So-called ‘natural’ gas is a polluting fossil fuel. Mining, processing and transporting gas causes environmental damage, and the gas itself contributes climate change. To reach the ACT’s target of zero emissions by 2045 and build a safe climate, the ACT needs to get off gas. Now that the ACT’s electricity is powered by 100% renewable energy, gas contributes around 22% of the ACT’s emissions, almost all of this is from the gas network. With easy availability of efficient electric appliances, running all-electric buildings is a clear solution.
The Conservation Council is running an ongoing campaign calling for the phase-out of gas from Canberra homes and businesses.
In 2019–20, the Council ran a successful campaign that called on the ACT Government to:
- Immediately remove the existing mandate for gas infrastructure in new developments in the ACT.
- Stop the roll out of new gas networks in all new suburbs.
- Stop all newly constructed residences from joining the gas network.
WIN: All three asks are being met!
In March 2020, the Government removed the mandatory requirement for gas infrastructure to be installed in new suburbs.
Following the 2020 ACT Election, the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement for the 10th Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory established between the ACT Labor and ACT Greens Members sets out a clear policy direction to “phase out fossil-fuel-gas in the ACT by 2045 at the latest”. The Agreement commits to no new gas mains to future stages of greenfield residential development from 2021–22 and infill developments from 2023. It also includes incentives and supports for Canberra gas users to switch to electricity, and commits to a number of gas-free commercial and public infrastructure projects.
After a year-long drafting, consultation and review process, Evoenergy’s revised Gas Network Access Arrangement for 2021–26 (GN21) takes these policy measures into account with falling demand forecasts, reduced capital expenditure and market expansion, and shortened asset depreciation timeframes. Evoenergy responded to both community consultation and the ACT Government policy direction by revising market expansion capex down from $34.8m in the initial draft GN21 plan in February 2020 to $26.3m in its June submission to the AER, then down again to just $11.7m in its revised GN21 plan in January 2021. This effectively halts market expansion in the ACT while Evoenergy explores ways to achieve the ACT Government’s net-zero emissions target.
Read our work about gas in the ACT and beyond
The Conservation Council does lots of work behind the scenes to be proactive about responding to arising issues and Government policy updates. Here is some of our work relating to our campaign to transition Canberra – and Australia – off gas.
February 2020: Submission to Australian Energy Regulator (AER) regarding Evoenergy revised 2021–2026 gas access arrangement proposal (GN21 plan)
August 2020: Submission to Australian Energy Regulator (AER) regarding Evoenergy 2021–26 gas access arrangement proposal
July 2020: Submission to NSW Independent Planning Commission regarding Santos Narrabri gas project
April 2020: Submission to Evoenergy regarding Evoenergy gas network 2021–26 access arrangement review (GN21 draft plan)
February 2020: Our media release responding to Evoenergy’s plans for the gas network 2021–26
January 2020: Our media release in response to the ACT Government Draft Variation 373 removing the mandatory requirement for gas pipes in new suburbs.
December 2019: Our media release launching our community petition calling for no new gas.
Our gas campaign news
Volunteer for gas community outreach
4:30–6pm Tue 20 Apr
Conservation Council office
Australia needs support to recover from COVID economic impacts, but not by expanding the polluting gas industry. Send an email to federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor calling for a renewables-led recovery.
6pm Thursday 4th February 2021
Explore why and how your household can make the switch from gas to electric appliances, with Kirsten Duncan, James De Salis and a representative from the ACT Government’s ActSmart Program.
5pm Tuesday 1st December
Online event over Zoom
Explore why and how your household can make the switch from gas to electric appliances, with Jenny Edwards, Ben Murphy and a representative from the ACT Government’s ActSmart Program.
Saturday’s ACT Election outcome reflects that Canberrans right across the city value our natural environment and take seriously the challenge of climate change, signalling that these issues are important throughout our community, “ said Helen Oakey, Executive Director of the Conservation Council ACT Region.
Many Canberrans will be familiar with the ACT Government’s target of zero emissions by 2045, a policy that the ALP, Liberals and Greens all signed up to. All three parties also support keeping the ACT at 100% renewable electricity, now that we have achieved this target by leveraging our electricity purchasing power. But despite this clear agenda to decarbonise in the ACT, new homes and developments are still being connected to the gas network.
Based on the latest IPCC report in 2018, we have less than 10 years to plateau and begin to turn emissions downwards. From this advice, we can conclude that the ACT’s 2045 net zero emissions target is no longer aligned with climate science.
The impacts of a changing climate are well upon us, forcing societies and natural ecosystems to transform the way they function. At the current rate of 10 billion tonnes of global emissions each year, we will exceed the remaining carbon budget by 2030.The science...
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