May 28, 2020 - 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Delivering the Transmission Needs for Energy Transition – Deep Decarbonization in the Northeastern U.S. and Quebec


Meeting climate policy targets in the U.S. Northeast will likely require the nearly complete decarbonization of electricity generation. To that end, consideration is being given to expanding imports of hydropower from neighboring Quebec, Canada. We use a capacity expansion and dispatch optimization model to analyze the role Canadian hydro might play, and the economic trade-offs involved. We find that, in a low-carbon future, it is optimal to shift the utilization of the existing hydro and transmission assets away from facilitating one-way export of electricity from Canada to the U.S. and toward a two-way trading of electricity to balance intermittent U.S. wind and solar generation. Doing so reduces power system cost by 5-6% depending on the level of decarbonization. Expanding transmission capacity enables greater utilization of existing hydro reservoirs as a balancing resource. New transmission also reduces the costs of deep decarbonization. Adding 4 GW of transmission between New England and Quebec is estimated to lower the costs of a zero-emission power system across New England and Quebec by 17-28%.


Emil Dimanchev

Emil Dimanchev is a Research Affiliate at MIT CEEPR, and a PhD Candidate in electric power engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). His research explores climate and energy policy design leveraging diverse techno-economic methods, with a focus on operations research and energy systems modeling. He has testified before legislators on climate policy, served as a consultant to government officials on carbon pricing, and briefed senior staff at Fortune Global 500 companies. Emil also serves as a Superforecaster at Good Judgment, where he provides probabilistic forecasts on a variety of topics.

Joshua Hodge

Joshua Hodge is Executive Director of the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR), where he coordinates research activities and is responsible for the Center’s budget and manages Center staff. His areas of expertise include domestic and international climate and energy policy, with a focus on energy transition and renewable energy policies in the United States. Joshua’s recent work has included assisting rural electric cooperatives in the U.S. with decarbonization strategy. He is also a member of the MIT Net-Zero by 2026 Faculty Review Committee.

John Parsons

John Parsons is a Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Associate Director of the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR). His research focuses on the valuation and financing of investments in energy markets, as well as the problems of risk in energy and environment markets. Recent publications have touched on the value of changing the utilization of transmission to maximize the value of hydro assets and expanded penetration of renewables, the value of investments in life extensions of nuclear power plants, the economics of new microreactors, and the impact of decarbonization on generation assets in the U.S. midcontinent.