Québec hydropower is one of the lowest greenhouse gas emitting options for generating electricity

To the Editor:

Champlain Hudson Power Express Inc. electricity is so safe, clean, and renewable — and that’s exactly what New York needs.

First of all, I would like to heartily commend the Guilderland Town Board for having approved a proposed change to this clean energy project, whose transmission line is partially located within the town’s limits. Some readers may not agree with me, and have voiced some misleading opinions recently about hydropower from Québec. Let’s look at the facts.

Québec hydropower is one of the lowest greenhouse gas emitting options for generating electricity that we have. On a life-cycle basis, over a hundred-year period — and let’s remember, when we’re talking climate change, we need to be looking at the long term — its emissions are on par with those from the wind industry, and 50 times less than emissions that come from burning natural gas. And hydropower emits none of the air pollutants that cause smog or acid rain. In a world that has become hyperaware of how important it is to breathe clean air, that’s a scientific fact that no one can ignore.

But don’t believe me. Take a look at this study from a research group from Polytechnique Montréal, our engineering school: https://tinyurl.com/y5gr4tkb. Their conclusion in a nutshell: “Based on the environmental indicators studied, the results for hydropower are among the best, thanks to the option’s minimal use of resources during the generation phase. Conversely, thermal generation using non-renewable sources shows the worst results, due to the extraction, transformation and use of fuels.”

Hydropower development in Québec goes through a rigorous environmental approvals process. Our hydro projects only move forward when agreements have been signed with local communities, including Indigenous communities. Those agreements provide for benefits for the communities that are linked to the project’s impacts. And quite often, the funds are put in place for the entire period that a generating station would be in operation. Often, that’s over a hundred years.

Two-thirds of the electricity used in downstate New York currently comes from fossil fuels; by 2022, that percentage will increase to a whopping 86 percent! Downstate New York needs new sources of low-carbon energy, and hydropower from Québec, delivered over the Champlain Hudson Power Express, is part of the solution: and this major project can be constructed and start flowing clean energy soon.

Tom Ellis, who recently wrote a letter to The Altamont Enterprise, would have us overlooking one of the biggest clean energy projects on the table right now for New York. With the urgency of climate change, can we really afford to stick with the status quo, which is burning dirty fossil fuels?

Gary Sutherland

External Relations –

Exports and Acquisitions



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