The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government has recently announced plans to eliminate fossil gas and transition to the full electrification of homes and businesses by 2045 in the territory.
A paper titled Powering Canberra: Our Pathway to Electrification outlines the decision. With fuel gas accounting for 20 per cent of the territory’s greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time, it reduces Canberra’s gas reliance and is a vital part of achieving ACT’s commitment of net zero emissions by 2045.
The early announcement is a way to ensure that the whole process is implemented strategically and to give the community reasonable time to make the necessary changes.
The initial phase of the transition will involve removing gas mains from new “greenfields” suburbs to eliminate fully new gas connections for future infill developments by 2023.
Along with this, the ACT is also developing an Integrated Energy Plan that will be released on 2024. The plan will establish the foundations for the transition and consider using renewable gas in niche applications. This will help maintain a secure and sustainable energy system for the future. It will also help the community plan the switch when ready.
In line with this, the plan also assures the community that the transition will happen gently over the next 20 years.
Households and business owners ready to eliminate gas may now be eligible to get government support and incentives, including the Sustainable Household Scheme, Home Energy Support Program and Business Water and Energy Program.
Phasing Out Fossil-Fuel Powered Vehicles
The move to completely eliminate gas comes after the announcement of the ACT to phase out fossil-fuel powered vehicles. Zero Emissions Vehicle Strategy will set out updated Electric Vehicle (EV) sales targets for the territory with plans to phase out the purchase of new fossil fuel-powered Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) from 2035.
The phase-out will initially apply to new light vehicles and will be backed up by an EV sales target. Their EV sales target is between 80 and 90 per cent of new vehicle sales in 2030. The goal is to not have any light petrol vehicles on the road from 2035.
The plan is doable due to the rising number of EVs coming to the market. Also, the new policy is expected to include new financial incentives and other programs that will encourage people to trade in their ICE vehicles for zero-emission models.
There are also a number of incentives put in place by the ACT to drive EV sales. One is free registration for new fully-electric vehicles and fuel-cell EVs for two years and 20 per cent off registration fees for older eligible EVs.
The ACT will also offer a stamp duty waiver and access to up to $15,000 towards the cost of an EV and up to a cap of $77,565 under the Sustainable Household Scheme.
Canberra’s Renewable Energy
In 2019, it was announced that ACT’s capital would switch to 100 per cent renewable energy, making it the first major region in the Southern Hemisphere to buy all its energy from renewable sources.
It started in 2020 wherein the capital joined seven other districts worldwide that produce or purchase the equivalent of their total electricity consumption from renewable sources.
Canberra is a self-governing territory that sources its renewable energy from large-scale and wind-energy projects in the ACT and other states. This is also in addition to solar panels on houses and renewable energy from accredited sources.
Due to the stability of the government in the ACT, it allowed them to set such goals that will lead to the betterment of the climate and the environment.
It is also worth noting that Australia had a national target to generate 33 terawatt-hours of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, which was met early.
How Households in ACT Can Begin With the Transition
The gentle transition gives residents more time to adjust and make changes. For starters, residents can replace old gas appliances with electric systems that they can afford. Whether you’re renovating your home or simply replacing an appliance, it’s best to choose the most efficient one.
Doing so will allow you to future-proof your home, save more money, and make your house even more environmentally friendly.
Newer appliances cost less energy; therefore, if you think about it, they are much cheaper than gas. This will also help residents close their gas accounts and only pay for one supply charge for electricity.
Solar can also help further reduce your bills by using the energy you generate to run your appliances during the day.
If everything’s new to you, you can get advice from the Sustainable Home Advice Program and the Business Energy and Water Program.
It’s also a good idea to compare your winter energy costs to your summer costs to get a general idea of how much money you’re spending on heating. From there, you can use it as a baseline to see the impact of energy efficiency changes you make.
You should also get in touch with your energy retailer to see if you’re getting the best rate, then shop around to see what other retailers are offering.
You can use our free electricity bill comparison tool to compare local offers from Australia’s major energy retailers and help you make the switch in a few quick steps. All you need to get started is a recent energy bill.
How Businesses in ACT Can Begin With the Transition
Businesses can also start with the transition and at the same time, get up to $5,000 rebate under the Business Energy and Water Program. However, you need to check if you’re eligible first.
If you’re eligible, you can use the revere to install energy-efficient technologies, such as lighting, appliances, heating and cooling, hot water, insulation, refrigeration, and more.
You can also zone your heating to areas in use, upgrade your lighting, and use standby power controllers.
Energy Matters has over 17 years of experience in the solar industry and has helped over 40,000 Australian households in their journey to energy independence.
Complete our quick Solar Quote Quiz to receive up to 3 FREE quotes from trusted local installers – it’ll only take you a few minutes and is completely obligation-free.