Quebec Energy Minister Pierre Arcand announced on Thursday the government’s plan to reduce Quebec’s use of petroleum products by 40% by the year 2030, as well as to totally eliminate coal use, and that it intends to invest $4 billion over a period of 15 years in pursuing that strategy.
While cleantech innovators such as the Canadian Wind Energy Association have already issued statements welcoming the Quebec government’s forward-looking policy, other interest groups, such as opponents of natural gas development, may not be so pleased, as the government’s strategy involves a boost in natural gas production to at least partly offset the oil reduction.
The 2030 energy policy has set five targets to meet the overarching goal, including making already existing sources 15% more energy efficient, reducing petroleum products by 40%, eliminate coal use, increase renewable energy production by 25%, and increase bio-energy production by 50%.
Minister Arcand said that the policy would be introduced as a bill in Parliament before the end of the current session in June, and that it could be signed into law by the end of 2016.
“Energy efficiency, energy substitutions and changing habits are the three pillars of a successful energy transition,” said Minister Arcand in a statement. “Today, about 47% of Quebec’s energy needs are fulfilled by renewable energy. This proportion will surpass 60.9% by 2030. To do this, we’ve got to make green solutions accessible at a low price. We’ve got to intervene in a strategic fashion and make choices that will contribute to improving the quality of life of Quebec citizens, all while reducing fossil fuel consumption. With this policy, Quebec reinforces its leadership and proves that it’s possible to engage in a real decarbonisation of the economy, thanks to innovation.”
With state ownership of its hydroelectric utility, Quebec is the fourth largest hydroelectricity producer in the world, and has engaged Ontario, California and Manitoba in a North American cap-and-trade agreement.
In a press release issued to coincide with the announcement, Premier Philippe Couillard said, “Today, with Quebec’s first energy transition policy, we’re going to make Quebec a North American leader in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy. With this policy, Quebec will be among the most prosperous societies. Together, we’ll continue to develop the means to successfully transition towards a strong new economy, diversified and with a small carbon footprint.”