About the study

While Ontario is on track to meet its 2030 emissions reduction target, achieving net-zero*Net zero means reducing GHG emissions to as close to zero as possible, then balancing any remaining emissions with an equivalent amount of carbon removal through environmental actions and innovative technology.
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/weather/climatechange/climate-plan/net-zero-emissions-2050.html
will require further actions. How will we effectively meet Ontario’s future energy needs while reducing emissions? How can we make sure energy is there when we need it, at the lowest cost? What investments are needed today, and what policies must be put in place to enable them?

Enbridge Gas engaged a consultant, Guidehouse, to assess the feasibility of two pathways to net zero. The study finds that, compared to an electrification pathway, a diversified pathway is the most practical way to achieve net-zero emissions in Ontario while being more reliable, resilient and affordable.

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Cover of Pathways to Net Zero Emissions for Ontario Report.

Two pathways to net zero were evaluated

Number one

Diversified pathway

A balance of electrification, low- and zero-carbon gas and carbon capture using gas infrastructure.
Number two

Electrification pathway

Deep electrification of all sectors, using low- and zero-carbon gas and carbon capture only when no alternative energy source exists.

The study assessed two pathways based on cost, emissions reductions, energy system reliability and resiliency. It also included a sensitivity analysis that looked at how various changes in assumptions impacted each scenario. The diversified scenario with hybrid heating was the most optimal approach. All results shown below are based on this diversified pathway.


Key findings

A diversified pathway that leverages both Ontario’s gas and electric systems can achieve net zero, with greater:

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Affordability

Achieves the same outcome as the electrification pathway at $202 billion less cost.

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Reliability

Meets the energy needs of Ontario homes and businesses, even on the hottest and coldest days of the year.

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Resiliency

Protects against impacts from extreme events, such as weather and cybersecurity incidents.

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Consumer choice

Allows Ontario energy consumers the flexibility to make choices on their path to net zero while minimizing costs.

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Competitiveness

Provides more affordable energy to help businesses stay competitive and thrive.


Both pathways can achieve net zero by 2050

The electrification pathway is projected to cost 27 percent more ($202 billion).

Electrification scenario
$946 billion
Electrification of all sectors,
using low- and zero-carbon
natural gas
Diversified scenario
$744 billion
A balance of electrification,
low- and zero-carbon gas
and carbon capture, using
gas infrastructure
Emissions in the scope of this study

Notable insights

Number one

The lowest-cost pathway includes hybrid heating

Retrofitting with hybrid heating is simpler, reduces costs for Ontarians and uses both the electric and gas systems to increase system reliability.
Number three

Low-carbon gas and carbon capture are key to net zero

Both pathways rely on hydrogen, renewable natural gas (RNG) and natural gas with carbon capture, particularly in sectors that are difficult to electrify.
Number two

The electric system must be scaled up

With either pathway, Ontario will need to significantly scale up electrical generation and infrastructure to meet peak energy needs.
Number four

Ontario’s gas distribution system should be leveraged

Both pathways require gas infrastructure to carry low- and zero-carbon gas, such as hydrogen and RNG.

Safe bets Ontario must act on today

Regardless of the pathway chosen, there are actions that must be taken immediately to successfully reach net zero.

Maximize energy efficiency

Energy conservation is essential to success for any pathway to net zero.

Optimize and integrate energy system planning

Maintain reliable and resilient energy supply in Ontario by integrating gas and electric systems and planning. Hybrid heating is a good example of both systems working together.

Invest in low-carbon gas

Hydrogen and RNG support nearer term emissions reductions and play a crucial role in both net-zero pathways

Use carbon capture and storage (CCS)

CCS is needed to produce low-carbon hydrogen and to decarbonize hard-to-abate industrial processes.


Want to learn more? Download the materials.


Questions about the study?

Contact our Energy Transition team for further information.

*Enbridge Gas is addressing net-zero emissions from energy.