Québec Premier Jean Charest and Vermont Governor Jim Douglas today jointly announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a 26-year power supply and purchase agreement.

Hydro-Québec, who currently provides about one-third of Vermont's electricity pursuant to a contract signed on December 4, 1987 and set to expire in 2016, would continue to do so as a result of the proposed agreement. The contract would take effect in 2012 and run through 2038. Key terms of the deal were not disclosed, however the Vermont utilities would buy up to 225 megawatts and use a "price-smoothing mechanism" that would shield Vermont customers from market price spikes throughout the duration of the contract.

Certainly a key consideration for Hydro-Québec, Vermont lawmakers would enact legislation currently before lawmakers which designates large hydro power, including that produced by Hydro-Québec, as renewable energy, with any resulting credits to be shared by the three corporations.

In a joint news release, Central Vermont Public Service Corporation's President Bob Young, and his counterpart at Green Mountain Power, Mary Powell, were quoted as saying "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 [...] It continues a relationship that has helped us provide competitive rates in the Northeast, with minimal air and greenhouse impacts."

Negotiations had been ongoing for over a year, although Vermont's energy future drew attention in early 2010 following reported tritium leaks in Entergy's Yankee nuclear power plant. Although an application has been made for a 20-year extension, the plant is scheduled to close when its license expires in 2012