By Vince Shuley
In February, 2016, the province of Ontario introduced new climate change legislation that hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. The proposed law will help ensure transparency and accountability for use of Cap and Trade Auction proceeds.
Provincial climate change legislation is a boost to the renewable energy sector, including Fenix Energy’s thermal energy assets and geo-exchange technology.
“Waiting for government legislation is not something you build your business on, but this is an indication of where the industry is going,” says Adrian Ryan, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Fenix Energy.
“The climate initiatives in both Canada and the U.S. are finally coming to fruition. Outside of corporate mandates, there really hasn’t been any federal or provincial push for energy reduction and green initiatives until now.”
Cap and Trade works by government legislation setting a maximum allowable amount of carbon emissions for businesses. If the business reduces its carbon emissions, it can sell or trade its remaining permits to the businesses that are unable to meet the cap. By rewarding the companies that pollute less, Cap and Trade encourages innovative methods to reduce emissions. Ontario hopes to achieve its 2050 goal by lowering the greenhouse gas limits each year. Proceeds from Cap and Trade are then invested into greener technologies, both for businesses and the general public in Ontario.
“For businesses or government services, any emissions over the cap becomes a penalty,” says Ryan. “For example, for some provincial health authorities that can mean multiple millions of dollars. The incentive is now there for them to continuously optimize their buildings and undertake energy conservation projects.”
Ontario now joins Quebec and California as part of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a carbon market for tradeable emission allowances much like the European Union Emissions Trading System. The introduction of climate change legislation in Ontario will hopefully encourage other states and provinces to introduce their own legislation and join the WCI.
“The legislation in Ontario is more a representation of the increased uptake of carbon trade throughout North America,” says Ryan. “It sets a great precedent for the future of renewable energy.”
As countries around the world strive to comply with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate action, Fenix Energy continues to innovate and adapt its methods and delivery of thermal energy assets and geo-exchange systems to help businesses meet their energy consumption and emission targets.