April 12, 2016
On April 7, 2016, the Government of Québec (“Québec”) unveiled its long-awaited energy policy for 2016 to 2030 (“Energy Policy 2030”). This policy presents Québec’s vision of being a North American leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2030, and follows extensive consultations undertaken in 2013 and 2015.
Energy Policy 2030 sets out Québec’s objectives for energy development in the province over the next 15 years, placing consumers at the centre of its actions. The objectives of this policy are to:
These objectives show a commitment to significant change in the energy use of the province, and an overall concern for climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The policy asserts that Québec will make over $4 billion available to households, businesses and public institutions over the next 15 years, for measures relating to energy substitution and energy efficiency.
In Energy Policy 2030, Québec commits to:
If these energy transition goals are reached, almost 61% of the province’s energy needs would be met through renewable energy by 2030, a significant increase from the current proportion of less than 48%. In this same period, greenhouse gas emissions in Québec would be reduced by 70%.
Changes to Legal Framework
In order to make this energy transition, Québec undertakes to make important changes in its legal framework regarding energy matters.
In Energy Policy 2030, Québec commits to modernizing the approval process for energy projects, such as generation and transmission projects, to make project assessment and approval processes more streamlined and efficient.
These legislative changes also include reviewing the role of the provincial energy regulator, the Régie de l'énergie, andthe creation of a new organization responsible specifically for innovation, energy efficiency and energy transition.
The responsibilities of this new organization would include:
Support for Commercial and Industrial Sectors
Québec will also increase support to the commercial and industrial sectors, to assist in improving energy efficiency and to reducing carbon footprints. These sectors collectively represent 52% of all energy use in the province at present.
The 2030 Energy Policy also sets out new measures relating to transportation, including:
Plan Nord: Development in the North
Energy Policy 2030 also seeks to ensure an adequate supply of electricity and natural gas to mining projects in the north of the province, including through extensions of the transmission network, where viable.
The policy also mentions support for a transition to renewable energy for “off-grid” electricity production for isolated communities and businesses, to support the replacement of electricity generation through fossil fuels.
New Approach for Fossil Fuels
Although Energy Policy 2030 provides for a transition away from the use of fossil fuels generally, Québec still acknowledges the importance of this industry and its place in the province through the policy, while setting out certain measures such as:
Implementation of the Policy
Energy Policy 2030 will be implemented in four phases.
Québec will first make changes to the current statutory framework and will then develop three separate action plans for the implementation of the policy, respectively, for 2016-2020; 2021-2025; and 2025-2030.
Québec asserts that Energy Policy 2030 represents a strategic and targeted approach which builds upon the province’s strengths, and that it will create a strong new economy, to create new jobs and attract investment, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the province.
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