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Thread: Ontario considering phasing out natural gas for residential

  1. #1

    Default Ontario considering phasing out natural gas for residential

    Hard to believe. There would be impacts in Alberta of course (trans Canada pipeline supplies much of the gas), and in the US (where, also, a lot of the gas is now supplied from). Not surprisingly, not everyone thinks it makes sense:

    Ontario's environment minister insists the province won't eliminate natural gas for home heating as part of a soon-to-be-released plan to fight climate change.

    Glen Murray refused to confirm or deny a Globe and Mail report saying the province would spend $7 billion over four years to reduce its carbon footprint, partly by phasing out residential natural gas heating and greatly increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road.

    "Within the next couple of weeks you'll see the entire action plan, supporting documents will be properly released," Murray told reporters.

    The province's goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent by '30 and 80 per cent by '50.

    The Globe said it obtained a copy of the 57-page Climate Change Action Plan that calls on the province to phase out natural gas for heating, which is currently used in 76 per cent of Ontario homes.

    It said the government would spend $3.8 billion on grants, rebates and subsidies to retrofit buildings and move them off natural gas and onto geothermal, solar or other forms of energy. The plan would require that all new homes built in Ontario in 2030 or later be heated without the use of fossil fuels.
    http://www.thespec.com/news-story/65...only-liberals/

    Having grown up on an island that has no natural gas, and remembering a cold house in winter because of the cost to power all the electric heaters, I find this ludicrous.

  2. #2
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    For a province that doesn't reply on coal or natural gas for electricity like Alberta, I see their idea. It's basically the next step in reducing fossil fuel usage and reducing carbon footprint.

    They're not talking about getting rid of natural gas for existing homes, just new builds by 2030, and all buildings by like 2050.

    Basically they're wanting houses to be much more passive in their heating designs. So better actual design (this one is key, and goes against the traditional cookie-cutter same house, different lot developer model) and better insulation.

    Basically government driven push to innovate and get better. Like fuel economy targets in the US, or other emissions and related requirements.

    My concern would be that's its too prescriptive, vs letting their be innovation in how people solve the problem.

  3. #3

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    I agree

    One ice storm or problems with the grid and they are in real trouble. Many people will switch to more expensive propane for their fireplaces.

    Follow the money,
    The Government of Ontario does not have a monopoly on natural gas.

    Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is a Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Ontario.

    Read TAX GRAB
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Channing View Post
    Basically they're wanting houses to be much more passive in their heating designs. So better actual design (this one is key, and goes against the traditional cookie-cutter same house, different lot developer model) and better insulation.
    Couldn't you build cookie cutter energy efficient same houses? If design gets more expensive, because its more challenging, then I expect you will have fewer and more generic designs, with less variety. Its like how autos all look so similar today compared to the past because they all have similar crash test standards / aerodynamic fuel efficiency goals, or how in Japan all the houses are boxes because that's the most space efficient structure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Channing View Post
    Basically they're wanting houses to be much more passive in their heating designs. So better actual design (this one is key, and goes against the traditional cookie-cutter same house, different lot developer model) and better insulation.
    Couldn't you build cookie cutter energy efficient same houses? If design gets more expensive, because its more challenging, then I expect you will fewer and more generic designs, with less variety. Its like how autos all look so similar today compared to the past because they all have similar crash test standards / aerodynamic fuel efficiency goals.
    The problem is passive design requires site specific design. Where is the sun? What is the shape of the lot? What buildings surround it?

    Passive cookie cutters take you further. But without actual site specific design, you're going to be less successful.
    Last edited by Channing; 17-05-2016 at 09:09 AM.

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    This is a terrible type of regulatory system. Instead, they should just attach a price set at full impact cost to all emissions and let people decide for themselves if they are willing to pay.

    Also, I will never give up my gas range or grill.

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    Unless they are also planning to build about 10 more nuclear reactors, this is a ridiculous idea. Renewable electricity isn't going to work well to supply heating loads. Solar will be completely useless when the sun goes down on cold winter nights and wind will be hit or miss, with lots of output during a storm but nothing when calm, cold air settles in behind it. That will leave gas fired backup generators that will lose at least 40% of the energy in the gas in the conversion to electricity, or worse yet importing coal fired power from the USA.

    On the other hand, this is the way forward if you have lots of reliable, carbon-free base load nuclear power. Going back to an electric stove and a propane grill would suck, but it would be hard to justify the $1000 a year per customer cost of maintaining gas distribution infrastructure just for cooking.
    Last edited by Titanium48; 17-05-2016 at 01:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I agree

    One ice storm or problems with the grid and they are in real trouble. Many people will switch to more expensive propane for their fireplaces.
    An ice storm takes out your heating system whether it's electric or natural gas. That's a pretty pointless example. If you don't have power to turn the fan in your furnace, or circulate water in a hydronic system, you don't have heat. Regardless of what the source of that heat is. Basically no modern heating system will operate without power, whether it's electric, propane, natural gas, heating oil, or biomass.

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    With Wynne's popularity sitting around 20% and an election in 2018 I doubt she can do too much more. It is pretty much impossible for her to make any legislation that would be effective for 2030.
    https://www.thestar.com/opinion/comm...r-hepburn.html

    However, the province should encourage energy efficient building techniques, they can do things like tax credits or 0% interest construction loans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I agree

    One ice storm or problems with the grid and they are in real trouble. Many people will switch to more expensive propane for their fireplaces.
    An ice storm takes out your heating system whether it's electric or natural gas. That's a pretty pointless example. If you don't have power to turn the fan in your furnace, or circulate water in a hydronic system, you don't have heat. Regardless of what the source of that heat is. Basically no modern heating system will operate without power, whether it's electric, propane, natural gas, heating oil, or biomass.
    Many natural gas fireplaces don't need electricity to work. See here:
    If you have a natural gas fireplace, make sure it is serviced and working properly. Many natural gas fireplaces will continue to work without electricity
    https://www.hydro.mb.ca/safety/power...prepared.shtml

    Beware the law of unintended consequences. Should natural gas distribution no longer be available in new neighbourhoods, I wouldn't be surprised to see propane tanks popping up instead. No only for when the grid may be down, but also to light up gas stoves and backyard BBQs.

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    ^True, mine worked after a power cut last year. But for most homes with a furnace, electricity is critical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley
    Many natural gas fireplaces don't need electricity to work. See here:
    Virtually any natural gas fireplace that is less than 20 years old will not operate without electricity, as the appliance requires power to vent itself and it would be an outright hazard to the dwelling occupants for it to operate without said venting. If your natural gas fireplace replaced an old wood one and vents in to an old school chimney, great, you're good to go. If it's a small sleeve style one that vents sidewall (which is likely the vast, vast majority out there), then you're hooped.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Virtually any natural gas fireplace that is less than 20 years old will not operate without electricity,
    Mind did (its a 2007 condo), although I guess its possible the back up generator for the building covered it (unlikely though, as mostly just the corridors were on).

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    Gas fireplaces are not high efficiency appliances and can use natural draft concentric venting systems that do not require electricity. There are gas water heaters that do the same, but they are hard to find for some reason.

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    Hydro bills have already ticked a lot of Ontarians off even winter is so mild this past winter, they billed them little higher. it doesn't make any sense at all.
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