The ACT Government today announced that it will phase out fossil fuel gas by 2045 by electrifying Canberra over the next two decades.
Fossil-fuel gas currently accounts for 20% of the ACT’s emissions, so reducing Canberra’s gas reliance over the next two decades is a critical part of achieving the ACT’s commitment of net zero emissions by 2045.
Once again, we are being clear about the long term objective to prioritise the use of 100% renewable electricity and remove fossil-fuel gas from our city.
In reaching this policy decision, the Government has considered all options, including the possible use of hydrogen and biogas. Following that consideration, it is clear that electrification is the best path for our city to phase out fossil fuel gas.
As part of the initial phase of the transition, new “greenfields” suburbs will no longer be connected to gas mains, and from 2023 new gas connections will cease for future infill developments. These changes provide a clear signal to the community and industry of our future direction.
To support Canberrans to understand the transition plan and explore transition options for their home or business, we have today launched an interactive online hub.
The hub provides detail on why the transition is important, what consumers of gas can do to commence their transition and what support is available for them from the ACT Government to do so.
We have also released Powering Canberra: Our Pathway to Electrification, a position paper, which outlines the decision to transition away from fossil-fuel gas, modelling of future energy use in the ACT and how we will take a phased approach to the transition over the coming two decades.
The ACT Government is developing an Integrated Energy Plan for release by 2024 to set the foundations for a gentle and manageable transition over the next two decades and also consider the use of renewable gas in niche applications.
The plan will ensure that the ACT maintains a secure, reliable, and increasingly sustainable energy system into the future and help the community to plan their switch at a time over the next two decades that is right for them.
As part of the long-term transition, the ACT Government will continue to directly engage with key stakeholders to ensure targeted and relevant supports are in place.
To find out more and read the ACT Government position paper, visit the Everyday Climate Choices website.
Quotes attributed to Andrew Barr, Minister for Climate Action:
In 2020, we secured a nation-leading 100% renewable electricity supply for the ACT which was a huge achievement for the Territory and a significant step towards net zero emissions, but there is still more to be done.
Gas prices have risen by around 25 per cent since 2016 and are expected to continue to rise.
In short, the days of cheap gas in Australia appear over and renewable electricity is now the cheapest and cleanest way to power our homes and businesses.
We know there will be costs associated with the transition away from gas – which is why we are giving people certainty now so that the transition can happen gently over the next two decades.
This is a long-term and gentle transition and we’re not switching off the gas network overnight. Like the transition from analogue to digital TV, or the phase out of leaded petrol, this will be a staged and managed transition.
Energy is an essential service. We will support consumers to make the transition from gas to electric as straightforward and easy as possible by providing decades of notice for them to transition at a time that is right for them.
There are government supports and incentives available now for those ready to upgrade from gas to efficient electric appliances including the Sustainable Household Scheme, Home Energy Support Program and Business Water and Energy Program.
An all-electric future will be a gradual transition for many households in Canberra. The Government will provide Information on what it will look like for their home or business and the supports already available to make the switch.
Quotes attributed to Shane Rattenbury, Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction:
Now is the time to lay the foundations to ensure Canberra is a sustainable, modern city. There is no future in polluting fossil fuel gas and we need to start the journey with the Canberra community towards phasing it out.
Many Canberrans are already switching away from gas to cheaper, energy efficient electric options. This announcement provides the certainty Canberrans need to start planning their switch over the next twenty years.
A carefully considered plan with input from the community will make this ongoing transition equitable, with support for our low income and vulnerable households and businesses to make this change.
We know that some gas users, particularly some businesses, can’t transition yet due to cost barriers or substitute technology not yet being available. We’re committed to working collaboratively to manage this long-term transition, remove these barriers and understand the niche areas of the economy where renewable gas technologies may be necessary.
The right time to move to an electric appliance is when your gas appliance is due for replacement. You can do your part by choosing energy efficient electric systems that can run on our 100% renewable electricity.
This will have an upfront cost but will save you considerable money in the longer term as efficient electric appliances will often have lower running costs, while also cutting emissions.”
There is an interactive resource on our website that invites you to explore options to transition and find out what government supports are available for you. You can find out more at climatechoices.act.gov.au