In Victoria we've been very committed to gas, with 80% of homes connected.
Now, given the state government greenhouse gas emissions reductions target and the ban on gas
connections to new builds from 2024, this looks likely to change.
Which raises questions about the future of gas.
Popular for its instant heat - great for water and space heating and wok cooking - and once
touted as the interim energy source, less polluting than coal, gas was supposed to ease us
into the green energy transition. No more. Alarm over rising fugitive methane emissions, the
greenhouse effect of which is 25 times that of CO2, plus the narrowing window for containing global warming, mean gas is on the nose.
With the amount of renewable energy feeding into the National Electricity Grid expected to be 82% by 2030, electrification is now the go.
Backed by government incentives, home electrification makes sense on a number of fronts.
Going all electric can cut thousands off household power bills, as well as being better for
human health and the environment.
Yet the switch-over is not without complications or resistance.
Engineer, Tim Forcey, the brains behind a home electrification Facebook group with 106,000 members, recently ran a poll on electric homes , finding even motivated householders encountered barriers - costs, being a renter, strata title, loving gas cooktops, newly purchased gas appliances, ducting, piping and technical concerns.
The key takeaway being that switching-off is harder for some. Given we'll all have to switch-off eventually, forward planning is vital. Some myth-busting is also needed. Despite its reputation, Ballarat isn't too cold for hot water heat pumps, which are good for temperatures down to -10C.
In her recent announcement that the State Electricity Commission will offer a one-stop
shop for home electrification, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan said: "We know that too many people have been put off electrifying their home because of the complexity and the cost.''
The SEC's mission to 'streamline' this process echoes electrification programs across the nation, run by councils and groups like Rewiring Australia.
New energy-efficient electric appliances - hot water heat pumps and induction cooktops - use considerably less power than old gas appliances - or old electric ones. If you're on solar, setting your heat pump to heat during daylight hours is another easy win.
A movement is underway.
Mr Forcey said he started the My Efficient Electric Home to spread the word about how people could save money by heating their homes with reverse cycle air conditioners.
"We have evidence now that thousands and thousands of households have made good progress reducing their gas use."
Even installing one or two reverse-cycle air-conditioning units to reduce gas space-heating use will cut bills and provide cooling too.
As we head into an El Nino summer, predicted to be hotter than the last three, more territory has already been burnt in Queensland and NSW than in 2018/19. And we know the worst is yet to come. Australians, especially regional Australians, are going to be tested like never before.
The faster we collectively switch-off gas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the better chance we have of averting catastrophic climate change. In so far as we have a climate action policy, this is it - electrify everything. Let's do it!
Dr Mary Debrett
BREAZE Inc. Board