[Opinion] Energy in Quebec? It’s still Gas Métro and for a long time…

in his latest interview with Be forcedEric Lachance, president and CEO of Énergir, tries to justify his company’s failure to comply with the legal minimum content of renewable natural gas (RNG) in its network (almost 1% in 2020) by calling for a bright and low-carbon future. – free.

This means that even today, more than 99% of the gas consumed in Quebec is of fossil origin, a large proportion of which comes from hydraulic fracturing. At a time of climate emergency, this is mind-boggling data.

Énergir was very pleased with the entry into force of the regulation on renewable natural gas (gas produced by the decomposition of waste) in 2019, indicating that it will easily meet its targets.

The CEO of Énergir does not hesitate to say one thing and its opposite during an interview, often in the same sentence. An example? Why didn’t Énergir respect the 1% GNR limit? Mr Lachance answers first: “GNR is the key initiative to decarbonise the grid”. And the journalist continued: “Acknowledging that he did not reach the limit [le p.-d.g.] in the same breath assured that the supply contracts signed in recent months have already made it possible to reach the limits set for next year” (editor’s note set at 2%).

At this speed, the key can be stuck in the lock for a long time. Especially since we learned last May that Énergir is having trouble finding customers for the renewable gas it is acquiring in 2021 and 2022. Faced with deceptive appearances, reality is sometimes stubborn.

Another example of Mr. Lachance’s sentence, rooted in newspeak and Orwellian doublethink: “Natural gas will have a role in decarbonizing Quebec.” Given the nature of this gas, which will remain at least 90% fossil-based by 2030, this is akin to saying that oil or carbon themselves will play a role in decarbonizing Quebec.

In Énergir commercials, seeing the potato peels turn into a pretty blue flame, we already understood that renewable natural gas acts as a screen for the implementation of activities related to the massive distribution of fossil gas (more than 99%). Let’s remember what’s in Énergir’s pipes today). But now Mr. Lachance is now promoting “certified” natural gas that is “responsibly” produced. After light smoking, clean coal (known as ” clean coal by President Trump) and Western Ethical Oil is another company greenwashed despite the toxicity of its operations.

According to reviews cited by Financial Times, “responsible gas is the latest example of corporate greenwashing and a poor solution to heavy government regulation of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is a key component of natural gas.” How serious are you about certifying gas hydraulic fracturing, which by its very nature involves injecting chemical soup under pressure into rock formations, as well as leaking methane and often contaminating groundwater?

Certainly not by limiting water consumption and building noise barriers so as not to disturb the neighbors. Frack gas is in the same family as coal, an extremely polluting fossil fuel.

Hydro-Québec and Énergir belong to Quebec either directly or through the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Quebec. The Quebec government wants to invest heavily in the electrification of its economy and thereby achieve its climate goals. This is incompatible with fossil gas storage in dual energy programs and building heating (not to mention subsidies for the construction of gas pipelines). It will be necessary to make the necessary choices and bring Quebec’s largest gas distributor to heel, and the sooner the better.

Gaz Métro changed its name in 2017 to give itself a less fossilized image. While the company has branched out into Vermont (and under a different name), it’s clear that Énergir is still old Gas Subway in its homeland.

* He also signed this text:

Laurence Leduc-Primeau, co-ordinator of the group of environmental organizations in the field of energy

Cyril Frazao, Acting Director General of Nature Quebec

Eric Pineault, professor, president of the scientific committee of the UQAM Institute of Environmental Sciences

Jean-François Lefebvre, lecturer in urban studies at UQAM

Bruno Detuncq of the Québec Hydrocarbon Vigilance Group

Lea Ilardo is a climate policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation

Patrick Bonin, Greenpeace Canada Climate-Energy Campaign

Krystel Marylène Papineau, Head of Sortons la Caisse du Carbone

To see in the video

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