Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for the opportunity to appear today.
By way of introduction, the Canadian Gas Association is the voice of Canada's natural gas delivery industry. We deliver natural gas to over seven million customer locations; that's homes, businesses and industry right across the country. In each location there's a meter reaching many people, and by our estimate, well over 20 million Canadians currently benefit from affordable, clean-burning and safe natural gas.
We've provided a map where you can see the Canadian natural gas distribution service area. All members of the committee should have a copy.
In 2017, natural gas met 34% of Canada's energy needs, over a third of all energy end use, a number that has grown by 28% since 2007. Growth is expected to continue. The National Energy Board forecasts that natural gas will become the largest energy source in Canada by 2040, at approximately 40% of end use.
The Government of Canada has made competitiveness its 2019 budget priority, and in order to deliver on a more competitive country, our homes, businesses and industries require expanded and innovative access to clean, reliable and affordable natural gas. We included some graphics to showcase the affordability of the product for you. The first chart on delivered energy costs shows how natural gas has been less than 50% of the cost of other energy sources consistently since 2005. The second chart, listing annual home heating costs, shows how a Canadian home using natural gas can save between $1,000 and $2,500 per year over other fuel choices.
Competitiveness turns on energy affordability, and natural gas is consistently Canada's affordable fuel option. We do a lot, but the Government of Canada says do more, and what more can we do? We offer six recommendations where natural gas and our infrastructure can help improve Canadian competitiveness.
First, we propose a $750-million federal renewable gas innovation program to support the production and blending of renewable gases in the gas pipeline system. We propose a program with a six-year duration to be managed by Natural Resources Canada and CanmetENERGY to support projects and technologies including renewable natural gas, like landfill methane and hydrogen. It should be noted that these are fuel supplies that can be blended directly into the existing gas infrastructure system. No new infrastructure is required.
The goal would be to get a 5% renewable gas portfolio into the Canadian pipeline system by 2030, delivering up to 14 megatonnes of additional GHG emissions reduction. Project funding would cover up to one-third of total project cost, provided either by a production incentive, a capital cost contribution or some hybrid option. Finally, most importantly, the program would support the natural gas industry in meeting federally imposed emission reduction targets, such as those proposed under a clean fuel standard.
Second, we would propose a fund of $450 million to connect rural and remote Canadians to natural gas. Well over a third of Canadians do not currently have access to the gas distribution network and they depend on more expensive energy supplies. CGA has heard from many members of Parliament on all sides of the house, particularly those in rural areas, that their constituents have concerns about high energy prices. CGA has developed a proposal to address rural Canada's unique energy needs and we're happy to make this available to all those interested. It builds on many past precedents to deliver key energy infrastructure to Canadians.
Third are measures to expand the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. CGA has been working closely with Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada to advance this area. Natural gas vehicles are a solution to Canada's freight emissions challenge, providing up to a 25% reduction in GHG emissions and lower commodity costs.
We recognize the important federal support provided in budgets 2016 and 2017 to support low-emission refuelling infrastructure, including natural gas. Looking forward, we see a role for government working with industry in three areas: to defray higher upfront costs associated with the acquisition of natural gas powered vehicles, to support additional development of public access refuelling infrastructure, and to support NGV implementation projects, including facility upgrades required to promote workplace safety.
Fourth, we focus on creating a natural gas clean-tech innovation fund for Canada by leveraging the work we're already doing in the industry through our own natural gas innovation fund, created in October of 2015. Our NGIF partners with gas utilities and with Canadian and international clean-tech companies that bring solutions to challenges facing our industry. CGA has been working closely with NRCan's office of energy research and development, the office of energy efficiency, and CanmetENERGY by building a trusted partnership where we share information and project funding opportunities. This is a unique arrangement in Canada.
Building on the work we've started, we propose the allocation of $300 million over six years to support clean technology commercialization in our industry. The fund would have five distinct technology categories, along the full natural gas value chain: methane venting and fugitive emissions; heat and power generation; renewable gases; CO2 capture, utilization and storage; and LNG. The fund would address the full value chain of natural gas clean-tech needs, including production, transmission, distribution and consumption.
Fifth is cybersecurity, which is a growing area of importance for the energy sector at large, and for CGA and our member companies. We recommend that the federal government continue to support collaborative opportunities between the Canadian centre for cybersecurity and the private sector, to share skills and knowledge and enhance risk management in cybersecurity.
Sixth is a focus on the needs of the energy consumer. As Canadian federal and provincial legislators and regulators look at ways to achieve GHG emission reduction targets, we recommend that there be a public and transparent accounting of the costs involved in achieving those targets. No single government is looking at the total cost to the Canadian energy consumer, but rather at their individual piece. Moving forward, our recommendation is to start addressing the situation with an annual joint meeting of energy and mines ministers and environment ministers to discuss regulatory overlap and the consumer impact.
In conclusion, we know that natural gas is well positioned to support the government's objectives. We're working hard to help. Our natural gas innovation fund is an example where our industry is actively pursuing the development of new technologies to build on the value proposition of our product. We encourage consideration of our recommendations in moving forward to do more still, if the government wishes to meet the targets it has set.
Thank you for the opportunity today. I'm happy to answer any questions.