As Canada tackles building emissions, what’s a natural gas utility to do?

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This week:

As Canada tackles construction emissions, what’s a natural fuel application to do? How one gas growth project in B.C. could have an effect on herbal habitat  Checking in at the first Ontario the city to prohibit unmarried-use plastic

As Canada tackles development emissions, what is a natural fuel utility to do?

(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Beginning this 12 months, the city of Vancouver is requiring all new low-upward thrust residential homes to use 0-emissions assets of energy. for lots of buildings, that means turning to electrical energy for heating, cooling and hot water, in preference to furnaces that run by means of burning natural gasoline. 

The generation to make all this imaginable is a heat pump, a device that sucks in heat from the outside air (even chilly winter air) and brings it inside a building. in the summer, a heat pump can do the opposite to chill the building, replacing air conditioners. Warmth pumps are powered via electrical energy, and in B.C, 98 consistent with cent of the electrical energy grid is made up of non-carbon-emitting assets like hydropower.

But FortisBC, the principle herbal gasoline software in the province, desires to be a component of the longer term power combine. It plans to extend its provide of renewable natural gasoline (RNG), which is amassed from decomposing organic waste in landfills and different facilities. Whilst that waste decomposes, it releases biogas, that is mostly methane.

FortisBC argues that instead of a single-minded power in opposition to full electrification of heating techniques, with a purpose to require an incredible enlargement of fresh power technology in Canada, an manner that incorporates natural gas is vital in meeting our internet zero emissions objectives.

“The transition to net 0 and to achieving our … longer-time period local weather targets in 2050, it is going to require so much more electricity. It Is going to require so much extra renewable gasoline,” mentioned Doug Slater, vice-president of Indigenous and external relations at FortisBC.

“so as to search out enough renewable energy and coffee carbon power, we’re going to have to use all of the various supplies that we have within the best means possible.”

Burning RNG is thought of as carbon neutral because it in the long run comes from crops that once absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and it is captured from waste that may otherwise free up methane into the atmosphere at the same time as decomposing.

FortisBC’s goal is that RNG will make up 15 according to cent of its fuel provide by way of 2030 — something Slater said the software is on the right track to reaching — and 75 in step with cent by way of 2050. 

In an interview with CBC Radio final week, then again, a FortisBC spokesperson mentioned that RNG recently makes up simplest approximately one per cent of its machine’s provide. 

Meanwhile, BC Hydro, the province’s primary electric application, is getting ready to replace natural gas in homes. it is planning to increase its electricity provide and is encouraging other people to change to technologies like warmth pumps.

BC Hydro’s plans appear to have little space for FortisBC’s targets to supply RNG to British Columbians into the future, a warfare that spilled over onto Twitter last yr.

Did you already know that through the use of ONE HUNDRED% Renewable Natural Gasoline your house furnace could be carbon-neutral and still approximately $ONE HUNDRED FORTY bucks less expensive a 12 months than the usage of an electric warmth pump? Learn more right here: #RenewableNaturalGas


FortisBC answered to a BC Hydro tweet through claiming a furnace running on RNG may well be carbon neutral and less expensive than an electrical heat pump. BC Hydro tweeted again wondering FortisBC’s function of 15 consistent with cent RNG via 2030 and highlighting the incentives BC Hydro was offering house owners.

In 2021, BC Hydro submitted its Built-In Resource Plan to the BC Utilities Commission outlining its way to meet electrical energy call for for the following two decades. BC Hydro relied on modelling research that presentations that under a situation the place B.C. adopts stronger insurance policies to fulfill its emissions discounts targets, heat pumps would be the dominant supply of heating in buildings by way of 2050, and BC Hydro plans to provide enough electrical energy to satisfy this call for. 

in this situation, combustion would supply only 16 in line with cent of residential heating, 1/2 it from wood.

While it involves making a selection lately, BC Hydro says the trail is apparent for people who need to minimize their emissions.

“Our hydroelectricity is clean. It comes from renewable resources. We Are a leader in western North America whilst it involves clean electricity era,” stated Simi Heer, a spokesperson for BC Hydro. 

The application says its goal is to assist people transfer away from burning fossil fuels for house and water heating, and announced incentives price $26 million to inspire other people to modify to gadgets like warmth pumps that run on electricity.

It is still to be seen how the two utilities will reconcile their local weather plans as B.C. and Canada head right into a net-zero future.

