Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Greening of Quebec

June 24th is a good time to explore the greening of the Canadian province of Quebec. Each year Saint Jean Baptiste Day, also known as the "Fête nationale du Québec" and "Quebec's National Holiday" is held on this day. Traditionally the day marks the feast day of St John the Baptist, however, it has become a secular day of celebration in French Canada and Quebec in particular. A number of festivities will occur across the province on this day.

The patriotic tone of the Saint Jean Baptiste Day celebrations in Quebec was started by the journalist Ludger Duvernay in 1843 when he established the St. Jean Baptiste Society. In the 1960s the day became highly politicized. The fleurs-de-lis is the primary symbol of the day it is also on the flag of the province of Quebec. Historically fleurs-de-lis was a symbol of French speaking people.

Historically the government of Quebec has been at the forefront of the green movement with massive hydroelectric investments in the far north. More recently they have been providing incentives to the buyers of hybrid vehicles. The fact that the provinces energy is largely derived from renewable hydroelectric sources makes it the perfect partner for electric transportation of all types.

In 2011 Hydro Quebec on behalf of "The Electric Circuit" group, launched the first open request for proposals from suppliers to provide public charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles. There are currently 409 charging stations in Quebec (click here for more details).

In 2011 the provincial government under then Premier Jean Charest announced Quebec was investing $30 million in a pilot project to build two of the greenest electric buses in the world. Private investors will provide another $33 million for the project, which will be run by a group called the Electric Bus Consortium which includes Nova Bus, Bathium Canada, TM4, Giro, Rene Materiaux Composites and Precicad for the full sized bus and Infodev, StyleTech and Structures CPI are teaming up to build the microbus.

Montreal is Quebec's largest city and they have set up an electric bus pilot program. Nova Bus and Société de transport de Montréal recently unveiled an all-electric bus for a Montreal pilot program. Electric buses are not the only project in Montreal. Mayor Denis Coderre said that there is a plan for a car-sharing network of 1,000 EVs and to switch the city fleet to electric drive.

Quebec's current premiere is Phillippe Couillard, under his leadership the provincial government recently signed a cap-and-trade deal. Couillard has also bowed to those protestors in the province who came out in large numbers to voice their opposition to the energy east tar sands pipeline. Couillard recently indicated that he sees little economic value in the energy east pipeline. He supports continuing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. In the absence of federal leadership going into the COP 21 climate talks in Paris, Quebec is looking to play a prominent role.

In 2012 the province had GHG emissions of 78.3 Mt CO2 representing a total of 11.2 percent of Canada's emissions.

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