As part of its 2030 Energy policy, the Government of Québec has made it a priority to establish the province as a North American leader in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The newly released budget for 2017 enhances and extends the financial incentives to encourage the freight transportation sector to turn to vehicles with a low carbon footprint, using the existing Écocamionnage program.
First introduced in 2014, the Écocamionnage program promotes the use of energy efficient, low-GHG emitting equipment and technology to transport goods. It does not apply to vehicles used to transport people, fire trucks, ambulances, off-road vehicles (mining, forestry, etc.). This program provides financial incentives to those businesses that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.
It was originally planned to end on March 31, 2017. The end date has now been pushed out to December 31, 2020.
Updated features of the Écocamionnage program
Program enhancement: The enhancement of the acquisition component of the Écocamionnage program consists in an increase from $50 000 to $100 000 of eligible expenses related to the acquisition of a vehicle or technology allowing for the use of alternative fuels with lower GHG emissions.
Conditions associated with the increase in eligible expenses: With regard to the acquisition of technology or a vehicle:
- the financial assistance is based on the supplementary cost of acquiring this type of vehicle compared to a regular vehicle that runs on diesel or gas;
- the financial assistance granted, in the form of a subsidy, represents 30% of eligible expenses and could be as high as $30 000. The government has doubled the eligible expense limit for this category in the acquisition section of the Écocamionnage program, from $50 000 to $100 000.
Hence, the maximum financial assistance that a company can now obtain is $30 000, compared to $15 000 prior to the program’s enhancement. The financial impact of this measure will be $1 million for the next three years and $0.8 million in 2020-2021. These amounts will be drawn from the Green Fund.
Changes welcomed by Gaz Métro
Energy provider Gaz Métro, the largest natural gas distribution company in Quebec, applauds the 2017-2018 budget’s positive measures in line with Québec’s energy transition, as presented by Québec Minister of Finance Carlos Leitão: “We welcome the measures announced today by the Québec government. The Ecocamionnage program represents an important lever for reaching Québec’s objectives in the fight against climate change, as it addresses Québec’s highest-emitting sector, which is transportation. Heavy trucks that replace diesel with natural gas reduce their GHG emissions up to 25 percent,” stated Stéphanie Trudeau, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Framework, Customers and Communities, at Gaz Métro.
For the last several years, Gaz Métro has offered its customers the option of using natural gas as a fuel to power their fleet of heavy vehicles. Switching from diesel—widely used in the transportation industry—to natural gas allows for annual reductions of up to 35 tonnes of GHG per truck. By using renewable natural gas from organic wastes, up to 195 tonnes of GHG can be saved annually per truck.
The renewed Écocamionnage program will encourage transporters to convert their vehicle fleets by way of incentives: 30% of additional purchase costs of liquefied or compressed natural gas trucks will be reimbursed, which could add up to $30,000 in savings per heavy vehicle.
(Source: Government of Québec and Gaz Métro)