Technological innovation: Pilot projects to test dual-energy solutions using both electricity and natural gas
February 16, 2022 - Press releases
Hydro-Québec and Énergir have taken yet another step towards setting up a dual-energy solution that would make it possible for natural gas heating systems to run on electricity in order to reduce the GHG emissions associated with residential, commercial and institutional buildings.
In the coming months, three institutional partners—the Aquarium du Québec, an institution of the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (Sépaq), the Centre multifonctionnel de Contrecœur and the École Très-Saint-Sacrement elementary school of the Centre de services scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys in Lachine—will test different devices that use both electricity and natural gas. The use of dual energy will help reduce their natural gas consumption by relying on electricity most of the time and natural gas only in very cold weather.
The aim of the pilot projects is to test current technologies and determine an effective balance between electricity and natural gas ahead of the implementation of a service offer for the commercial and institutional sectors in the coming months subject to the approval of the Régie de l’énergie.
At the same time, the two distributors are leading pilot projects in the residential market to optimize the experience for customers who choose dual energy as a replacement for natural gas. The offer for this market is expected to be launched this summer, subject to the approval of the Régie de l’énergie.
A unique partnership to decarbonize buildings in Québec
These pilot projects are being launched as part of the partnership initiated last July between Hydro-Québec and Énergir to reduce the natural gas consumption of participating customers by just over 70% and thus lower the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with heating residential, commercial and institutional buildings. The principle of dual energy using both electricity and natural gas lies in the replacement of natural gas systems with dual energy options to heat buildings with electricity most of the time and natural gas only in very cold weather.
The historical consumption peaks recorded during the recent cold snaps highlight the importance of efficient electricity use to reduce pressure on Hydro-Québec’s power system when the demand for electricity is high. Dual energy is an excellent way to maximize the proportion of electricity in building heating while limiting the impact on peak periods.
By 2030, the increased electrification of buildings as a result of dual energy will offset 540,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent—the emissions produced by 125,000 vehicles—at the lowest cost to society. This partnership will help reach the Québec government’s target of a 50% reduction in GHG emissions in the building sector by 2030.
“The launch of the pilot projects marks a concrete step toward the implementation of the dual energy electricity-natural gas solution—one we look forward to offering our customers in order to support them in their decarbonization efforts. It constitutes a cornerstone of our vision for the future to ultimately reduce the natural gas consumption of buildings and remain present where and when there is value.”
– Valérie Sapin, Director of Marketing and Innovation, Énergir
“The electrification of Québec is accelerating. Dual energy represents an added tool for us to provide our customers with reliable service while limiting the pressure during peak demand periods. The pilot projects will enable us to test and refine the complementary use of electricity and natural gas for institutional and commercial customers.”
– Sabrina Harbec, Director – Programmes commerciaux, expertise énergétique et affaires réglementaires, Hydro-Québec
“The Centre multifonctionnel is at the heart of community life in Contrecœur. We are therefore very pleased to contribute to this innovative project, which makes the center an even more environmentally friendly space. Our involvement in this process is in keeping with our municipal commitments in regard to reducing GHG emissions and improving energy efficiency.”
– Maud Allaire, Mayor, Ville de Contrecœur
“The conversion of the heating systems at École Très-Saint-Sacrement to a dual energy electricity-natural gas system is in line with our strategies and reflects our commitment to the 17 goals in the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, we are providing our students and all of Montréal with a greener environment.”
– Dominic Bertrand, Director General, Centre de services scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys
“Driven by strong ecological values, the Sépaq is always looking for innovative ideas to reduce its environmental footprint. Being able to test new technologies that could help us take a positive step for the environment at the Aquarium du Québec is exciting.”
– Jacques Caron, Chief Executive Officer, Sépaq
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