Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon.
A major battery factory is also being built in Windsor, Ontario, by Stellantis and LG Energy Solution. These companies renegotiated their agreement with the federal government last year to be as generous as Volkswagen's, which provides billions of dollars in potential subsidies for each battery manufactured.
According to Mr. Champagne, for 2024, the emphasis will be placed on increasing support for small and medium-sized businesses that will support these megaprojects, as well as on #x27;energy required to operate them all.
We are wondering how to further develop mining and refining, the minister said. What we need is to bring electricity to these communities.
Mr. Champagne believes Canada must focus in the coming months and years on the development of small nuclear reactors and the expansion of other renewable energy sources, noting that energy is already become a factor in project approval.
We've seen a number of projects where we need to see where they can go in the country, because some jurisdictions are becoming limited in terms of production capacity of energy, he mentioned.
Mr. Champagne did not identify the projects in question. But his comment echoes that of Quebec Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, who said last year that Quebec would have to make difficult choices.
In a speech given in May before the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Mr. Fitzgibbon declared that the demand for electricity was increasing so quickly that Quebec – which produces more than a third of Canada's total electricity – would exhaust its electricity surpluses by the end of 2026.
Our surpluses have melted like glaciers under the sun of climate change, Mr. Fitzgibbon said.
According to him, demand is increasing so quickly that the province will not be able to say yes every time an industrial user asks for more electricity to expand or settle in Quebec .
Canada is already one of the best countries in the world for producing electricity from non-polluting sources. Nationally, more than 80% of electricity comes from hydroelectric dams, wind farms, solar panels and small amounts of tidal power and biomass.
However, the federal government predicts that to ensure its climate transition, the country will need two to three times more renewable energy by 2050.
By 2035, Canada intends to ensure that 100% of electricity is not emitting, that is, it is produced from renewable fuels or from installations using fossil fuels and equipped with carbon capture and storage systems.
The federal government is also pushing for gasoline cars to stop being sold after 2035 and for most medium and heavy-duty vehicles to run on electricity by 2040.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Ottawa argues that electric heat pumps are a better option for home heating than traditional gas or oil boilers, while providing incentives for large businesses to use less fossil fuels.
All of this will require a lot more energy. The Canada Energy Regulator predicts that electricity demand will increase by almost 50% over the next 30 years, mainly due to the needs of electric vehicles and hydrogen production.
The head of the Clean Energy Canada program at Simon Fraser University, Evan Pivnick, argues that Canada's electricity supply has grown very gradually over time, and is suddenly faced with massive expansion in just a few decades.
The reality is that we have never experienced this type transition before, he explains.
According to Pivnick, until now the system has often grown based on demand. But Canada must now start building more energy to offer investors when they look for a place to set up a new store.
This will require coordination between governments, utilities and industries, which has not always been the case until now.
Volkswagen was among the companies that made it clear that it chose Canada for its first North American electric vehicle battery plant last year, in part due to access to ;renewable energy.
Minister Champagne made it clear that clean energy was a major selling point for him in any conversation with investors.