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Using electricity along with gas for space heating a "balanced and reasonable" approach to cutting emissions.

By Dale Lunan

Quebec natural gas utility Energir and power utility Hydro-Quebec said May 19 they had received approval from the province’s energy regulator to launch in June a dual-energy offer for residential consumers.

Under the dual-energy programme, residential space heating systems will use electricity most of the time, drawing on natural gas only in very cold weather. Natural gas consumption, Hydro-Quebec said, would be reduced by about 70%, reducing the environmental impact of heating homes.

Quebec’s Regie de l’energie agreed, noting in its decision that the dual-energy scenario has a much lower impact on Hydro-Quebec’s electricity rates than total electrification. It represents a “balanced and reasonable” approach to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to reach the province’s 2030 targets.

“The decision handed down by the Régie supports our aim of significantly reducing the amount of fossil fuel-based natural gas distributed and consumed in favor of greater electrification, especially in the building sector,” Energir CEO Eric Lachance said. “We are delighted that the Régie recognized that this transition must be done at the lowest possible cost for society.”

The two utilities are also planning to implement a zero-emission electricity/renewable natural gas solution for all Energir’s customers, including for new construction.