Changes in the ACT mean new suburbs no longer require a gas connection, allowing them the opportunity to be zero emissions and to have cheaper utility bills.
The ACT Government has released Draft Variation 373, which will remove the mandatory requirement for gas connections to new suburbs. This allows new suburbs to be all electric, powered by the ACT’s 100% renewable electricity supply.
“From today, we have removed the requirement for new suburbs to have a gas connection. This makes it possible for new suburbs to be zero emissions and is an important step in combating climate change,” said Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury.
“The fact is, natural gas is a polluting fossil fuel and we must eventually phase it out in favour of clean energy. The ACT Government is plotting a sensible path to zero greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the climate change science.
“Previously gas connections were mandated in new suburbs, and the ACT was the only Australian state or territory to require this. This rule was both outdated and not necessarily beneficial for homeowners. Removing the requirement for gas will see more Canberrans using electricity instead of gas, taking advantage of the ACT’s world-leading 100% renewable electricity achievement.
“This is the right thing to do for the planet, but it is also good for household bills. For example, using efficient reverse-cycle air conditioning can reduce household energy bills by around $500 per year compared to gas heating, and an electric heat pump hot water system can lower energy bills by around $150 per year.
“An estimated 22% of the ACT’s total carbon emissions come from natural gas, making it the second biggest source after transport emissions. The ACT Government has a plan to reduce the ACT’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045, tackling polluting areas such as gas, transport and waste.
“The ACT Government’s Climate Change Strategy commits the Government to 98 actions, including:
- Develop a plan for achieving zero emissions from gas use by 2045, including setting timelines with appropriate transition periods for phasing out new and existing gas connections
- Support gas to electric appliance upgrades, including trialling facilitating access to interest free loans or other innovative finance for gas to electric upgrades
- Expand the enormously successful Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme to increase support for low income priority households and further encourage a shift from gas to efficient electric appliances.
“The Government is also exploring opportunities for using other clean alternatives to natural gas, such as hydrogen produced from renewable electricity. We expect to open Australia’s first public hydrogen vehicle refuelling station early this year,” said Minister Rattenbury.
In January 2018, a Gas Price Trends Review showed that an increasing number of Canberrans were already making the switch away from gas, with a clear downward trend in household gas consumption. Average annual household gas consumption has dropped by 22% since 2010, and the proportion of ACT households using gas for space heating fell from 60% in 2011 to 45% in 2014.
The Canberra community is invited to provide comments on draft Variation 373 until 6 March 2020. The draft variation documents can be found on the EPSDD website www.act.gov.au/draftvariations.