03 Feb MIT study on benefits of US-Canada grid
States in the Northeastern U.S. can transition to low-carbon electricity at a lower cost by using hydropower reservoirs in Quebec for energy storage, says a new MIT study. Countering conventional wisdom, the study argues that Quebec’s hydropower reservoirs are best seen by Northeastern states as a virtual energy storage resource rather than a continuous source of energy.
In a low-carbon future, the value of Quebec hydropower is maximized when used to balance and store renewable electricity generated from variable U.S. wind and solar resources. Adding further cross-border transmission lines can facilitate the two-way power flows needed to leverage these benefits further.
As a growing number of U.S. states commits to 100% clean electricity or net-zero emissions, power generation will increasingly rely on renewable technologies such as wind and solar photovoltaic. Because these technologies are intermittent and cannot be dispatched as needed, they require a backup source to ensure the stability of the electricity system across hours, days and seasons.