— Inayat Singh

Reader feedback

We got a host of responses to Emily Chung’s piece final week on a co-op geothermal heating initiative in Montreal. Here’s one from Ellen McDonnell in Christina Lake, B.C.

“My husband and i had been using geothermal heat as our primary heat source since 2012. we now have a picket-burning fireside, electric baseboards and propane fireplaces for backup. We infrequently need the electrical baseboards, which saves us so much.

“the primary iciness we most effective had horizontal lines and so they ran out of heat approximately mid-December. the following summer season we put in three 250-foot 61-metre wells for one continuous line. it works nice — most effective whilst now we have long sessions of –15 C does it battle. The backup heat offers the geo a bit of a relax all the way through these times. Here at Christina Lake, we get maybe one- or two-week classes of –15 weather. The geo was once also improbable within the summer season once we hit 40 C ultimate year. It cools us all summer season.

“We needed to learn all approximately geothermal on our own. We were given no assist from any person, with the exception of a chum in Germany, where there is a lot more data available. we expect our device, with the applying to transform the heat into forced air, cost approximately $FORTY,000, which have to be recouped in approximately 15 years. it will have been great to get some assist with taxes or one thing.

“This source of heating is the longer term as a ways as we’re concerned. So satisfied to listen to that co-op in Montreal has were given started with it.”

Write us at [email protected].

Old issues of What on this planet? are here.

There May Be additionally a radio display and podcast! From u . s . musicians to hikers, ranchers to First Countries, the question of coal in Alberta has ignited a combat that crosses political traces. What In The World host Laura Lynch digs into the problem of open pit mines in the Rocky Mountains. What On This Planet airs Sunday at 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m. in Newfoundland. Subscribe for your favourite podcast app or hear it on call for at CBC Concentrate.

The Large Image: Gasoline growth via sensitive habitat

After Emily Chung wrote about Ontario’s plan to enlarge its herbal fuel network, Alex Juhasz, a reader in Penticton, B.C., wrote in to say that Ontario is not the one province the place gasoline networks is also growing. as the earlier article indicated, FortisBC aims to keep herbal gas a big part of B.C.’s long term power combine. It Is trying to get acclaim for a community expansion, the Okanagan Capacity Upgrade, for building starting in 2022 or 2023. The application mentioned the “extension of present methods will stay tempo with regional expansion now and into the longer term.”

Juhasz is worried approximately how this may occasionally have an effect on natural habitat. To make his element, he sent a number of footage from his property in Penticton, which features, among other creatures, the bighorn sheep seen beneath.

“This Is a loopy project to consider whilst there are possible choices to heat homes, water and cook dinner meals; e.g. electricity, especially with Site C hydroelectric project approaching board in the close to future, as well as solar, geothermal,” Juhasz wrote. “My wife and that i to boot as a contiguous neighbour averted the pipeline from facing our properties right here in rural Penticton, saving a large swath of ecologically sensitive habitat.” However, he mentioned, if authorized, a new proposed direction will undergo a vernal pond that is the breeding habitat of the spadefoot toad – “not good.”

The Penticton Indian Band has also raised questions about the impact of more gasoline infrastructure on inclined species. Fortis says mitigation measures will be advanced in the course of the unique engineering section of the venture.

As Canada tackles building emissions, what's a natural gas utility to do?

(Submitted through Alex Juhasz)

Hot and stricken: Provocative ideas from across the internet

As part of a bigger effort to scale back single-use packaging, France has decreed that almost all fruit and vegetables can not be wrapped in plastic. 

While it comes to lowering, reusing and recycling, we do not regularly think of homes. But creator Sarah Sheehan argues that reusing, as opposed to razing, antique homes is a very easy method to scale back our carbon footprint.

Aviation is thought of as a troublesome industry to decarbonize. However a new observe means that hydrogen-powered planes just like the ones being evolved by means of Airbus and ZeroAvia may just deal with a third of passenger flights — those representing shorter trips.

Billions in public funds are being invested in carbon seize projects in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Narwhal takes a deep dive into why those projects are debatable, how a lot carbon they are taking pictures and what’s next for the generation.

Fort Frances used to be the 1st Ontario the city to ban unmarried-use plastics. So how has it long past?

As Canada tackles building emissions, what's a natural gas utility to do?

(Michael Wilson/CBC)

as the federal government prepares to enforce a unmarried-use plastics ban sooner than the tip of 2022, one town in northwestern Ontario has already had a 12 months’s price of apply.

