We don’t know what, when or how, but the Quebec government is preparing to cede part of the electricity transmission network to the Mohawk community of Kanwak, a first decision and intended to facilitate energy exports. New York.
The 58-kilometre line, which will be partially privatized, will connect Quebec to the U.S. border and will be owned by a new company owned by Hydro-Québec and the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, but will be majority-owned by the Crown company.
The new company-owned underground link will cost $1.14 billion to build. The sharing of investment costs between the two partners and the distribution of the revenue that the transmission line is supposed to generate will be confidential.
Economy Minister Christopher Skeet explained this during a study of Bill 13, which aims to allow Hydro-Quebec to transfer part of its transmission network to a third party.
This is strategic information that must remain confidential, the minister explained to opposition MPs who were concerned about what the privatization of Hydro-Québec’s operations would mean.
The agreement to be decided between Hydro-Québec and the Mohawk Council is a historic first that will serve as a precedent, as others will, so there is no need to provide additional information. “It’s a new way and we want to replicate it,” he said.
The new business can be a corporation, limited partnership or partnership. Bill 13 leaves all of these possibilities open because there is no agreement yet.
According to the minister, the schedule for the agreement with New York State is very tight, so the government should rush to develop the joint venture.
“It’s always tricky to draft legislation before a treaty, but, again, we can’t predict the outcome of this meeting, we can’t predict what the Mohawk Council attorneys will look like. [conseiller] The form this future society will take is their customer. So we [exprime] Our objective is clear: we must have a majority, it is not negotiable, so we root it in a bill. After that, we allow the necessary transparency to satisfy our partner,” he argued in a parliamentary panel.
This line does not pass through the reserve area
The study of Bill 13 was conducted at a brisk pace and did not meet much opposition in its path. Given the importance of the issues, more transparency would have been necessary, according to independent energy analyst Jean-Francois Blain. “This is a file with enormous consequences and it has been knowingly kept under the radar by Hydro-Québec and the government,” he denounced.
There is a lot of money around this deal. The construction of the transmission line, valued at 1.14 billion, is a necessary condition for the completion of the contract to export 10.4 terawatt hours of electricity to New York, the largest in Hydro-Québec’s history, and is set to generate more than 25 billion dollars. years.
The agreement provides that the joint venture formed by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and Hydro-Québec will be called Horizon Kahnawake Hydro-Québec. It will own the 58-kilometre line and sell its transmission capacity to Hydro-Québec. The income thus generated will be shared according to the participation of each of the two partners.
The Mohawk Council expects to receive guaranteed revenue for a period of “at least 40 years”.
“The 40-year period is consistent with the estimated average amortization period of the line,” explains Hydro-Québec spokesperson Lynne St-Laurent.
Once the 25-year deal with New York ends, the line could be used to export and import power in the short term or for another export deal, he said.
When they appeared in the National Assembly to support Bill 13, representatives of indigenous communities argued that the project would provide clean energy to New York City and create new income and employment for members of their community.
The transmission line between the Hertel substation located at La Prairie and the US border does not pass through the Kanwak Reserve. After 58 kilometers, it joins the American territory at a point located under the Richelieu River and Lake Champlain. Commissioning is scheduled for 2026.
The Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement examined the Quebec portion of the interconnection project, which did not identify any major environmental issues, but it did express concern about Quebec’s future electricity needs.
“Faced with a climate emergency and the need to increase Quebec’s energy supply, the Commission of Inquiry considers that the energy transition must be based on planning to adjust its supply needs and its electricity export plans,” the report says. concludes.
- 545 kilometers
- The length of the U.S. portion of the transmission line to be built by Hydro-Québec’s partner transmission developers between the Quebec border and New York City.
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