connections to the Quebec grid, all the electricity on those grids becomes just one mix, because electricity travels on the grid as electro-magnetic waves at nearly the speed of light, i.e., 1800 miles in 0.01 second.

If electricity did not move that fast, the grids would not work.

In any case, all three grids are much cleaner than the NE grid, so any imports would reduce the CO2/kWh of the NE grid.

Comment by Penny Gray on January 30, 2020 at 12:07pm

The amount of homework required to separate fact from fiction is staggering.  I saw the map referred to in this article which had lines going in every direction from Churchill and Muskrat Falls, including to the Quebec border and south into Maine.  But if anything can be presented as fact by the media or contributing solumnists, then nothing can be believed until we do our homework, which most folks don't have the time to do.  Which gives the press so much power it's frightening.


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


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