BOSTON (AP) - Tapping into Canadian hydropower is hardly a new concept in energy-starved New England. But Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's proposal to authorize long-term contracts between utilities and hydropower producers is being viewed by some as a potential game-changer for the region.

BOSTON (AP) Tapping into Canadian hydropower is hardly a new concept in energy-starved New England. But Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's proposal to authorize long-term contracts between utilities and hydropower producers is being viewed by some as a potential game-changer for the region.

Without hydropower, Baker contends his state won't meet its requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He and other regional leaders also point to a need to replace electricity generation that has or will soon disappear from the energy landscape.

Several oil and coal-fired plants have been mothballed recently. The Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth will close by 2019.

Baker's legislation would direct electric distribution companies to solicit competitive bids for long-term deals with hydroelectric producers.

The New England Power Generators Association opposes the plan, considering it unnecessary and overly expensive.