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Ottawa not against the revival of nuclear power in Quebec

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OTTAWA | The federal government presented its draft regulations on clean electricity on Thursday morning, which opens the door wide to nuclear energy, which the new boss of Hydro-Québec, Michael Sabia, is exploring.

• Read also: Nuclear energy: “There are capital decisions that are taken and we know nothing”, deplores the opposition

• Read also: Nuclear energy: Hydro-Québec could reactivate Gentilly-2

• Read also: Nuclear energy is an interesting option for decarbonizing, explains an energy researcher at CÉRIUM

In search of new sources of energy, Mr. Sabia has just initiated an analysis on the revival of the Gentilly-2 nuclear power plant in Bécancour, inactive since 2012, revealed The newspaper This morning.

If the project goes ahead, it will have the federal government’s assent and will not violate its new clean electricity regulations that aim to make Canada’s power grid carbon neutral by 2050, reports Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.

  • Patrick Bonin, head of the Climate-Energy campaign at Greenpeace was on the microphone of Marie Montpetit to rebel against Gentilly-2 via QUB-radio :

“The government has no technological preference, we are not prescriptive on the type of non-emitting technology chosen,” he said this morning in Toronto, where he presented his new regulations.

These regulations, which must be the subject of a 75-day consultation before reaching a final version next year, establish the standards applicable to electricity generating companies for the whole country.

It does not provide for the exclusion of any energy source other than coal. Whether it’s hydroelectricity, wind power, natural gas or even nuclear power, nothing is excluded, as long as carbon emissions are reduced to zero.

Some electricity generation from natural gas without carbon capture will even be allowed during periods of high demand.

Nearly 85% of the country’s electricity grid is already clean, but demand is expected to double by mid-century if we take into account economic and population growth and the increase in the number of electric vehicles on our roads.

In Quebec alone, more than 100 additional TWh will be required for the province to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

To help companies and the provinces give this major boost to their infrastructures, Ottawa announced in the spring an envelope of $40 billion. Minister Guilbeault indicated this morning that this fund should be sufficient to pay for half of the necessary investments.

The Gentilly-2 plant alone required investments of several billion dollars when the PQ government of Pauline Marois axed it.

To relieve the provinces, Ottawa plans to set aside billions of dollars in tax credits and grants for electricity projects for provinces that commit to having a carbon-neutral electricity grid as early as 2035.

If these tax credits are within reach for Quebec, they are much less so for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick where coal and natural gas still provide between 30% and 85% electricity. In this context, the two prairie provinces are instead aiming for a non-emitting network by 2050.

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