Water in the gas between Montreal and Hydro-Quebec

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Water in the gas between Montreal and Hydro-Quebec

The state-owned company is concerned about the new regulations being prepared by the City of Montreal to limit the use of gas in buildings.

Hydro-Québec head office

Hydro-Québec warns the City of Montreal against the consequences of too abrupt a switch from gas to electricity in the heating of buildings.

The state-owned company warns it won't be able to keep up with demand if new regulations close the door to the dual-energy approach it advocates.

If we opted for an all-electric logic (heating, large buildings, etc.) that would create enormous demand. This is not realistic […]: there would be a lack of power lines, stations, warns Hydro-Québec spokesperson Maxence Huard-Lefebvre.

On February 16, elected officials from the Commission on Water, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Large Parks of the City of Montreal recommended that any connection of new buildings to the natural gas network.

The Commission also recommends the gradual withdrawal of heating systems using fossil fuels in existing buildings.

According to our sources, the conversion to electricity of all gas heating systems in Montreal in the building would represent an additional power requirement of 4,500 megawatts (MW) for Hydro-Québec.

This is a significant power that would be added to the 23,000 MW of power demands from industries on the table of the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Development. x27;Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon. The latter is also Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region.

The demand could even be greater if other municipalities decide to follow Montreal's example. This is currently the case of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Otterburn Park, Petit-Saguenay, Prévost and Saint-Cuthbert, which are calling on the Quebec government to ban natural gas heating in all new constructions.


The Commission de la Ville de Montréal also recommends limiting the use of natural gas to 15% in the case of dual energy and only during peak periods.

However, with dual energy , 30% of the energy intake of residential customers comes from gas and 70% from electricity.

According to Hydro-Québec, without dual energy, it does not work for us.

“We warn the City of the consequences of a regulation that does not allow the dual-energy offer to be deployed. »

— Maxence Huard-Lefebvre, spokesperson for Hydro-Québec

The issue is the winter peak, reminds Hydro-Québec, when cold temperatures accentuate demand and put pressure on the network.

At the City of Montreal, we remain cautious. We will take the time to analyze all the recommendations and we will follow up on them in the coming months, explains the executive committee's press officer, Marikym Gaudreault.

“We will take the time to analyze them and this will also be done in collaboration with Hydro-Québec and Énergir. »

— Marikym Gaudreault, Executive Committee Press Officer, City of Montreal.

The by-law is not yet written and the City could very well take a different path of the elected members of its Commission.

The spokesperson for the Montreal executive committee is nonetheless delighted with the interest aroused during the consultations.

We now see that the public consultation effort on our roadmap towards zero-emission buildings has been a success, writes Ms. Gaudreault. About fifty organizations, businesses and citizens took part in the reflection, which shows how important this issue is for the people of Montreal.

In May 2022, the Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, was delighted with the signing of a collaboration agreement with Hydro-Québec for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the building sector.


I am particularly proud to announce this partnership, which will put the immense expertise of our Crown corporation to the benefit of Montreal, said the mayor.

As much as we must reduce the use of fossil fuels, it is important to do so at the best possible cost, said CEO Sophie Brochu.

The City of Montreal wants the buildings built on its territory to become carbon neutral by 2040.

For Patrick Bonin, head of the Climate-Energy campaign at Greenpeace Canada, the recommendations of elected of Montreal confirm the City's leadership and highlight the fact that the Quebec government is sleeping on gas when it should regulate to get fossil fuels out of buildings.

In May 2022, Hydro-Québec and Énergir obtained approval from the Régie de l'énergie to convert gas heating systems to dual energy in order to reduce greenhouse gases.

The natural gas distribution company, Énergir

However, the decision was appealed. Last week, the Régie changed its mind and will not allow Hydro-Québec to raise its rates to finance the agreement with Énergir. The state corporation, however, says the partnership will go ahead, but it will likely have to cut back on its profits.

Hydro estimates that dual energy will reduce GHGs in Quebec 540,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030 and generate savings of around $1.7 billion compared to full electrification.

In its brief, Hydro also asked the Commission to adopt a position recognizing renewable natural gas as an energy source that generates no GHG emissions.

Energir comes to sign a $1 billion partnership with Denmark's Nature Energy to accelerate the production of renewable natural gas (RNG) in Quebec. According to the Quebec gas distributor, these facilities would allow an annual reduction of 400,000 tonnes of GHGs by 2030. Currently, Énergir has less than 1% of RNG circulating in its network.

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