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Hydro-Quebec and Kahnawake Mohawks partner to export electricity to New York State

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Hydro-Quebec and the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake signed an agreement today to jointly own a transmission line that will export electricity to New York City.

The Mohawk community southwest of Montreal will hold a minority stake of at least 10 per cent in the Hertel-New York interconnection line, allowing them to earn dividend income.

Hydro-Quebec president and CEO Michael Sabia says the community can expect an annual return of about eight per cent on its investment.

The 10 per cent participation is a minimum, and Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer says the Mohawk council could opt for a stake of up to 49 per cent of the project.

The precise dollar figure of the Kahnawake investment was not disclosed, but based on the total equity investment required for the project, it could range from about $10 million to $50 million, depending on what share of the project Kahnawake decides to take.

Once commissioned in 2026, the 58-kilometre, 400-kilovolt underground transmission line will run from the Hertel substation in La Prairie, Que., to the border with New York state, carrying enough electricity to power one million homes.

Sky-Deer noted that ironworkers from her community helped build Manhattan skyscrapers. "And now Kahnawake will contribute to the city in a different way, by transporting renewable energy to light up the very skyline Mohawks helped build," she said in a statement. "This agreement is especially remarkable because it will be the first time that Hydro-Quebec shares ownership of its transmission infrastructure with a third party and a First Nation community."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 18, 2024.

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