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Massachusetts governor says lack of infrastructure hampering electricity imports

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

MONTREAL - Massachusetts is interested in Quebec's electricity but a lack of infrastructure is limiting the possibility of obtaining more of it, the state's governor said Friday.

''It will require some new transmissions (lines),'' Deval Patrick said after a speech to an international relations group in Montreal.

''That isn't easy to bring this in the United States. As a region, we've been looking for alternative scenarios.''

Patrick said building infrastructure that can transmit more power is a major challenge in the United States.

He was referring particularly to the Northern Pass, which could carry an additional 1,200 megawatts to New York, via New Hampshire. The project is currently stalled in New Hampshire because of its route.

Patrick also mentioned the Champlain Hudson Power Express, an underwater cable project that would link the Montreal area with Yonkers, near New York City.

If these two projects are finalized, Massachusetts could do what is necessary to be able to get Quebec electricity, the governor noted.

''I don't know how much time it will take,'' he said. ''I just know that there is a lot of interest from the region (Massachusetts).''

Patrick did not say whether he would like his state to sign a deal similiar to the 26-year agreement Quebec and Vermont signed in 2010.

Hydroelectricity represents only 5.7 per cent of the energy used in Massachusetts. Diesel and nuclear dominate, with about 70 per cent combined.

Currently, the U.S. Congress does not consider most of Hydro-Quebec's production of electricity to be a source of renewable energy, in contrast to wind power and solar power.

Patrick said his state is trying to respect the will of the Congress to opt for renewable energy but that other forms such as hydroelectricity will continue to be considered.

''Our goals are so ambitious that it will really require lots of different alternatives energy in order to meet the goals,'' he said.

He added that hydroelectricity in Lower Churchill is also a potential source of energy for his state.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/131011/massachusetts-governor-says-lack-infrastructure-hampering-el