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Governor, premier announce preliminary 26-year Vermont-Hydro-Québec agreement

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first_imgVermont s two largest utilities today signed a memorandum of understanding with provincial utility Hydro-Québec that sets the stage for a new power supply contract for Vermont customers. The 225-megawatt deal is comparable the current Hydro-Quebec contract and the initial cost will have little if any inflation, according to a utility source. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas hailed the accord, which he said would be good for Vermont and Québec. Reaching a new long-term agreement with Hydro-Québec is a good deal for ratepayers and strengthens the state s economic future, Douglas said. This new contract will provide stable, clean, renewable power at a competitive price through 2038. Energy trade is the centerpiece of our longstanding and valued trading relationship with the Province of Quebec a relationship that Lt. Gov. Dubie and I have worked hard to strengthen over the past seven years. The agreement reached today is the result of many hours of hard work by my administration working in a collaborative fashion with CVPS and GMP. Québec and Vermont have an established relationship in multiple sectors. Today’s agreement is yet another example of this collaboration. Under this agreement Québec will continue to provide clean renewable electricity to Vermont. Today Québec strengthens its commercial ties with Vermont; together we continue to pursue the fight against climate change, said Jean Charest, Premier of Québec.Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power seek similar volumes to what they receive from Hydro-Québec today, and to make power available to other Vermont utilities.Under the MOU, the term sheet is confidential to protect market-sensitive information, but the companies announced that they anticipate purchases totaling up to about 225 megawatts starting in November 2012 and ending in 2038. The term sheet includes a price-smoothing mechanism that will shield customers from volatile market spikes over this period.Hydro-Quebec/Vermont Agreement Key Points March 11, 2010This agreement continues a decades-long relationship that has been good for Vermont and Quebec. It will provide a substantial block of energy to Vermont, roughly approximating current purchases from Hydro-Quebec, filling a large piece of the state s impending energy gap. Based on our market evaluation, we expect the starting price will be comparable to our existing HQ contract. It s a very good deal for Vermont.The agreement announced today is the result of extensive, collaborative efforts involving Hydro-Quebec, Premier Jean Charest, Governor Jim Douglas, Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power.The MOU sets the stage for a new 26-year contract, starting in 2012 and ending in 2038, which will provide the next generation of Vermonters with clean, sustainable, affordable energy from Hydro-Quebec and will help Vermont maintain its low-carbon power supply.The purchase agreement will provide precisely the type of energy Vermonters and policymakers have said they want: clean, low-emission energy with relative price stability.The agreement will tie future energy prices to a series of market indexes and should provide significant price stability at very competitive rates. It will offer Vermont ratepayers significant protection from high energy price spikes, and will protect Hydro-Quebec from very low price swings.The Vermont Legislature can add to the value of the deal by passing legislation that defines large hydro-electric production, including Hydro-Quebec s energy, as renewable energy. If such legislation is enacted, any renewable energy certificate revenue from power delivered over the Highgate Interconnection, up to 225 MW per hour, will be shared 50-50 between the parties, and the Vermont utilities share will benefit their customers.This is a sizable purchase of scheduled energy, available during the key 16 hours of every day, 365 days per year. To put it in perspective, Vermont s typical load is around 700 megawatts, with a peak of about 1,000 megawatts. The contract will provide up to 225 megawatts.Under the MOU, final terms and conditions should be ironed out over the next few months, with a filing at the Vermont Public Service Board expected by August. The resulting contract will require PSB approval.  This agreement sets the stage for a new contract that will help us maintain what is arguably the cleanest power supply in the nation, while ensuring a relatively stable and affordable future for our customers, CVPS President Bob Young and GMP President Mary Powell said in a joint statement. It continues a relationship that has helped us provide competitive rates in the northeast, with minimal air and greenhouse impacts. This is an enormous step forward as we continue to plan Vermont s energy future. This agreement is the natural extension of a business relationship that has benefited both Hydro-Québec and our Vermont customers, said Thierry Vandal, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Québec. It will allow us to optimize our exports of clean renewable electricity, and Vermonters will continue to benefit from a reliable energy source at a stable and competitive price.Under the accord, announced at a meeting with Premier Charest and Gov. Douglas, CVPS, GMP and Hydro-Québec will negotiate final terms of the agreement over the next few months. The final 26-year agreement is expected to provide broad, scheduled energy delivery at a good value for customers. The market is extremely volatile, with tremendous highs and lows, the companies said. The contract will tend to keep Vermont s purchases near the middle of the market, protecting Vermont consumers from the highest price swings and Hydro-Québec from the lowest price swings.Young said the memorandum of understanding will help secure a major segment of CVPS s power supply as existing contracts with Hydro-Québec and Vermont Yankee come to a close starting in 2012. Hydro-Québec s clean, sustainable hydroelectric projects and relative price stability provide exactly the kind of power Vermonters have told us they would like, Young said. We have always provided an energy mix with very low emissions, and this agreement will help us ensure that tradition for the next generation of our customers.Powell said: A major component of our energy strategy, launched two years ago, was to pursue a broader, more strategic partnership with Hydro-Québec in order to benefit from its highly reliable, very low-carbon power system. Our agreement today is a major step in that direction and also ensures significant economic value for Vermont consumers.Vermont and Québec have had an energy partnership for a very long time. Energy trading between Vermont and Québec has been an important component of Vermont s energy supply since the early 1980s, when longer-term power deals were inaugurated. The current Vermont-Hydro-Québec contract, which was signed on Dec. 4, 1987, expires in 2016.One of the key provisions of the agreement is for the Vermont General Assembly to enact legislation to designate large hydro, which would include Hydro-Québec power, as renewable. Any renewable energy credit revenues for HQ power delivered over the Highgate Interconnection would be shared between the Vermont companies, benefiting their customers, and Hydro-Québec.The accord was signed by CVPS (NYSE-CV), GMP and H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro-Québec. It commits the parties to negotiate in good faith a power purchase agreement based on the non-binding term sheet. According to the memorandum, the parties intend to negotiate the material terms of the power purchase agreement no later than June 30, 2010 to allow the parties to obtain all necessary internal organizational approvals and execute the agreement no later than July 31, 2010. The final agreement will be subject to Vermont Public Service Board approval and certain other conditions.The binding terms of a power purchase agreement will be established only upon execution of a contract acceptable to each party. Should execution of the agreement by all parties fail to occur for any reason prior to July 31, 2010, the memorandum of understanding and the obligations of the parties to negotiate a final agreement will terminate.Source: Governor’s office. Québec, March 11, 2010 – -30-last_img read more

