Cooking with Electricity in Victoria

Victoria has banned gas connections from all new homes that require a planning permit. On Friday, Victoria’s Energy Minister was out promoting the new policy.

“Fossil gas in your home is costing you more and more. So from 1 January 2024, all new homes that need a planning permit will be all-electric,” according to the minister, Lily D’Ambrosio.

The policy will also apply to all new public buildings and social housing.

Almost half of Australian homes connected to gas lines are in Victoria. The state also uses gas for heating more than anywhere else in the country.

Given the record high gas bills in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, the all-electric policy is cost-estimated at a $1,000 annual saving.

Talk of phasing out gas stoves in the US has triggered vehement opposition. Fortunately, Australian public discourse remains much more sober.

In fact, the Victorian government seems to be picking up from the policy advocated by Rewiring Australia. Led by inventor Saul Griffith, the NGO advocates fully financing electrification, given the cost savings to be had.

Minister D’Ambrosio also says she plans to launch a Gas Substitution Roadmap for households later this year. Victoria is aiming for 95% renewable energy generation by 2035.

In a familiar recent thread in Australian politics, the strongest voice against a major policy announcement came from the Greens.

“Victorians use more gas in their homes than in any other state, so banning new connections is an important reform,” said the Victorian Greens’ Deputy Leader, Ellen Sandell. “But it is strange that Labor…on the other hand is changing the law to make it easier to open new mines and is approving new gas drilling across the state, including near the Twelve Apostles.”

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