On May 11, for the first time the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal hosted Éric Lachance, President and CEO of Énergir.
Mr. Lachance addressed the underlying trends and transformations in the energy distribution and consumption sectors. Here is a look back at the highlights of his talk.
A budget tabled in a difficult context
“We are committed to remaining a leading energy company that is decarbonizing its activities against the backdrop of a climate emergency. We need to hone our approaches and take a new look at our business models to achieve our ends.” – Éric Lachance, President and CEO, Énergir
Three major trends that will impact the energy sector
Energy is experiencing the upheavals of the global situation. Like the transformation generated by technology since the 1990s, Éric Lachance pointed to the major transformation of the energy sector that is on the doorstep. He believes this change is the result of three underlying trends.
According to Éric Lachance, it is still possible to limit climate change. However, it depends on how energy is produced and consumed. For example, in terms of distribution, he recommends using new modes of production such as wind power and solar energy.
“We are lucky in Quebec because our energy is already decarbonized. We are now tackling solutions that other provinces will look at in 10 to 15 years.”
“We need to develop business models that make it possible to integrate decentralized technologies.”
Éric Lachance maintains that decentralization is essential to facilitate the energy transition. He believes that we need to promote models in which consumers are self-producing using, for example, solar panels.
All sectors are affected by digitization. By combining decentralization and digitization, we can create an environment that will attract new actors. Éric Lachance pointed to the example of Tesla, which generates and distributes electricity in Texas. Tesla compensates owners of solar panels when they make their surplus energy available on the network.
“Consumers become actors to produce and manage energy, i.e., a manager in the energy system.”
Measures for a successful transition
The President and CEO of Énergir then pointed to another change: new energy costs will be higher than historical costs. He believes that there is an awareness-raising process for stakeholders that will be important so that no one is left behind.
“Our clients have to be part of the decarbonization process and not on the receiving end of it. They have to be onboard.”
According to Mr. Lachance, government measures should be introduced to reduce the societal costs of decarbonization. There needs to be a business model that balances the social, climatic, and financial aspects of the process.
“I see three concrete measures that can enable us to succeed in the transition: taking advantage of renewable natural gas, ensuring synergy with Hydro-Québec, and diversifying our activities in new sectors such as green hydrogen.”
Éric Lachance concluded with a message of hope and mobilization. He pointed to the scope of current and future challenges, while reminding those in attendance that prudence can get in the way of the will to change. He maintains that we need to dare to think differently about energy.