Québec Energy Policy
On April 7, 2016 the Government of Québec announced its 2030 Energy Policy [PDF]. The goal of the policy is to make the province a North American leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2030.
To achieve this overarching goal and meet the policy’s ambitious targets, the province has identified four key strategic initiatives that will be instrumental to the policy’s success:
- Integrated governance to manage the low-carbon economy transition – the province will establish a new agency to manage the transition and promote energy conservation, review the role of the existing Régie de l’énergie, and look to modernize the process for authorizing future energy projects. The abovementioned new provincial agency will assist in coordinating targeted research and development in the areas of energy efficiency, electric vehicles and processes, electricity use and storage, and renewable energy output needed to ensure the policy’s success.
- Promoting the low-carbon economy – the province will influence the energy consumption and choices made by consumers and industrial enterprises, and review the Government of Québec’s own energy consumption. To enhance the province’s energy efficiency by 15%, the Government of Québec will spend an estimated $4 billion over the next 15 years to assist households and industry reduce their energy consumption. The use of thermal coal will be eliminated and the quantity of oil found in products used in the province will be reduced by 40%. The province also proposes changes to urban land-use planning and initiatives related to freight transportation to radically reduce consumers’ and businesses’ dependence on oil use related to transportation.
- Offer consumers a renewed, diversified energy supply – the province will increase green energy electricity offerings to residential, institutional, commercial and industrial consumers, as well as capitalize on the potential for energy from biomass. Specifically, the policy outlines the creation of 25% more renewable energy, with a 50% increase in biomass energy. The province will also seek to diversify and enhance the its supply of natural gas.
- Define a new approach to fossil energies – the province will enforce stringent technical and environmental standards to ensure the safe transportation of hydrocarbons that are used in the province. The province will also adopt new procedures related to territorial planning and public participation for energy resource development projects to create social acceptability in host communities.
The province’s policy will work in tandem with other energy policy initiatives, including:
- The Cap and Trade Market [PDF] – A carbon market implemented by the province in 2013 that is integrated with California and, as of September 2017, Ontario, with special rules governing joint auctions for carbon credits. This joint market, known as the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), is the largest carbon market in North America, covering over 60 million people and C$4 trillion in GDP. It is governed by an agreement [PDF] that allows joint auctions of emission allowances as well as harmonization of regulations and reporting. Companies impacted by the system—which is now into its third compliance period (2018-2020)—include industrial producers and fossil fuel distributors. Other entities may voluntarily participate in the province’s carbon market as well. A minimum price of $10.75 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent was set during the first year of operation (2013), with prices scheduled to increase by 5% (plus inflation) per year until 2020.
- The Transportation Electrification Action Plan – A plan that seeks to increase the number of electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicles registered in Québec to 100,000 by 2020, reduce the annual GHG emissions from the transportation sector by 150,000 tonnes, reduce the amount of fuel consumed annually by 66 million litres, and establish 5,000 jobs in the electric vehicle industry with total investments of $500 million.
- The Maritime Strategy – A plan to enhance the energy efficiency of maritime transport through the use of new energy sources, including liquefied natural gas.
- Plan Nord – A plan to ensure electricity and natural gas supply to municipalities in the Moyenne-Côte-Nord and Basse-Côte-Nord regions and Québec’s northern mines.