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Print 35 comment(s) - last by Nervenkrieg.. on May 20 at 2:52 PM

If you close coal plants and don't build nuclear, what are your options?

The Canadian province of Quebec recently started construction on a major new hydroelectric project that will cost an estimated $6.5 billion dollars (CAD). The Romaine Hydroelectric Complex will have 1550 MW of capacity and produce 8 terawatt-hours of electricity per year. Consisting of four power plants when completed, it will be able to supply electricity for 450,000 households.

Much of that power could end up in New York state and New England. Hydro-Quebec, the province's public utility, generates over 95% of its electricity from hydropower. It currently exports 21.3 terawatt-hours of electricity per year to Ontario, New York state, and New England, generating over $1.9 billion CAD in revenue for 2008.

Several factors are leading to increased hydroelectricity imports. The Obama administration’s policies on renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions trading, and the shift away from coal power plants means that hydroelectricity becomes more attractive to municipalities. On the other hand, growing power consumption along the eastern seaboard means that new and replacement power generation must be brought online quickly.

The Luther Forest Technology Campus in New York state's Capital Region is expected to require large amounts of power. GlobalFoundries is planning to build its Fab 2 CPU plant there, and GE Transportation will build a new battery plant in the region to support its hybrid-electric vehicle efforts.

Hydroelectricity is a source of constantly available baseload power during the day and night. Baseload power is currently only available from nuclear, coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric sources. Solar and wind power require large amounts of reactionary power from coal and/or natural gas plants to ensure stability in the electrical grid and power supply chain.

Hydroelectric dams usually raise environmental concerns due to flooding needed to create reservoirs for the dams. Over $200 million has already been spent or budgeted on environmental studies, attenuation measures, and environmental monitoring, which is planned to continue until 2040.

Power from the project will be initially available by 2014 and all construction will be completed by 2020.



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By HotFoot on 5/19/2009 3:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose the question is about strategic interest, which I think electricity is, because nearly everything else involving labour has been sent overseas or to Mexico. Do you think the same thing when everything in the stores is 'made in China'? I do, actually, think nations should be a little more self-sufficient than they currently are, but in the end trade in areas of clear advantage makes a lot of sense. I don't believe in trade for the purpose of cheap labour, as in paying Chinese workers 13 cents/hour to produce crap, when high-quality merchandise could easily be made right here.

But that's getting to a different story, following the same sentiment.

The thing here is electricity, and trade between two countries with the same standard of living. Buying power at 9 cents/kWh in that kind of bulk sounds like a pretty good deal to me. What do they charge for power in NYC? What does it cost in comparison to construct a Nuclear plant instead to fill the need?

I think when it comes to labour, maybe we should all put our money where our patriotic mouths are and not be so damned cheap that we're not willing to pay our neighbors an honest wage for their work, but would rather support early-industrial age working conditions and send so much of our capital overseas. But in this case, it's a natural resource, one which Quebec has excessive amounts of, an it's simply cheaper to get power from there than to make it at home.

Keeping energy costs down this way is really attractive to industries, helping their bottom lines and keeping high-quality jobs around in the Eastern Seaboard.


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