MONTREAL (Reuters) - Quebec’s Liberal government said on Thursday it was aiming to cut the province’s use of petroleum products by 40 percent by 2030 and would invest C$4 billion ($3.04 billion) to pursue that strategy.
Renewable energy now supplies about 47 percent of Quebec’s needs, an amount the province intends to boost to 61 percent by 2030, as part of five targets to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, Energy Minister Pierre Arcand told reporters in Montreal.
Along with greater use of hydroelectric energy, Canada’s second-most populous province would boost its consumption of natural gas to offset oil, both through imports and by encouraging local production.
The province said it would also put an end to its already limited usage of coal.
“What we are proposing to Quebecers is a new energy pact,” Arcand said.
Arcand said the energy project would be introduced as a bill in Quebec’s provincial parliament, where the Liberals have a majority, by the end of the session in June. It could be approved into law by the end of the year.
Quebec, the fourth largest hydroelectric producer in the world, pledged in 2015 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 percent by 2030. It is part of a cap-and-trade system with Ontario, Manitoba and California.
Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel called the greenhouse gas emissions target the most “ambitious in Canada and one of the most ambitious in the world.”
The province has set additional targets of boosting its production of renewable energy by 25 percent and bioenergy by 50 percent. Quebec also wants to improve its energy efficiency by 15 percent.
Arcand said it did not appear that Quebec’s new policy, with its goal of reducing oil usage, would have an impact on the province’s evaluation of TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) proposed Energy East pipeline. On March 1, Quebec asked for a court injunction to ensure the Energy East pipeline complied with the province’s environmental laws.
“We have the objective of reducing greenhouse gases,” Arcand said. “The TransCanada project transports oil that will use electric pumping stations. There are some greenhouse gas emissions, but will the emissions be significant - I can’t say.”
Reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by Diane Craft and Peter Cooney