Victoria pushes switch from gas to all electric

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Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has announced that from 1 January 2024 planning permits for new homes and residential subdivisions will only connect to all electric networks, reducing the state’s dependency on fossil gas.

The state government said the changes will apply to all new homes requiring a planning permit, including new public and social housing delivered by Homes Victoria while any future state government building will also be gas free. The state said commencing immediately, all new public buildings that haven’t reached design stage will also be all electric. This includes new schools, hospitals, police stations and other government-owned buildings.

D’Ambrosio said Victorians have been at the mercy of private gas companies for too long and the transition to renewable alternatives will help the state achieve its renewable energy and emissions targets.

“Reducing our reliance on gas is critical to meeting our ambitious emission reduction target of net zero by 2045 and getting more Victorians on more efficient electric appliances will save them money on their bills,” she said.

Victorians use more gas in their homes and businesses than people in any other state or territory with about 80% of homes connected. The fossil fuel contributes about 17% to the state’s net greenhouse gas emissions.

Going all electric is expected to slash about $1,000 per year off household energy bills while those households with rooftop solar installed are expected to save about $2,200 annually.

“We know that with every bill that arrives, gas is only going to get more expensive,” D’Ambrosio said. “That’s why we’re stepping in to help even more Victorians get the best deal on their energy bills.”

As part of the all-electric initiative, the Victorian government has announced a new $10 million Residential Electrification Grants program. The grants will be made available to volume home builders, developers and others to provide bulk rebates for solar panels, solar hot water and heat pumps to new home buyers up front.

The government will also invest $1 million in targeted training across the construction industry. D’Ambrosio said this will complement Solar Victoria’s $11 million training and workforce development package that was announced to upskill plumbers and electricians to take advantage of the renewable energy transition.

The announcement follows the lead of the Australian Capital Territory, which will have new regulations in place by the end of the year prohibiting new gas connections in new suburb or new infill developments.

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