Canada’s Natural Gas Delivery Industry Calling for National Cooperation on the Hydrogen Opportunity
July 7, 2020
Canada’s natural gas delivery industry is prepared to play a leadership role in the integration of hydrogen into Canada’s energy system. Today, we are calling on governments at all levels to work together with our sector and other stakeholders to develop the necessary conditions for Canada to become a global leader in all stages of the hydrogen opportunity, from its production through to its end-use and export.
Canada, like many other countries, is developing a national hydrogen strategy. That strategy, currently under development by Natural Resources Canada, will help define some of the parameters for the many interested players who want to see Canada realize its hydrogen advantage.
As a complementary measure to the strategy, the gas delivery industry recommends the creation of a national task group to develop an implementation plan that will focus on near-term opportunities for hydrogen deployment in a select number of high-priority Canadian cities or regions. This task group should be representative of Canada’s diverse hydrogen supply chain, including our sector.
In the natural gas delivery industry, we are committed to leveraging our world-class energy infrastructure, robust safety culture, and continuous drive for innovation, to realize the hydrogen opportunity. Today, 35% of Canadians’ energy needs are met directly by natural gas. This affordable and abundant energy source is delivered to approximately two-thirds of the Canadian population and customer growth is quickly increasing. As we look to the future, our industry is considering how it might integrate growing volumes of low-emission gaseous energy supply – like hydrogen – that will provide consumers with the same level of energy services as natural gas provides today.
The Government of Canada has set emission reduction targets as part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to meet commitments Canada set for itself under the Paris Agreement. To achieve those targets, a variety of measures are in place or under development, including the proposed clean fuel standard (CFS). Canada’s natural gas utilities are working to find ways to comply with those measures, while continuing to deliver the affordable, reliable energy that Canadians depend on. Hydrogen, with its enormous potential as a low-emission gas, is something that Canada has in abundance. According to expert studies, Canada has the potential to produce some of the world’s lowest-cost, lowest-emitting hydrogen. But delivering that hydrogen will require, like natural gas requires today, robust and reliable energy infrastructure. Canada’s natural gas delivery industry has the system required – the underground pipes, the storage and the know-how.
We are not alone in these efforts: many jurisdictions around the world are planning to incorporate large volumes of hydrogen into their gaseous energy delivery systems. We have to move quickly to compete. The natural gas delivery industry has been working on the file for several years. We have begun collaboration with governments and other stakeholders to identify and develop the necessary technology, codes and standards, policies and regulations to build a safe, affordable and successful Canadian hydrogen marketplace. We are beginning a variety of projects to blend hydrogen into the existing natural gas networks across Canada. These are early-stage initiatives, but show promise in several regions: drawing different technologies, fuel sources and industry players, along with government supporters.
As we pursue recovery from COVID-19, Canada is looking for the most economic ways to drive a rapid recovery that spurs economic growth while maintaining our environmental performance. That means ensuring our existing infrastructure and expertise is used to maximum effect to fuel recovery. The energy delivery industry understands the challenge, and believes it is well-placed to lead on making hydrogen part of the response.
We consider the hydrogen opportunity a significant one, and we want to drive it forward. We look forward to working with all involved.
“As Canada looks at its long-term energy future, there are exciting opportunities in hydrogen production and delivery,” said Timothy M. Egan, President and CEO of the Canadian Gas Association. “Our natural gas delivery industry has the infrastructure, innovation, expertise and strong standards to play a foundational role in the hydrogen opportunity for Canada. The dynamic combination of natural gas, the gaseous fuel delivery system and hydrogen production will be essential to Canada reaching its economic and environmental goals.”
“The natural gas delivery industry has a history of serving customers the affordable, reliable energy they depend on to fuel their businesses and heat their homes” said Leigh Ann Shoji-Lee, President of Pacific Northern Gas Limited and Chair of the Board of the Canadian Gas Association. “Our utilities are driven to make constant improvements – to safety, reliability and environmental performance. As we look to the future of Canada’s energy mix, we see our industry and infrastructure playing important leadership roles in hydrogen development and delivery. Our industry looks forward to continuing its work with a range of partners to make the hydrogen opportunity a reality.”
“We are committed to innovation in our energy system, including embracing fuels like hydrogen. Our work to develop a hydrogen strategy for Canada draws on the strong relationship between hydrogen production and Canada’s natural gas industry. This is central to building the net-zero energy future that Canadians want and deserve.” – Hon. Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources
“To advance Smart Energy Communities we must build the capacity of energy stakeholders to engage in collective action and drive market transformation, all while maximizing our existing energy infrastructure,” said Tonja Leach, Executive Director of QUEST. “This call for national cooperation on the hydrogen opportunity from the natural gas delivery industry is exactly the type of leadership that we need.”
“Hydrogen created from renewable energy or from natural gas with carbon capture and storage can play a key role in decarbonizing Canada’s energy systems said Linda Coady, Executive Director of Pembina Institute. “Pembina Institute welcomes a national dialogue on the role of hydrogen as a contributing pathway to net zero emissions and as an opportunity to develop a new clean economy for Canada.”
“The global surge in interest in using hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel provides a remarkable economic and environmental opportunity for Canada. But realizing this opportunity will take very deliberate effort by industry, governments, and others working together. An efficient, profitable, domestic hydrogen-as-fuel economy with export capabilities will not simply emerge by itself. The hydrogen value chain is too complex. A very deliberate hydrogen economy deployment approach will allow us to catch up to other countries and be a world-leader in clean energy.” – Dan Wicklum, President and CEO, The Transition Accelerator
“An advantage of the hydrogen pathway is its inclusiveness,” said Bob Oliver, CEO of H2GO Canada. “Hydrogen integrates with existing infrastructure, using it in new ways to create value, so that jobs are preserved and assets are retained. The hydrogen transition leaves no one behind.”
“Canada’s world-leading hydrogen and fuel cell sector applauds the CGA’s leadership in embracing hydrogen energy and supports the CGA’s call for government-industry engagement and a national hydrogen task group. Hydrogen is essential to decarbonize Canada’s industrial processing, heating and transportation sectors. It provides an economical and efficient zero-emission choice, a massive export opportunity, and will allow all Canadians to thrive in a carbon-constrained world.” – Mark Kirby, President and CEO, Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association
“Alberta’s natural gas infrastructure, experience in hydrogen production, and leadership in carbon sequestration places us in a strong position to support the Canadian Gas Association’s efforts to realize the immense opportunity of a new hydrogen economy in Canada. By taking a Team Canada approach, we can leverage our collective knowledge, skills, and resources to attract new investment and become a competitive supplier of low-emission and affordable blue hydrogen. This is a significant opportunity for provinces across Canada to support a new economic driver and economic recovery while helping the world achieve its environmental commitments.” – Dale Nally, Alberta Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity
The Canadian Gas Association is the voice of Canada’s natural gas delivery industry. Its membership includes natural gas distribution and transmission companies, equipment manufacturers, and suppliers to the industry. Our utility members are active in eight provinces and two territories and meet 35% of Canadians’ energy needs through a network of 570,000 kilometers of underground infrastructure. This infrastructure can also be used to deliver renewable gases including renewable natural gas and hydrogen, in order to contribute to Canada’s greenhouse gas emission reductions. Today, over 7.1 million customer locations representing approximately two-thirds of Canadians, rely on natural gas for clean, affordable and reliable heating and power.
For more information contact:
Director of Communications
Canadian Gas Association