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Hydro-Québec Energy Agreement | The project will miss its target, environmental groups say

(Quebec) Environmental groups believe that a controversial agreement between Hydro-Quebec and Énergir to install dual-energy heating systems over the next decade could generate a much smaller reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than expected, which will make Quebec climate more difficult to achieve. Objectives.


According to Greenpeace and the Association of Environmental Energy Energy Regulators (ROEE), this agreement will only reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the building heating sector by 350,000 to 375,000 tons, instead of the 540,000 tons promised by Hydro-Québec.

They believe Crown is overestimating how much heating system conversion it will be able to do by underestimating the useful life of its heating systems.

The marketing strategy is to wait for the systems to change, but the furnace life is 21.5 years for residential systems and 23 years for commercial systems.

Jean-Pierre Venier, ROEE Analyst

In a brief submitted to the Régie de l’énergie, the Association de l’hôtellerie du Québec and the Association Restauration Québec came to the same conclusion. They believe that “distributors’ expectations underestimate the life of natural gas heating equipment for all three segments and overestimate the life of water heating equipment.”

Heat pumps, faster

Greenpeace and ROEE are also critical of the government’s strategy, which they associate with “wait and see”, of replacing only end-of-life equipment. “There is no reason why we should immediately install as many heat pumps and electric boilers as possible so that we can benefit from greenhouse gas emissions. There is no need to unnecessarily delay this transition to dual energy,” says Mr. Finet.

Hydro-Québec replies that it does not question its goal and that its 15-year lifespan is an average between that of a water heater and that of a hot air generator.

2.4 billion by 2050

Greenpeace and ROEE contradict the basis of the agreement: Hydro-Québec will pay compensation to the natural gas distributor Énergir to compensate for the decrease in consumption of the building owners who will switch to a dual-energy system. In return, Hydro-Québec guarantees that these customers will turn to heating the gas during the peak winter, to prevent consumption from exceeding capacity.

They estimate that Hydro-Québec will thus pay 2.4 billion to Énergir by 2050. However, the Régie de l’énergie has not authorized the state-owned company to pass this bill to electricity consumers, so it will have to subtract it from dividends.

Patrick Bonin believes that we apply the “polluter paid” principle, and fears that this “bad” agreement will not even have “expected cuts”.

For its part, Hydro-Québec maintains that this agreement is necessary in the context of Quebec’s energy transition. Maxness spokesman Howard Lefevre notes that it would be “very expensive” to invest in buying electricity supplies to meet peak electricity demand.