Dominique Poirier would love to see electric car charging stations all the way from Montreal to Albany.
Poirier, a former Canadian newscaster who now serves as Quebec's delegate general to New York state, says she believes efforts by both Quebec and New York state to support widespread adoption of electric vehicles can be mutually beneficial.
Quebec has already partnered with Vermont to build what's known as the Vermont-Quebec Electric Charging Corridor, 31 charging stations between Montreal and Burlington that allow electric car drivers to make the trip without worrying where they can make their next charge.
Poirier, whose office is in New York City, says Quebec and New York could work together on an even more ambitious project. Quebec already has 250 charging stations across the province.
"It would be great if we could do that from Montreal to Plattsburgh, and Plattsburgh to Albany," Poirier said. "And then Albany to New York City where I am."
Poirier wasn't making any promises. After all, the partnership with Vermont was struck last summer by former Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, whose Parti Quebecois was ousted from power earlier this month by the Quebec Liberal Party.
Regardless of politics, Poirier says that Quebec and New York have a shared interest in clean energy development — especially in battery and energy storage technologies. Quebec gets 98 percent of its electrical power from hydro dams operated by Hydro Quebec, the government-owned utility. Hydro Quebec's research unit, known as the Institut de recherche d'Hydro-Quebec, or IREQ, has placed a huge focus on energy storage and batteries, as has New York state.
Poirier noted scientists have struggled to solve the issue of batteries losing power due to cold temperatures, and she believes researchers in New York and Quebec could work together to solve that issue and increase battery quality.
"It's just a matter of how we work together," Poirier said. "We are sharing the same climate, the same weather, the same cold," she said. "It's a great opportunity."
Poirier made the comments Tuesday during a visit to the Times Union. She was in Albany early this week meeting with state officials as part of Quebec Day in Albany.
Lion Bus, a school bus manufacturer based in Saint-Jerome, just north of Montreal, is testing an all-electric school bus in a pilot project being underwritten in part by the Quebec government. Nova Bus, based in Saint-Eustache outside Montreal with a facility in Plattsburgh, is also planning to test all-electric city buses in Montreal.
Those projects are expected to help the new government's pledge to create 250,000 jobs in the next five years, Poirier said, amid the need to implement budget cuts to trim the deficit.
"They want to erase the deficit as soon as possible," Poirier said.
©2014 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)