You can’t really talk about power in New York State without talking about Canada.
In 2009, New York produced only 13 percent of what’s referred to as its “primary energy requirements.” The rest of it - the gas in your car, the coal and natural gas that our power plants burn, the uranium for our nuclear reactors, the power we import directly into our grid - came from somewhere else.
That last part is where Canada fits in. Most of our imported electricity comes from Canadian hydroelectric dams.
All in all, Canadian hydro accounts for just under six percent of power in New York’s grid [PDF]. In 2010, New York imported almost 3 million megawatt hours [PDF] from Canada, at a cost of about a half a billion dollars.
But that Canadian hydro isn’t without controversy.
Here in the U.S., former governor Mario Cuomo canceled a huge contract with Hydro Quebec in the 1990s following pressure from Native American and environmental activists. And now there’s a new wave of plants set to come online, with $50 billion worth of construction slated for the provinces of Quebec, and Newfoundland & Labrador, alone.