Letter to the editor: Argument against Clean Energy Corridor disproven

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The most compelling argument against the hydroelectric project behind the Clean Energy Corridor has been disproven. Even as it was offered MIT professor Hager’s testimony regarding methane emissions from the reservoirs used to generate that power was beginning to fall apart. The first flaw identified were figures Hager mistakenly inflated by a factor of six. This forced Hager to acknowledge that, if it was even proper to apply the results of research done on hydro reservoirs mostly located in the tropics to reservoirs located in our temperate climate, the estimate he used to suggest the generating stations in question here produced significant amounts of methane was badly flawed.

Since then researchers relying on thousands of measurements taken over years of direct observation have concluded that the methane released from the reservoirs in question have a warming effect equivalent to just 35 gCO2e/kWh. (A. Levasseur et.al., in “Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews” 136 (2021) 110433). This figure is much smaller than the one Dr. Hager predicted such measurements would reveal. And it is 30 times smaller than that produced by coal power plants and 10 times smaller than those released from facilities powered by natural gas.

There is no argument here. By making use of the hydroelectric facilities in Quebec the Clean Energy Corridor will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our region by reducing reliance on coal and natural gas facilities in New England. We’ll have fewer pollutants in our atmosphere thanks to those reductions as well, which means healthy forests and waterways.

Jamie Beaulieu
Farmington, Maine

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