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Alberta says idea of an east-west power grid to Manitoba still ‘a bit hypothetical’

Premiers Greg Selinger and Rachel Notley during a meeting Friday.
Premiers Greg Selinger and Rachel Notley during a meeting Friday. Lauren McNabb / Global News

WINNIPEG — Premier Greg Selinger says its time to start working with provinces to the west when it comes to finding new markets to ship and potentially sell Manitoba’s hydro-electricity.

Selinger made the comments after signing a “memorandum of understanding” with Alberta premier Rachel Notley.

But Notley said it was a ‘bit hypothetical” to take the idea of an east-west transmission line further than that.

“I think that’s a bit hypothetical and a bit far down the road,” Notley said.

But she also acknowledged that with Alberta’s promise to phase out coal-fired production by 2030, it needs to have more replacement options at it’s disposal.

“This is something that is a bit further down the road but it would be silly for us not to engage in a forward conversation about the possibilities and the potential that that east-west grid could contribute to Alberta’s economy,” Notley said.

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Manitoba Hydro already has transmission lines to Minnesota. The premier said Friday it’s also looking at Wisconsin.

“Most of the sales were oriented north and south….quite frankly it was easier to hook up and the dollar was an advantage for many decades there,” Selinger said. Manitoba has long advocated the expansion of an east-west power grid.  “There is a growing recognition among the premiers and among our various jurisdictions that we can support each other with firm, clean power upon which you can build a renewable alternative.”