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Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Shumlin Administration 'Optimistic' About Hydro Dam Purchase Partnership

The Shumlin administration says it's optimistic that the state will be part of a deal to purchase a series of hydro dams along the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers.

Administration Secretary Justin Johnson heads the state's special dam acquisition task force. He says it's clear that Vermont can't purchase these 13 dams on its own and is looking for a partner for this project.

The company that owns the dams, TransCanada, also wants to sell its natural gas plants in the Northeast.

Johnson says the company is hoping to find a buyer for its entire energy portfolio, and it's not clear if the hydro dams will be sold off as a separate entity.

“I'd say it's very complicated at this stage,” Johnson says. “I'm optimistic that we end up with some kind of partnership where we have some ownership role at some point. Exactly how that works out I'm not in a position to say yet."

Johnson says the administration is currently reviewing proposals from four companies that have indicated a willingness to partner with Vermont on this energy project.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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