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Quebec's new green plan bets heavily on electrification of transport

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 11/20/2020 12:28:00 PM

Quebec isn’t putting all of its eggs into one basket, but it is putting most of them, unveiling a 2030 Plan for a Green Economy that relies heavily on electrification, particularly of the transportation sector, to get the province to its 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target. The 2030 Plan for a Green Economy (available only in French) promises a $6.7-billion investment over its first five years.

The 2030 Plan for a Green Economy is accompanied by a five-year implementation plan covering the period 2021-2026. This will be a rolling five-year implementation plan (available only in French), with revisions made annually.

Quebec’s 2030 target is emissions 37.5% below 1990 levels. Over the 27 years from 1990 to 2017, Quebec has managed to shave seven Mt, or 9%, off its emissions, meaning it has to deal with the remaining 29 Mt, or 28.5%, over 13 years. Quebec already ranks lowest among provinces and territories in Canada and states in the United States in per capita GHG emissions even though emissions have remained relatively flat since 2014.

Quebecers’ love of trucks and SUVs with internal combustion engines is a big part of the problem. The transportation sector accounts for 43.3% of Quebec’s GHG emissions, its largest single source. Industry is a relatively distant second at 30.5%. However, over the 1990-2017 period, industrial emissions fell by a quarter, while transportation emissions grew by almost the same percentage.

Quebec has earmarked $3.6 billion of the $6.7-billion five-year total to the transportation sector. This includes $1.3 billion for the extension of Quebec’s ZEV (zero-emission vehicle) incentive program to 2026, by which time auto industry observers expect price parity between ZEVs and internal combustion-powered passenger vehicles. The maximum rebate of $8,000 will be maintained until March 31, 2022. Afterward, it may be adjusted depending on market prices.

The government will also strengthen its ZEV mandate, though it does not specify how or to what extent. Quebec and British Columbia are the only jurisdictions in Canada to require ZEVs to account for ever-growing portion of new passenger vehicle sales.

Industrial emitters are bracing for changes to the free allocation of emission allowances that will apply beginning in 2024. The 2030 Plan for a Green Economy promises that the changes “will demand a significant effort from businesses.”

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