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Subsidizing natural gas not a long-term solution for clean energy needs

OTTAWA, APRIL 13, 2021 – The Canadian Propane Association (CPA) believes that it is a mistake for the government of Ontario to continue to directly or indirectly subsidize natural gas companies’ plans to expand into communities not currently connected to the natural gas system as consultations for Phase 2 of the natural gas expansion program by the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines closed on April 8.

“As the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines is considering 210 new projects in Phase 2, representing approximately $2.6 billion in investment with taxpayers’ money,  we think it is a mistake for the government to believe that allowing for the subsidizing of natural gas companies is the best and only way to make cleaner and more affordable energy accessible to Indigenous, rural and remote communities in Ontario,” said Nathalie St-Pierre, President of the Canadian Propane Association.

“In fact, propane – a clean energy – is already well established in these communities.  Using low-emission propane is very affordable and the infrastructure already in place, which means it does not require new and expensive infrastructure, unlike natural gas, the costs of which are passed along to taxpayers,” she added.

As all Canadian provinces migrate towards a low-carbon economy, it is legitimate to ask whether building new natural gas distribution infrastructure, which will have to be maintained for well over 50 years, is the only solution.

“Propane has just about the same carbon footprint as natural gas but does not require any such large, permanent, and subsidized infrastructure. It is readily available, highly efficient, and creates significantly more local employment,” said St-Pierre. “The best public policy is one that gives consumers a real choice for clean and affordable energy, not one that is only favoured as a result of subsidies.”

Over the last few years, there have been millions of taxpayers’ dollars invested to expand the natural gas system where it was not economically viable to do so.  Yet, in spite of these investments and changes in the rules to allow for non-viable projects to occur, customers are not rushing to convert to natural gas because of the long-term costs. “To continue with such a policy approach is not sustainable,” said St-Pierre.

Governments across Canada need to put a sharper focus on comprehensive and lasting energy policies, especially for Indigenous, rural, and remote communities.

“The CPA believes it is very important that governments prioritize the expanded use of low-emission propane which is affordable, reliable, and an abundant source of Canadian energy. The results will not only be the immediate reduction of GHGs but also the creation of jobs, capital investments, and economic value in Indigenous, rural, and remote communities,” concluded St-Pierre.

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About the Canadian Propane Association:

With over 400 members, the Canadian Propane Association (CPA) is the national association for a growing, multi-billion-dollar industry that impacts the livelihood of tens of thousands of Canadians. Our mission is to promote a safe and thriving propane industry that plays a vital role in Canada’s energy sector. To achieve this, we champion propane and the propane industry in Canada and facilitate best practices, safety, and a favourable business environment through advocacy, training, and emergency response.

For more information, contact Tammy Hirsch, Sr. Director, Communications and Marketing at media@propane.ca  or phone 587-349-5876.