Toronto, Ont. – Ontario has launched the second phase of a program to expand fossil fuel gas pipelines to new communities. Instead of supporting viable and more cost-effective clean technologies like heat pumps, Ontario is spending more than $234 million to support approximately 8750 connections – a subsidy of over $26,000 per customer. This is a big subsidy for fossil fuels and a step in the wrong direction, when the government could have chosen to support clean technologies, help customers save money long term, lower capital costs, and cut carbon emissions.
This per-customer subsidy would likely cover the entire cost of switching these customers to existing low carbon technologies, like geothermal and air-source heat pumps. Instead, even after the subsidy, customers will need to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to switch to gas furnaces, and will lose out on new federal rebates for clean heating and cooling systems. Heat pumps are cheaper to operate and also provide air-conditioning and heating in one unit.
Rural, Northern, and Indigenous communities deserve more affordable energy options. But the answer is not to waste public dollars to build expensive gas pipelines that will exacerbate climate change for decades. “Natural” gas is a fossil fuel and was responsible in 2018 for the biggest spike in carbon emissions Ontario has seen in decades. This will get worse if gas infrastructure expands, making it increasingly difficult for Ontario and Canada to reach a net-zero future by 2050.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
For more information and to arrange an interview please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, firstname.lastname@example.org