‘No time to waste’ to get off gas, warns think tank

Gas connections will need to be switched off at hundreds of homes each day if Australia hopes to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The sale of new gas stoves and other appliances should be banned in coming years, the Grattan Institute recommends, and no new gas connections should be allowed.

The public policy think tank also called for financial incentives to help push down the cost of electrification.

Grattan Institute energy and climate change program director Tony Wood said there was “no time to waste” on the transition to all-electric homes.

“It will be complex for governments and for many people and businesses – but it is absolutely doable, and further delay will only make this necessary transition harder,” Mr Wood said.

In Victoria, the most gas-dependent state in the country, roughly 200 homes a day will need to switch to all-electric each day to eliminate gas connections in the state by 2050.

While the think tank outlined a role for hydrogen and biomethane for industries that are not yet in a position to wean off gas, these technologies were “too costly and too far off” for use in homes and small businesses.

The research found all-electric homes were healthier and cheaper to run but electric cooktops, home heaters and water heaters were often more expensive to buy than gas alternatives.

The think tank recommended low-interest loans or other financial incentives for home owners as well as tax incentives for landlords to encourage them to get off gas.

The government should also pay to fully electrify social, community, and Indigenous housing.

Other recommendations in the report included setting targets for eliminating gas, running an advertising campaign to drive electrification, and eliminating regulatory barriers to all-electric homes

The electricity grid will also need to be upgraded to cope with the extra demand, the report noted.

The Australian Pipelines and Gas Association chief executive Steve Davies said gas networks supported the phase out of natural gas and were already transitioning to carbon-neutral gases at “minimal cost”.

“While Australia is a long behind the rest of the world in this space, it provides us the opportunity to learn from mistakes of countries, such as the UK and Germany, that ventured down an electrification only pathway but had to rethink their approach because of the economic and engineering challenges,” Mr Davies said.


Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)


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