Natural gas is one of the most versatile, reliable, clean and affordable sources of energy available in Ontario. For this reason and more, I’m proud to join the team at the Ontario Natural Gas Alliance (ONGA) as spokesperson.
Challenges that are top of mind to ONGA members are expanding access to natural gas access to reduce energy bills overall, and ensure the continued success of Ontario’s agriculture sector. And of course, helping confront the challenge of climate change.
Ontario has millions of existing natural gas distribution customers, ranging from home owners to electricity generation facilities, small businesses, public transportation systems, farms and agri-businesses, a variety of industrial consumers and legions of backyard barbeque enthusiasts. What each of these segments have in common is that they enjoy access to a reliable supply of clean and affordable natural gas. Unfortunately, not all Ontarians enjoy access to natural gas, and this puts some people at a competitive and economic disadvantage.
I am pleased to join an organization like ONGA that treats the expansion of natural gas distribution service in Ontario for what it is – an important public policy measure. It can increase economic growth, foster agricultural competiveness and reduce energy bills in the winter months, especially when compared to electricity for home-heating. In fact, ONGA has done great work highlighting the benefits of natural gas expansion in Red Lake, Ontario and the need for access for agri-business in Bruce County. As spokesperson for ONGA, I want to keep highlighting the need for increased access to natural gas distribution – it is too important for our economy to ignore.
For much of the past year, climate change has been front and centre in the news. The government of Ontario has introduced legislation that would, if passed, create a cap-and-trade system and join Ontario with the Western Climate Initiative.
Everyone at ONGA can agree on one thing: we are long passed the time to debate the merits of taking action to confront climate change and that now is the time to tackle the problem head-on. Having the resolve to confront climate change is one thing, but the approach must be constructive and done in a meaningful way that recognizes Ontario is already a leader in this fight.
The closure of coal-fired power plants dramatically reduced emissions in Ontario –the largest climate change mitigation measure in North America to date. Just as natural gas played a major role reducing emission from electricity generation, natural gas is similarly positioned to reduce overall emissions in the transportation sector.
The transportation sector is by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the province today. The opportunity of shifting more of the sector to natural gas would be of tremendous benefit to Ontario’s environment and economy, something decision-makers should examine and an issue I look forward to sharing more about.
In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to speaking about the role that natural gas can play for Ontarians, for the benefit of our climate and our economy.
I also want to hear what you have to say. You can reach out to ONGA through this website, on Twitter (@NaturalGas_ON) or you can reach me directly here: @jellerton.