GHG Impact from Green Power Subsidy is Cost-Superior to Green Heat

The federal subsidy to generate green power costs $222 per tonne of GHG displaced, according to government data, while its subsidy for green heat is $1,800 per tonne.

The federal subsidy to generate green power costs $222 per tonne of GHG displaced, according to government data, while its subsidy for green heat is $1,800 per tonne.


The ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program will invest $1,480 million over four years to incent electricity from wind, biomass, low-impact hydro, geothermal, solar PV and ocean energy, explains Environment Canada in its report, 'A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act.' The program provides an incentive of 1/kWh for ten years to qualifying projects and, by 2012, the expected GHG reductions will be 6.67 Mt.

The ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat initiative will invest $36 million over the same period, in incentives and industry development to support solar air and solar water heating. By 2012, the expected reductions will be 0.02 Mt.

Media reports have already noted that the federal subsidy for public transit would cost $36,000 for every car removed from the road.

GHG emissions from the ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program were estimated based on expected total capacity, associated clean generation, and an emission factor of displaced fuel. The expected capacity was estimated based on program experience, earlier program development consultations, industry information, and the level of funding. For reductions from the ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat, estimates are based on the number of expected projects, associated energy savings, and an emission factor of displaced fuel. The number of expected projects was estimated based on prior experience and the level of program funding.

The report also details the impact from the millions in other ecoENERGY programs.

"Even with tough new federal regulations and the commitments to close dirty coal-fired power plants and increase the use of renewable and nuclear energy, emissions from electricity generation are projected to be 90 Mt in 2020 - still the single largest source of GHG in Canada," the report notes. The federal government wants another 25 Mt of emissions reductions from the power sector by that time, equivalent to closing seven coal-fired plants, and it will set up a clean electricity task force to work with the provinces and industry to meet that goal. "If required, the government of Canada is ready to use its regulatory powers to ensure that these reductions are achieved."

The prediction model used by the federal government assumes that mandates for ethanol content in gasoline will be implemented by the provinces and that all provinces will adopt Renewable Portfolio Standards.

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