|Montréal, November 16, 2020. – Québec Premier François Legault and the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Laval Region, Benoit Charette, this Monday unveiled the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy (2030 PGE) along with its first implementation plan covering 2021-2026, backed by a budget of 6.7 billion dollars over five years. The magnitude of the amounts earmarked for this electrification and climate change framework policy is indicative of the government’s intent to make Québec a leader in the green economy by building on its major strength: its clean electricity.
With the 2030 PGE, the government is laying the groundwork for a green economic recovery and reiterating Québec’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 37.5% below 1990 levels by 2030. In so doing, it is charting the course that will lead Québec to carbon neutrality in 2050. The Plan will also contribute to our collective resilience by providing our society with the tools it needs to cope with the already significant impacts of climate change.
In a context of uncertainty caused by the health crisis that continues to put workers and various economic sectors to the test, the government is introducing an initial implementation plan for 2021-2026 which, in addition to reducing GHG emissions, will stimulate economic recovery and job creation. The government estimates that by 2030, this ambitious electrification and climate change project should add 2.2 billion dollars to Québec’s GDP in real terms and create more than15,500 new jobs. The added investments to support green industrial development in areas such as battery manufacturing and green hydrogen will perforce have a major impact.
Making electrification a priority
The government is launching a major electrification undertaking mainly in the transportation industry, but also in the building heating and other industrial sectors. Over the next five years, 3.6 billion dollars stemming from the 2030 PGE implementation plan will be invested in the transportation sector, which alone accounts for over 43% of Québec’s GHG emissions. In addition to those dollars, an unprecedented 15.8 billion dollars will be invested in public transportation through the 2020-2030 Québec Infrastructure Plan. Light trains, city and school buses, taxis, cars and trucks will all be progressively electrified. An ever greater number of Quebecers will travel in electric vehicles that are equipped as much as possible by means of Québec know-how and manufactured by local resources. The target is to have 1.5 million electric vehicles on Québec roads by 2030.
Measures that will stimulate the electrification of transportation, buildings and industries and reduce GHG emissions include:
Boosting the most promising green sectors
- Renewing rebates for acquiring or leasing electric vehicles and charging stations for individuals, as well as aid programs for businesses and the taxi industry;
- Tightening the zero-emission vehicle standard to encourage manufacturers to supply the Québec market with more vehicles and a greater diversity of models;
- Prohibiting the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles as of 2035;
- Accelerating the deployment by Hydro-Québec of fast-charging stations and standard charging stations;
- 768 million dollars to make the industrial sector greener and more competitive (support for GHG emission reduction projects, program improvement and personalized guidance);
- Injection of more than $550 million to reduce GHG emissions linked to heating residential, commercial and institutional buildings by 50%. This target will be achieved by optimal complementarity between the electricity and gas networks and by the use of bioenergy, energy efficiency, and converting from fuel oil to electricity, as well as through the use of renewable natural gas and other renewable energy sources.
The 2030 PGE will help build the economy of tomorrow. Over the 2021-2026 period, 401 million dollars will be used to implement a set of strategies to foster the emergence of new businesses in strategic and innovative fields. The government will support the development of a dynamic industrial ecosystem focusing on electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and batteries.
In addition to electricity, new renewable energy sources will diversify Québec’s energy portfolio over the coming years. Investments of 213 million dollars are planned to support the emerging renewable natural gas sector and 15 million dollars in investments to support development and the search for innovation in the green hydrogen sector. The very first Québec green hydrogen and bioenergy strategy, whose aim is to establish Québec as a future leader in these fields, will be unveiled in 2021. The government’s ambition is for Québec to be recognized worldwide for its green hydrogen, just as it already is for its clean electricity.
Energy efficiency: Less is more
The government will continue to focus on energy efficiency and responsible consumption. More than 307 million dollars will be invested over the next five years through the following measures:
Improving our resilience to future changes
- The EcoPerformance program will see 113 million dollars invested to support energy conversion and efficiency in commercial and institutional buildings. An additional 75 million dollars are set aside to encourage heat recovery and re-use;
- The 2018-2023 Energy Transition, Innovation and Efficiency Master Plan is extended to 2026;
- Concurrently, Hydro-Québec will double its energy efficiency objective, raising it to 800 gigawatt hours (GWh) annually starting in 2021.
Climate change is already having a significant impact on the economic activities, well-being, health and safety of many citizens and communities, as well as on infrastructure and ecosystems. By stressing prevention and taking future climate into account in all of its decisions, the government is acting responsibly to minimize costs associated with the impacts of climate change and will dedicate more than 389 million dollars to adaptation to the impacts of climate change over the next five years.
A responsible and exemplary government
The government will do its part by reducing its carbon footprint, particularly through the acquisition of Québec products and services and the sustainable management of its real estate holdings and vehicle fleet. Its objectives in this regard are as follows:
A pragmatic approach
- Reduce emissions from its real estate holdings by 60% by 2030, compared to their 1990 levels. This target is even higher than the one set for Québec as a whole;
- Maximum electrification of its light vehicle fleet so that by 2030, 100% of its cars, vans and SUVs and 25% of its light trucks run on electricity.
The five-year implementation plan will be reassessed annually and systematically cover the following five years, thereby resulting in a predictable, flexible and pragmatic approach. Thanks especially to the governance that was put in place following the adoption of Bill 44, the government will take achieved results, changes in climate, scientific knowledge, the economic context, the level of public buy-in and technological innovations into account in each of its updates.
“Of all U.S. states and Canadian provinces, Québec emits the least amount of greenhouse gas per capita. This is a reality we can be proud of! But rather than stop there, I invite Quebecers to build on that source of pride by going further to tackle the challenge of climate change and profoundly transform our economy. The focal point of our project is to electrify our economy. The invaluable asset of hydroelectricity, along with wind power and other forms of clean energy, will enable us to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while creating greater wealth. With our clean electricity, we can become the green battery of northeastern America and overcome our climate challenge.”
François Legault, Premier of Québec
“The 2030 Plan for a Green Economy is a strong move by our government to address the many collective challenges posed by the climate emergency. It’s a solid and ambitious plan to transform our society in a sustainable manner and replace fossil fuels as much as possible with our clean electricity. Our government is already at work and I am confident that with the collaboration of my Cabinet colleagues, as well as municipalities, businesses and citizens, we will succeed in our climate transition and achieve a balanced transition that will take into account the differences between regions, generations and economic sectors. Together, we will build a greener, more resilient and more prosperous Québec.”
Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region
- To achieve its climate target, Québec must bring its GHG emissions down to 54 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030, compared to 79 million tonnes emitted in 2017 and 86 million tonnes emitted in 1990.
- According to recent data (2017), Québec has only reduced its GHG emissions by 8.7% compared to its 1990 emissions.
- In the course of its first 2030 PGE implementation plan, the government is currently forecasting a 12.4 megatons GHG reduction over the next 10 years. The action to be taken to enable additionally needed reductions so as to reach the 2030 target, will be determined in the annual updates to the plan.
- The 2030 PGE will rely on complementary policies and action plans such as the Energy Transition, Innovation and Efficiency Master Plan, the Energy Policy, the Sustainable Mobility Policy, the Québec strategy for developing the battery industry, the Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals, Québec’s International Vision and the Government Sustainable Development Strategy. These policies and action plans will help meet the GHG emission reduction target.
- A funding framework of unprecedented magnitude will add infrastructure investments of several billion dollars through the Québec Infrastructure Plan, as well as efforts undertaken by the government to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and action under the direct responsibility of Hydro-Québec, Investissement Québec and other government bodies.
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