Greens propose to electrify entire town in ambitious new pilot, providing household EVs


Greens leader Adam Bandt has this morning unveiled a new component of the party’s climate and energy policy in the lead up to the federal election later this month, announcing plans for a pilot program to electrify the entirety of a suburb and a regional town. 

“These suburbs and towns will become a model,” Bandt said during the Smart Energy Convention in Sydney this morning.

Bandt said the pilot project would seek to show that by 2025 it will be cost effective for households to be completely electric, largely powered by rooftop and community solar and batteries. It would also demonstrate the possibility of having a jurisdiction that has zero energy emissions, while developing trade and industry knowledge for the future roll out.

The project would involve the installation of solar power, electric heating and cooking and providing an electric vehicle (EV) for every home that wants to participate in a specific area and could include the installation of community batteries at a local substation level.

“This hasn’t been achieved anywhere in the world,” Bandt said. “It’s time to get off the gas, get batteries in our homes, and solar on the roof. We will show this works at scale, creating jobs and powering up a community.

“That’s why we want to create a pilot project for a suburb and regional town to power past coal and gas, and unlock all the benefits of clean, renewable energy,

“This will not only bring down costs for people, it will create jobs and industry know-how to be able to get ready for the transition we need to get off coal and gas.”

The program would be financed by a $235 million fund The Greens are proposing to allocate for its realisation, as well as using funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), Bandt said.

The Greens would task the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) with administering the project, partnering with a local distribution network.

The pilot is a new element of the climate and energy policy plan The Greens released last week, which seeks to see Australia at net-zero emissions by 2035.

Bandt said the pilot project was inspired by the work of Saul Griffith at Rewiring Australia which is advocating for complete electrification as the priority step for decarbonisation.

Australia’s widespread adoption of rooftop solar is expected to aid the project.

Image: AGL

“Rewiring Australia is working with parties and candidates across the political spectrum to help them understand the benefits that electrification will bring for electorates across Australia,” Griffith said.

“Electrification is the fastest, most cost effective way to slash emissions. It also demolishes household energy bills by $5,000 per year, bringing serious financial relief to folks who are feeling the pinch.

“The Greens have clearly grasped the opportunity offered by electrification. More than three million Australian homes already enjoy the incredible benefit of solar panels thanks to modest investment from Government to foster that industry. Now we can go further and fully electrify our homes and cars.”

Bandt said the pilot project would be possible because of the massive penetrations of residential rooftop solar in many areas of Australia. To better use this clean electricity produced by households during the day, the project would include the roll out of residential and community storage capacity, which would also be integrated with energy management technologies. 

Australian households currently contribute almost one third of Australia’s carbon emissions, making their decarbonisation through electrification a clear target for climate and energy policy.

Bandt also noted that Australia currently has 114 new coal and gas projects in its pipeline, projects which are largely supported by both the Morrison Government and the Labor Party. “That’s why this election is so important,” he said, adding that the Greens would put a freeze on these projects.

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