Victoria bans gas in new homes, peak demand support needed, 28 July 2023
Today’s move by the Victorian government to ban gas in new homes from 1 January 2024 and immediately ban gas for new public buildings is a huge step forward. The state’s burgeoning population demands new housing stock including public and social housing. We need an equally monumental move for 80 per cent of existing homes to get off gas to reduce bills and emissions.
“Changing out old clunker air conditioners is a major priority. Whether it’s getting rid of gas heaters or old technology electric units that drive up electricity consumption during peak demand times like summer heat waves. Shifting from gas heating to electric split system air conditioners that heat and cool is far more efficient and much cleaner and safer in the home,” said Energy Savings Industry Association President Mr Rod Woolley. “Incentives to better reflect the long-term benefits of electrifying homes will drive uptake sooner.”
The Victorian government’s next move needs to better support large energy users (LEUs) that use more than 60 per cent of the state’s gas demand. These businesses need support to reduce gas consumption and switch to lower emission fuels like electricity and renewables and get smarter with managing their electricity demand. Like load shifting to lower electricity demand periods which helps keep wholesale electricity prices down and reduces the need for more poles and wires. The ESIA continues to advocate that the Victorian government allow these LEUs to participate in the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) incentive program as committed by the government in 2019.
“Another major step forward will be when Victorian energy users can access peak demand reduction incentives like those available under established energy savings programs in NSW, South Australia and the ACT. This is critical as we face into a hot El Nino summer. Last time this happened Victorian households were asked to turn off their cooling when they needed it most during a heat wave and large businesses needed to shut down some operations all while electricity prices skyrocketed,” said Mr Woolley.
“As part of today’s announcement, it’s great to see plumbers will receive free training to get off gas and electrify homes and that electricians will get free training to install solar and batteries. Installation standards for upgrades undertaken under rebate programs like the VEU can be higher than the usual standards for installations. We are calling on the government to dovetail training approaches to optimise a streamlined consumer experience when getting upgrades. This will help support trades to upskill in growth areas that expedite our crucial net zero journey,” said Mr Woolley.
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