Report on energy in Quebec: Filling the information gap
As innovative projects drive the province’s energy sector forward, Quebeckers continue to purchase ever-larger vehicles, offsetting any energy efficiency gains made possible by these projects. The latest edition of État de l’énergie au Québec, an annual report aimed at addressing the lack of accessible information in the energy sector, confirms that unless structural changes are put in place that go well beyond new renewable energy facilities, the government targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will not be achieved.
AN ANNUAL REPORT OFFERING A MORE OBJECTIVE OVERVIEW
The disparity in Quebec and Canadian statistics makes it difficult to grasp the state of the energy sector. It also compromises the decision-making ability of the relevant stakeholders on a range of issues that may upset various economic, political, social and environmental balances
This is why the Chair in Energy Sector Management has been proposing, since 2015, an annual report intended for both industry stakeholders and the general public. The report is supplemented every year by new tools and unpublished data. This consistent presentation of the most recent data available is also an opportunity to sound alarm signals and make recommendations to the federal and provincial governments.
A WEALTH OF UPDATED INFORMATION
COVID-19 drove energy consumption in Quebec down significantly in 2020, but as ordinary life resumes, energy consumption is also rebounding. The oil industry was hit hardest: from July to September 2020, sales across Canada were down 15% to 20% from the previous year.
Trends in vehicle sales observed over the past few years were unaffected by the pandemic: sales of SUVs and other light trucks continued to rise (+284% between 1990 and 2019), while car sales dropped (-29% between 1990 and 2019). Sales of electric vehicles increased to 6% of total sales in 2019.
Gaps between regions have widened. The number of vehicles per 1,000 people rose from 5% to 12% between 2010 and 2019 in Quebec’s less urban regions, but the increase is under 5% in Montréal, Laval and the Quebec City area. Per capita fuel sales fell in these three regions but went up everywhere else in Quebec.
The share of fuel used in Quebec that comes from Canada and the United States has increased considerably since 2015. It is estimated that approximately 46% of the fuel Quebeckers used in 2020 came from western Canada and 54% came from the United States.
Biomethanization is gaining ground in Quebec, with new biofuel plants on the horizon and a number of green hydrogen projects in the works. These initiatives, however, will not be enough to escape the impacts of climate change.