On Jan. 1, 2021, Fortress Frances became the first municipality in the province to ban single-use plastics, and a few businesses and shoppers say the transition to recyclable and compostable choices has been somewhat smooth. 

then again, the city has opted to lengthen enforcing the bylaw until June 30 of this yr on account of provide chain considerations raised via some restaurant house owners.

The bylaw prohibits the distribution of Styrofoam takeout packing containers, plastic swizzle sticks, stir sticks and straws, to boot as plastic grocery bags. It incorporates a bunch of exceptions, equivalent to allowing plastic straws to be handed out upon request.

“it’s been regular really well,” mentioned Craig Sanders, who owns The Place, an impartial grocery store. “I mean, for the first couple of days, there have been a couple of people complaining, but it doesn’t take other folks long to get used to the theory that there’s been a change, and that is how issues must be.”

Sanders spent so much of the 12 months making ready to transition from plastic grocery baggage and located a provider that gives a compostable alternative.

“Plastic baggage had been costing us simply over cents,” he mentioned. “the new ones are costing us 12 to fifteen cents, depending on whether it is paper or plastic. So we’ve got applied a fee. And we’re seeing folks convey their very own baggage a lot more frequently.”

Sarah Noonan, one in every of the eating place homeowners who signed the letter to the city asking it to lengthen the penalty segment of the ban, stated she’s no longer opposed to serving to the surroundings. 

Noonan, who owns L. A. Place Rendez-Vous, a resort and eating place, mentioned she’s been replacing single-use shampoo bottles in her resort rooms with refillable dispensers. She does not use Styrofoam packaging for her takeout meals and stopped giving out straws lengthy earlier than the bylaw was once handed. She’s also been the use of paper instead of plastic baggage for greater than a yr.  

However up to date supply problems have averted her from being constant about that, she stated.

“We could not get paper luggage for slightly whilst,” she mentioned. “This provide chain stuff is insane.” 

Noonan’s restaurant went straw-loose after she took an environmental pledge at a Toronto food display a couple of years ago, despite the fact that she started offering them once more upon request.

“We got barely any complaints,” she stated. “But we stored tens of hundreds of straws a yr, so it used to be a very simple restoration.… You’re doing one thing excellent for the surroundings and also you do not need to purchase that provide anymore.”

The a part of the bylaw that restricts straws is arguable with advocates for individuals with disabilities. 

Nicole Pentney wrote a letter to the city council in November 2019 elevating issues that a straw ban might discriminate in opposition to people with disabilities who rely on them to assist consume beverages.

Council opted to permit eating places to offer out straws upon request, but Pentney, an established social services employee, stated she still had considerations.

“Sadly, the ban on plastic straws has made them unavailable in most eating places,” she wrote in a message to CBC Information. “Whilst some eating places may have them to be had upon request, the ban has successfully made them no longer available in all locations to these with a need for them.”

Nicole LaPine, a stroke survivor, stated that once the bylaw got here out, “i used to be hurt that people assumed that individuals who used single-use straws had been hurting the planet.” 

Coun. Douglas Judson, a proponent of the bylaw, stated the straws-on-call for rule used to be designed to strike a stability among environmental objectives and the desires of people with disabilities. Pentney mentioned she would like to peer the straw ban scrapped.

Every Other concern about the bylaw revolves round wording.

“i truly don’t absolutely bear in mind what the ban is yet, to be honest,” mentioned Noonan. 

She emailed CBC News a replica of a The Town of Citadel Frances poster that stated, “No industry shall sell or supply unmarried-use food packaging to a consumer for the purpose of transporting, containing or facilitating the intake of ready food or drinks gained by means of the buyer from the industry.”

The bylaw, on the other hand, states that simplest foam packaging is prohibited. Judson confirmed the ban simplest applies to Styrofoam packaging and never to different takeout boxes.

“If there is confusion around that, we do have work to do in our communications,” he said.

Overall, Judson mentioned, he is proud of town’s response to the plastics ban. 

“Again in overdue 2019, whilst i started shopping the speculation around, I went to the chamber of trade, I went to the local industry development affiliation, and that i did not truly get any terrible pushback,” he stated. 

“i think it’s a specialized example … of ways native executive and municipalities can show management on bigger problems.”

– Heather Kitching

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Editor: Andre Mayer | Logo layout: Sködt McNalty

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