Quebec to put damper on fossil fuel heating

Quebec to put damper on fossil fuel heating

Monday, May 17, 2021

Pending restrictions on fossil fuel heating could push some Quebec landlords and condominium corporations to replace boilers and other heating and domestic hot water equipment sooner than they had expected. A draft regulation posted in the Gazette du Québec last month signals the government’s intent to prohibit oil heating in new residential construction after December 31, 2021, and to disallow installation of boilers, furnaces and water heaters fired with any kind of fossil fuel in “certain existing residential buildings” after December 31, 2023.

These new rules would be under the auspices of the Act mainly to ensure effective governance of the fight against climate change and to promote electrification, which the Quebec legislative assembly adopted in October 2020. As summarized in the Gazette, the proposed regulation would also prohibit repairs to equipment of specified vintage after December 31, 2023, effectively necessitating replacement with a different fuel option.

Accompanying analysis estimates these new rules will engender a largely revenue-neutral shift in energy demand — translating to a $370-million loss for oil refineries and distributors between 2022 and 2030, and a $367-million gain for the electricity and biomass sectors in the same period. In addition, heating equipment suppliers and maintenance contractors are projected to take a $2.1-million hit.

On the plus side, the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants is calculated to have a net benefit of more than $173 million over nine years. The draft regulation also establishes monetary penalties for non-compliance.

The Quebec government could enact the regulation as early as June 5, or 45 days after the draft was posted. Until then, interested parties are invited to submit comments to carl.dufour@environnement.gouv.qc.ca, director, emissions reduction division, Ministère de l’Environnement.

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