Dan Esty, Commissioner of the CT. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, told me the hydro could come from lots of places, including Hydro Quebec in Canada. He said he'd visited the area, and implied the huge dams weren't destructive because "there's nothing there." When I mentioned that I'd done stories (alas, not on-line) more than 20 years ago about the opposition of the native Cree to the destruction of their territory and their forced move into towns, meaning they could no longer carry on their traditional lifestyle of fishing and trapping, he said he'd spoken to some indigenous folks in the region and they were very satisfied with their current circumstances. Could well be, but maybe he didn't talk to the ones who are dissatisfied, since his host on the trip was Hydro Quebec. Dan added that environmentalists need to join the 21st century and recognize that we're never going to deal effectively with climate change without including big hydro. He said the only other non-carbon based energy source big enough to make a difference in the time frame available before irreversible, catastrophic change occurs is nuclear.
All the opponents of S.B. 1138 like one piece of the bill – the section that would allow DEEP to sign long-term contracts to buy current Class I renewables, such as wind and solar, which would provide stability to those industries while helping the state meet its renewable energy goals. Late last week two dozen House Democrats introduced an amendment to S.B. 1138 -- which passed the Senate last week and will be voted on in the House any day -- that would strip everything out of the bill except the long-term contracts section.
In an op-ed in the Hartford Courant on May 3, Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association, raised another issue: "The power that Hydro-Quebec would sell into Connecticut would not come from specific generation facilities. Rather, it would come as a bundle that includes generation from its hydropower as well as from coal, nuclear, natural gas, oil and other conventional fuels as well as its imports."