Second concession awarded

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first_imgOn June 26 the Mexican government accepted the bid by Grupo Ferroviario Mexicano SA for a 50-year concession to run the Ferrocarril Pacifico – Norte. As expected, GFM was the sole bidder, offering 4·197bn pesos for the 6200 km network and the Ojinaga – Topolobampo section of the Chihuahua – Pacific Railway. Mexican National Railways confirmed that GFM complied ’wholly and satisfactorily’ with all the requirements of the privatisation process. GFM is a joint venture of Grupo Mexico SA, which owns 76%, Empresas ICA SA and Union Pacific, each of which holds 12%.Three days earlier, on June 23, Transportación Ferroviaria Mexicana formally took control of Mexico’s Ferrocarril Noreste in a ceremony at Monterrey attended by President Ernesto Zedillo and other government officials. Several hundred guests witnessed the transfer of Mexico’s first railway to be privatised. A short time later the first TFM train moved south into Mexico via the International Bridge at Laredo, Texas. TFM is a joint venture of Transportación Maritima Mexicana and Kansas City Southern Industries. Executive Vice President Brad Skinner says that the concessionaire will invest around US$40m on capital improvements to the right-of-way during the rest of 1997. Additional money will be allocated to rolling stock, locomotives, and end-of-train devices; Noreste currently owns 371 locos and 10665 wagons. Skinner said TFM expects US-Mexico trade to increase by 17% a year, excluding any business won to rail from road. olast_img read more

Australia plans to force Google, Facebook to pay for news

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first_imgTHE Australian government has unveiled its plan to force tech giants such as Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for their content. Facebook and Google strongly oppose the proposal, even suggesting they could walk away from Australia’s news market. Frydenberg said the code of conduct – drafted by Australia’s competition regulator – would be debated by parliament. The code will initially focus on Google and Facebook but could be expanded to other tech companies, the treasurer said. (BBC) It could impose “substantial penalties” worth hundreds of millions of dollars on tech companies which fail to comply, he said. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the “world-leading” draft code of conduct aimed to give publishers “a level playing field to ensure a fair go.” Many news outlets have shut or shed jobs this year amid falling profits.last_img read more