17th January 2020
Government wastes opportunity for ambitious gas phase-out
The Conservation Council ACT Region welcomes the ACT Government’s announcement to remove the mandated requirement for gas in ACT’s new suburbs, but has warned that this measure alone won’t necessarily result in less gas infrastructure being rolled out, and will have little or no impact on the ACT’s carbon emissions.
“Removing the requirement to put gas into every new development is a positive step, but the Government will miss a great opportunity to prevent the further rollout of the gas network in the ACT going forward, something that would be consistent with their ambitious 2045 zero emissions target’ said Helen Oakey, Executive Director.
“We know from previous experience that removing the mandate alone won’t necessarily stop Evoenergy from proceeding with the rollout of new pipes into suburbs.
“When the Ginninderry development in West Belconnen was given an exemption from the requirement to have gas infrastructure, Evoenergy rolled out new pipes despite the intention of the developer to have a more environmentally friendly “electric only” suburb.
“Unlike electricity, the cost of gas infrastructure is not passed on to developers, and so there is little incentive for developers to say “no” to pipes being installed. Until this changes, the default setting will mean expensive gas infrastructure, which all gas users inevitably pay for, will continue to be installed.
“The ACT Government has acknowledged that we are facing a climate emergency, the only state-territory jurisdiction to do so. This was the perfect opportunity for them to take action to ensure that all new developments from here on run on 100% renewable electricity and make it easier to reach our zero emissions target.
“Gas is a polluting fossil fuel and contributes to 22% of the ACT’s greenhouse emissions. We think it’s time that suburbs, such as Whitlam in Molonglo where development has only just commenced, should be all-electric, and run on 100% renewables.
“It’s a better outcome for the environment and will also deliver cheaper energy bills for householders, said Ms Oakey.
“The Conservation Council has also called on the ACT Government to:
- Urgently set a clear timetable for transitioning off natural gas to ensure homeowners, suppliers, tradespeople, developers and managers of medium-large gas-run appliances are given fair warning to ensure any appliance upgrades are all-electric.
- Stop newly built residences in established suburbs from installing gas appliances and reconnecting to the gas network.
- Disallow gas connections in new multi-unit developments.
- Support the transition of residences in established suburbs to replace ageing gas appliances with energy efficient electric appliances over the next 10 years.
- Undertake a full review of the ownership of the gas network, the costs of writing down the network asset (should it be required) and how the costs will be shared equitably across the community without disadvantaging those who are least able to afford it.
For media enquiries please contact:
Helen Oakey, Executive Director – 0402 052 777
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