Do you want to heat your home with gas pumped out of shale rock in Pennsylvania with a noxious mix of water, sand and chemicals, or would you rather save money by making your home more energy efficient?
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has to decide this question soon in response to an application from Enbridge Inc. to expand its natural gas pipeline system in the Greater Toronto Area. Enbridge is proposing to spend $623 million on a system to bring more shale gas north. As a gas user, you will pay for the costs of this pipeline on your monthly natural gas bill.
But there is an alternative to Enbridge’s plan. By increasing spending on energy efficiency and gas alternatives like geothermal heating and cooling or solar water heating, we can simultaneously save money and reduce the need to drill thousands of wells to produce gas in a process that is a serious threat to groundwater supplies and healthy communities.
By spending just half what it would spend on an expanded pipeline on conservation programs instead, Enbridge could actually save its customers $1.4 billion over the next ten years. Add the savings from not building the pipeline, and that means putting close to $2 billion back into customers’ wallets. Reduced demand for gas will also make Enbridge’s system safer by lowering pipe pressure particularly during peak demand periods. And it will move us forward in our greenhouse gas reduction commitments.
Read all about it in our latest report Enbridge’s Proposed GTA Pipeline: Fracked Shale Gas vs. Energy Conservation
If you think greater efficiency beats more pipelines hands down, send a message to Premier Wynne, Energy Minister Chiarelli and Environment Minister Bradley. Tell them you prefer conservation over fracked gas from the U.S.