The Quebec Government announced that it will update its energy policy. Public consultations are already underway. The Government also announced a commission to study ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We welcome the Government's announcements. The discovery of huge amounts of oil and natural gas in North America created a new energy paradigm the whole world is adjusting to. Entrepreneurs, after decades of research and explorations, have also found meaningful oil and natural gas potential in Quebec. A policy discussion is a good way for Quebec to decide how to best react to the new reality.
Balancing security of supply, competitiveness of the economy, employment, social needs and the environment is not an easy challenge. We applaud the Government for leading a needed discussion to set policies that attempt to best find this balance.
Putting all our eggs in one energy basket is risky and may not even be technically possible. Delaying progress on energy efficiency and emissions is risky too. Our view is that a balanced energy diet is the right path to address the many demands of our society.
Currently more than 50% of Quebec's energy is provided by hydrocarbons and it consumes more heavy fuel oil than any other province in Canada. All of this need is met by imports. Much of them from places that do not have transparent or democratic policies to protect our shared environment. We can all agree there is clearly room to improve the Quebec energy diet.
In a resource-rich province like Quebec it doesn't make sense to rely on foreign hydrocarbons for over 50 per cent of energy needs. This only sends Quebec's money, jobs and emissions to others. Quebec's future fiscal strength requires it be able to compete with an American economy re-surging on the back of affordable and cleaner local energy. A far fetched idea only a few years ago, we now find America is exporting natural gas and oil from shale to and through Quebec today.
Memoirs were given to the BAPE showing how just the elimination of natural gas transportation would eliminate 470,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year. This would be like removing 77,000 cars from the roads in Montreal. Local production of oil could achieve the same kinds of savings financially and environmentally. There are even more financial and environmental savings to be had from modern best practices and new technologies.
We respect that energy consumers make the final choice about their energy diet. Good policies encourage progress and better energy choices. We look forward to working together with the Government, providers of the other portions of Quebec's energy diet and most importantly the Quebec consumer in a constructive discussion on the best energy balance.
Follow Michael Binnion on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mrbinnion