Natural gas phaseout part of provincial plan
On May 16, the Globe and Mail published an article stating that in an effort to greatly reduce the province’s carbon footprint, the Ontario government expects to spend more than $7 billion over four years on a Climate Change Action Plan.
According to the CBC, the Globe and Mail stated that it obtained a 57-page confidential cabinet document that lays out a detailed strategy from 2017 to 2021. The climate change plan was scheduled for public release in June 2016.
Among numerous environmental key points, the plan explains that Ontario will begin phasing out natural gas for heating and also provide incentives to retrofit buildings. It says that homes built after 2030 will be required to be heated with electricity or geothermal systems.
Gary Wheeler, who is with the communications branch of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, explained in an e-mail to HPAC that natural gas will continue to play a critical role in the energy mix in Ontario in the future. “To be clear, we are not banning natural gas or forcing anyone off of it,” Wheeler said.
Only three months ago, in February, the Ministry of Energy announced that the Ontario government will be investing millions from the Green Investment Fund into a program to help homeowners identify ways to reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. This program, which HPAC Magazine covered in its May 2016 issue (p6), is in partnership with two natural gas distributors: Enbridge and Union Gas.
“Last February as part of a down payment from Cap and Trade, the government announced a $100 million partnership with Enbridge and Union Gas that will help about 37,000 homeowners conduct audits to identify energy-saving opportunities and then complete retrofits,” said Wheeler. “Now moving forward, we will soon be making an announcement on all the initiatives and investments in our Climate Change Action Plan. We will be presenting a viable plan that will invest in our future and ensure we meet our near and long term emissions reduction targets.”
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