The door opened by the city of Montreal to eliminate natural gas on its territory is a good idea wrong, according to Hydro-Québec, which on the contrary believes that without dual energy, decarbonizing buildings would be too expensive or simply too costly. be impossible. Others see it as too risky.
A spokesperson for the state-owned company explained, in response to the recommendation of the main committee on water, environment and sustainable development, large parks were well received by the municipal administration.
Maxence Huard-Lefebvre explains that the transmission and distribution network that supplies Montreal simply does not have the capacity to accommodate such a sustained load.
Hydro-Quebec wants to convince the city of Montreal that getting rid of natural gas could hurt other electrification projects and even the city’s economic development.
The Commission on Water, Environment, Sustainable Development and Large Parks recommends that the city decarbonize energy consumption as much as possible by immediately banning the connection of new buildings to the natural gas grid and phasing out existing heating systems. The committee recommends that all other natural gas appliances, such as stoves, should be banned.
Restricted use of natural gas can remain, for certain building types such as heritage buildings, provided it is restricted to 15% and only during peak periods.
For Hydro-Quebec, that’s not enough. The state corporation’s decarbonization strategy is based on an agreement with the gas distribution company Énergir, which provides for the replacement of natural gas heating systems with a dual-energy system that uses 70% electricity and 30% natural gas.
“We are in dire need of Dual Energy to achieve our goals,” says a Hydro spokesperson. The state company relies on energy efficiency through heat pumps and heat stores and on demand-management tools like Hilo and adjusted rates like the Winter Credit and the Flex rate, but natural gas is essential in this comprehensive set of means, she argues.
Sans la contribution by natural gas, Hydro-Québec devrait non seulement augmenter ses approvisionenments to satisfaire la pointe hivernale, mais also construire des postes et des lignes électriques sur l’île de Montréal, which is complex and coûteux in the european zone, precise l ‘a company.
The prospect of eliminating natural gas on the island of Montreal doesn’t please industrial energy consumers either, who see it above all as a risk. “From an energy security standpoint, it is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket,” notes Jocelyn Allard, president of the Quebec Association of Industrial Electricity Consumers, many of whose members consume electricity and natural gas.
“When you want to attract investors, it is much more difficult if you depend on one source of energy,” he adds, adding that natural gas has always been cheaper than electricity.
The Coalition of Energy Environmental Organizations, along with other environmental organizations, sees natural gas as having no place in building heating and has testified to this effect before the Water, Environment, Sustainable Development and Large Parks Commission.
However, its spokesman, Jean-Pierre Vent, is of the opinion that some essential services, such as hospitals, should have back-up systems running on natural gas or other fuels for safety reasons. However, the safety aspect should not be exaggerated, he said, because natural gas heating systems generally work with an electric furnace.
On the territory of Montreal, which is well served by natural gas, the gains in terms of decarbonization are most important to Hydro-Québec. Its agreement with Énergir will reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to building heating by 50% by 2030.
Hydro-Québec wanted its customers to pay the cost of the compensation that would be paid to Énergir, which would see its turnover decrease, but still bear the costs of maintaining its distribution network.
In a decision published last week, the Régie de l’énergie refused to allow the carbon removal bill for Énergir customers to be passed on to Hydro-Québec customers. The state-owned company has indicated that it will continue to convert heating systems to dual energy assuming the same cost, which is estimated to be around 63 million by 2025.
Hydro-Québec has estimated that its agreement with Énergir will result in a rate increase of 1.4% for all of its customers, including 1% for new electricity supplies.
Hydro-Québec says that without natural gas, more investment would be needed in supply and in the distribution network, which would result in a higher rate increase of 3%.
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