Timothy M. Egan, President and CEO of the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) and Chair of the NGIF Capital Corporation, delivered an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, requesting amendments to the Canada Greener Homes Grant (CGHG).
In its letter to the Prime Minister, CGA says the program “fails to offer choice to Canadians in their energy options” in its eligibility criteria for grants for Canadians to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.
As currently drafted, the eligibility criteria exclude any technology using natural gas or gaseous infrastructure. This exclusion occurs, even though no changes are required to natural gas appliances for them to use net-zero emission renewable natural gas (RNG), and that most natural gas appliances are expected to be able to burn natural gas-hydrogen blends with minimal or no modifications. This exclusion is a signal from the Government of Canada that the country’s most reliable and cost-effective energy pathway is not eligible when Canadians seek assistance for their energy efficiency investments.
In the letter, CGA says “As drafted, the criteria in the program signal to Canadians that the federal government is mandating the use of electricity systems and will offer taxpayer dollars to help citizens invest in electric technologies – technologies that will mean dependence on the electric system to the exclusion of other systems, despite the fact that the electric system is less reliable and usually more expensive.”
Canada’s natural gas delivery industry have been leaders in driving energy efficiency for many decades and the millions of dollars invested annually in related programs would offer significant leverage for the CGHG. The average efficiency of furnaces today is over 90% and the improvements made to natural gas equipment have saved Canadians thousands of dollars in annual fuel costs over the life of a furnace, while also reducing emissions.
Furthermore, the development of natural gas heat pumps also represents a technology that can deliver significant cost and fuel savings, while also bringing reliability and emissions reductions. Gas-driven heat pumps are also being designed to use a variety of fuels, including renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen.
CGA and its members are working closely with federal government officials on the advancement of these natural gas technologies, and on the implementation of Canada’s hydrogen strategy, released in December 2020 by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). The industry believes CGHG restrictions will serve to undermine all of that cooperative work, and with it an opportunity to help millions of Canadians.
CGA concludes its letter asking “the Government of Canada to revisit their program design and ensure emerging technology solutions are not arbitrarily excluded.”
Gaseous, liquid, and electric energy pathways exist in Canada, creating a robust, reliable, competitive energy marketplace that contributes significantly to Canadians’ quality of life. CGA believes that Canadians deserve to have choices in the energy pathway they pursue, and that the best way to deliver on environmental objectives, like emission reductions, is to encourage all pathways to pursue better environmental performance, rather than pick any one energy delivery system in particular.
CGA welcomes a constructive conversation with the Government of Canada on the role natural gas delivery industry can continue to play in improving energy efficiency programs for Canadians, and the role of gaseous energy and technologies in Canada’s energy future.
The open letter can be accessed, here.
The Canadian Gas Association is the voice of Canada’s natural gas delivery industry. Its membership includes natural gas distribution and transmission companies, equipment manufacturers, and suppliers to the industry. Our utility members are active in eight provinces and one territory and meet 35 per cent of Canadians’ energy needs through a network of over 566,000 kilometers of underground infrastructure. This infrastructure can also be used to deliver renewable gases including renewable natural gas and hydrogen, in order to contribute to Canada’s greenhouse gas emission reductions. Today, over 7.2 million customer locations representing approximately two-thirds of Canadians, rely on natural gas for clean, affordable and reliable heating and power. CGA owns CGA Enterprises, which in turn owns NGIF Capital Corporation.
Canadian Gas Association