OTTAWA – Climate-change advocates and renewable-fuel producers want Ottawa to make sure natural-gas power plants have to pay a price for every ounce of their greenhouse-gas emissions within 12 years.
The federal government is still finalizing emissions standards for various sources of electricity that will determine how much they will pay in a carbon levy.
Ottawa has set a cap on the maximum emissions allowed for each type of emitting fuel — coal, natural gas, and diesel — before the carbon price starts to be applied.
The Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity wants those caps reduced each year. For new natural-gas plants, it wants the cap to be zero by 2030 so that anyone building a new one will know that within 12 years someone will be paying the carbon levy on all of their emissions.
About 10 per cent of Canada’s electricity comes from natural gas but power companies are turning to it as the country tries to eliminate electricity generated from burning coal by 2030. The tougher the restrictions on natural-gas plants are, the more appealing sources like solar and wind power will be.
A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the carbon price is just one of the mechanisms Canada is using to reduce emissions, and that it is still working with interested parties as it works toward its final decisions on the electricity sector.