Ontario's Doug Ford's Proposed Natural Gas Expansion Is Like Putting 42,560 Cars on the Road

Natural gas expansion

Just what we needed in what was a decarbonizing planet.

It seems like only yesterday that we were writing about how the Netherlands was banning natural gas and disconnecting buildings. The province of Ontario was decarbonizing too, with the previous Liberal government getting rid of coal, investing in renewables, and retubing its fleet of nuclear reactors. But this was expensive, and the price of electricity became a big issue in the recent election won by Doug Ford and the Conservative party.

So now Doug is announcing a big expansion of gas through rural and northern Ontario, "thanks to an innovative partnership with local communities and the private sector."

Natural gas infrastructure is really expensive in low-density rural Ontario, and once people are hooked up, that's pretty much it for the life of the house; they are baking in the carbon emissions for decades. And to be fair, the previous Liberal Government proposed a gas expansion as a pre-election ploy, but far more limited. Doug says this will reach over 70 communities and 38,000 customers. What does this actually mean?

how we heat


UPDATE: A reader points out that a lot of people in rural Ontario heat with propane or oil, so that the number will not be as high as I claim. It is true that converting from them to natural gas would reduce their carbon footprint. According to Tyler Hamilton writing for TVO, "Households that use oil would reduce their emissions by 27 percent if they switched to natural gas. Switching from propane to natural gas would result in a 16 percent reduction in emissions." However, the majority of houses not on natural gas are heated by electricity.