Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Globe and Mail claims to have seen a leaked confidential seven billion dollar Ontario master plan, for all new homes to use geothermal or electric heating by 2030, and to provide grants to retrofit older buildings.
Ontario to spend $7-billion on sweeping climate change plan
The Ontario government will spend more than $7-billion over four years on a sweeping climate change plan that will affect every aspect of life – from what people drive to how they heat their homes and workplaces – in a bid to slash the province’s carbon footprint.
Ontario will begin phasing out natural gas for heating, provide incentives to retrofit buildings and give rebates to drivers who buy electric vehicles. It will also require that gasoline sold in the province contain less carbon, bring in building code rules requiring all new homes by 2030 to be heated with electricity or geothermal systems, and set a target for 12 per cent of all new vehicle sales to be electric by 2025.
- $3.8-billion for new grants, rebates and other subsidies to retrofit buildings, and move them off natural gas and onto geothermal, solar power or other forms of electric heat. Many of these programs will be administered by a new Green Bank, modelled on a similar agency in New York State, to provide financing for solar and geothermal projects.
- New building code rules that will require all homes and small buildings built in 2030 or later to be heated without using fossil fuels, such as natural gas. This will be expanded to all buildings before 2050. Other building code changes will require major renovations to include energy-efficiency measures. All homes will also have to undergo an energy-efficiency audit before they are sold.
- $285-million for electric vehicle incentives. These include a rebate of up to $14,000 for every electric vehicle purchased; up to $1,000 to install home charging; taking the provincial portion of the HST off electric vehicle sales; an extra subsidy program for low– and moderate-income households to get older cars off the road and replace them with electric; and free overnight electricity for charging electric vehicles.
If I lived in Ontario, I would be deeply concerned about this plan.
Electric home heating is fine, until the electricity fails. When my family lived in Britain, our 6Kw coal burner was indispensable, especially when power lines were damaged by blizzards.
Geothermal systems, heat pumps which take advantage of the relatively constant ground temperature, are expensive, and require electric power to operate.
As for electric cars, a petroleum or diesel car can keep the occupants warm and safe for many hours, if the car is trapped in heavy snow. An electric car, with its much lower energy density, and the susceptibility of batteries to cold, not so much.