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Could Quebec be the first North American state to be carbon neutral? Energy minister says it's his goal


Quebec's energy minister has ambitious plans to make the province the first state in North America to be carbon neutral.

Pierre Fitzgibbon was in Montreal Tuesday, speaking in front of a packed crowd as he revealed the lofty goal.

Quebec would have to offset the same amount of carbon dioxide the province emits.

"If I compared to the other jurisdictions, the pressure that exists on public finance, I think we've got the proper allocation of resources to make it happen," he said.

Fitzgibbon said Hydro-Quebec no longer has a surplus of energy, so Quebec has to be strategic in which projects it will invest and carefully allocate its megawatts of energy.

"We are faced with not being able to allocate energy to very good projects," he said, adding that reducing energy consumption is key.

He said that if all homes built before 1960 were properly insulated and had heat pumps, Quebec would save twice the energy produced by the La Romaine hydroelectric complex.

"We need to find incentives to get the proper behaviour, because it's not only about people consuming less electricity, taking a shower at 2 o'clock in the morning, starting their dishwasher at 2 o'clock in the morning. It's about providing the tools, using the current technology, and making them available," he said.

On Monday, Hydro-Quebec's rates increased for consumers, and Fitzgibbon said that it would continue, adding, though, that residential rates are capped at 3 per cent for the short and medium term.

Without going into specifics, Fitzgibbon said he would soon table a bill at the Quebec legislature to give Hydro-Quebec the ability to improve its production. Top Stories

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