In the new report Net Zero 2050 the Ontario Energy Association reviews the various elements of Ontario’s energy system and some of the options available to the province to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2050. The report finds that transitioning Ontario’s energy system to net zero will encompass one of the largest infrastructure projects in Ontario’s history.

“The OEA supports the goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050,” said Vince Brescia, president and CEO of the OEA. “However, to reach the net zero 2050 goal we must approach the issue holistically. It is important to redirect focus to the entire energy system to support a detailed and realistic analyses of the pathways, potential technologies and costs to ensure our success.”

The OEA is committed to Canada’s goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050 (NZ2050) and seeks to leverage its expertise to assist all levels of government and their agencies to find the optimal pathway to NZ2050 while ensuring customers maintain access to affordable and reliable energy.

The analysis in the report makes it clear that the path to NZ2050 requires Ontario to turn its policy focus to energy use more broadly, in contrast with our historic focus on electricity. In particular, we need to now focus on our emissions related to fossil fuel use which make up 80 per cent of our energy consumption.

According to the report, Ontario should make transportation fuel switching its highest priority. This is because the transportation sector is our largest source of emissions and the easiest to decarbonize with existing technology while still maintaining affordability. Passenger vehicle electrification (EVs), hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), compressed natural gas (CNG), renewable natural gas (RNG), biofuels, energy efficiency and consumer behavior are all discussed as elements of transition in the transportation sector.

The analysis also finds that replacing Ontario’s natural gas system, which heats homes and buildings, would not be practical given the volume of peak energy this system delivers. We will need to continue relying on our gas system and the highly efficient heating technology deployed and available for homes and buildings. This suggests that policies for homes and buildings should focus on reducing GHG emissions intensity through things like renewable natural gas, hydrogen blending, hybrid heating systems, and energy efficiency initiatives.

Finally, the report very clearly points to the need for a comprehensive energy strategy for Ontario that considers all fuels and maps a pathway to net zero 2050. The OEA would like to see the federal and Ontario government work collaboratively on a detailed and comprehensive energy plan for Ontario.

“With careful, transparent and fully informed planning we can make prudent choices to meet climate goals, minimize disruption to people’s lives, and maintain an affordable and reliable energy supply for our customers,” added Brescia.

The report can be found here.

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