Conservation Council calls for quicker gas phase out

Dominic Giannini 5 March 2020 58
Minister for Climate Change Shane Rattenbury

Minister for Climate Change Shane Rattenbury says gas usage in the ACT has been declining since 2011. Photo: File.

The ACT arm of the Conservation Council has called on the ACT Government to disallow gas connections in new multi-unit developments, expanding on legislation that removed mandated gas connections in new Canberra suburbs.

The council is also calling for an embargo on newly built residences in established suburbs installing gas appliances and reconnecting to the gas network.

The ACT is looking to become carbon neutral by 2045 and reduce its emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2025 by phasing out gas, which contributes over 20 per cent of the Territory’s emissions.

The call from the Conservation Council comes on the heels of a draft report from Evoenergy, which operates the gas distribution network in the ACT and Queanbeyan-Palerang local government area.

Director of the Conservation Council Helen Oakey says Evoenergy’s plan is good, but not good enough.

“We support Evoenergy’s analysis that, when it comes to rolling out gas infrastructure to new suburbs in Canberra, it’s not business as usual, and welcome their proposal to stop the gas rollout into Canberra’s new suburbs,” Ms Oakey said.

“The first step to transition from gas to renewable electricity across the city is to stop rolling out new gas infrastructure – it risks locking people into appliances and technologies that create greenhouse emissions and may not be viable into the future.”

She has also called on the Government to act swiftly and decisively ahead of Evoenergy’s draft plan to work towards the ACT’s net-zero emissions target.

“It is clear that the ACT Government needs to send a stronger policy signal to Evoenergy prior to this 2021-2025 Plan being adopted. That is: stop all new residential hookups in established suburbs,” Ms Oakey said.

Gas consumption in the ACT has been falling since 2011, a trend set to continue over the next five years according to Minister for Climate Change Shane Rattenbury, after the Territory became the first region in Australia to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy last September.

Helen Oakey

Helen Oakey says the Government needs to go further with its gas phase-out plans. Photo:

“This is a transition we can make in a way that saves households money. New, efficient electric appliances can provide residents with savings compared to equivalent gas appliances,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“For example, efficient reverse-cycle air conditioning can reduce household energy bills by around $500 per year compared to gas heating.

“The Government will work with the community to ensure the transition away from gas is a ‘just transition’, through the provision of information, incentives, and appropriate support.”

However, Canberra Liberals’ leader Alistair Coe has called the development bad news for Canberra households and businesses that depend on gas.

“The latest plan to turn off gas is a classic example of Labor-Green ideology coming before the best interest of Canberra families,” the Opposition Leader said.

“It is all very well for the government to say that people should switch over to electricity, but in reality, people are using gas for a reason. Either they already have gas appliances, or they have very good reasons for why gas is the only energy source to suit their needs.

“I think it is very irresponsible.”

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58 Responses to Conservation Council calls for quicker gas phase out
Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 9:41 am 15 Mar 20

No gas cooking would be a deal-breaker for a lot of homebuyers. It would for me. Induction cooking is nothing like gas cooking. Shane Rattenbury was talking through his hat on the gas topic on 666 the other day. Note also that no-one mentions that you need a full set of insanely expensive heavy-bottom cookware to use induction cooking. I’d like to see the results of a survey on whether Canberrans agree with the Conservation Council on this topic.

wottaway wottaway 10:10 pm 13 Mar 20

So lil’ ol’ Canberra has a Minister for Climate Change, fair bloody dinkum, what a joke…….wot’s he gonna do, build a wall ?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:11 am 13 Mar 20

Yet the government is connecting gas to the new Southern Memorial Park cemetery and crematorium when the initial plan specified electricty be used to cremate our departed loved ones. They could actually use LFG from the MLRMC which is only 500 metres away.

Kent Street Kent Street 12:51 pm 10 Mar 20

perhaps you could quote the source for this claim?
“by phasing out gas, which contributes over 20 per cent of the Territory’s emissions.”

Anthony Gordon Anthony Gordon 11:10 pm 08 Mar 20

It would be interesting to follow up on these ACT politicians on both sides and the Greens and find out who may have vested interest in alternative power and energy supply

    Steve Flora Steve Flora 9:32 am 13 Mar 20

    Think it is in all our interests to get into renewables/sustainables as much as we possibly can and as soon as we can.

Brian Hogan Brian Hogan 3:30 pm 08 Mar 20

They are bloody greens. They think it's their right to tell everyone else what they can and can't do!

Riley Helmling Riley Helmling 10:51 am 08 Mar 20

Yeah, no

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 9:09 am 08 Mar 20

What rubbish go gas all the way!

Shirley Hadfield Shirley Hadfield 7:45 am 08 Mar 20

How about the ACT government pay for the total cost in change over from Gas heating and cookware to Electricity. Nice to want these things! ACT government should also be advised not every body has a spare $10 thousand dollars or more just sitting in their bank accounts to meet the cost of doing what they wish for!!!

Penny Gordon Penny Gordon 8:40 pm 07 Mar 20

Just curious. When people dutifully reduced their water usage, water charges were increased so that Icon could continue to make a profit.

If less people are using gas, will our gas prices increase, so that the gas arm of Evoenergy can continue to make a profit?

Steve Jones Steve Jones 7:02 pm 07 Mar 20

Stop heating your public service buildings and the big house on the hill and then set an example and then the general population might follow.

Anne Daun Anne Daun 3:20 pm 07 Mar 20

Stupid people. Gas is the only way to combat the low winter night temperatures in the ACT. We have both gas and electric heating but the latter just doesn't work for us.

    Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 5:15 pm 07 Mar 20

    Anne Daun no it isn’t. Plenty of better and cheaper alternatives.

    Steve Flora Steve Flora 7:01 pm 12 Mar 20

    We did away with our central gas heating when we put in a PVC (solar) system in 2013. Electric heating works fine.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:50 pm 12 Mar 20

    Anne Daun Wrong, gas is not the only way to heat. I have a solar passive house and need very little heating in winter. The sun does the heating. If I need to turn on any heating it's a small electric instant blow heater for the house. I also have a wood stove which I light on the occasional night for a few hours. In six years I have only ever heated twice in the daytime. (No air conditioning either as it's not needed. Even on the 44C day it wasn't needed.) If you are having trouble with a cold house might I suggest investing in more insulation; ceiling, floor and walls. I don't understand why people would want to have both electricity and gas connected and then need to pay two connection fees. I just checked my electricity bill and the Supply Charge was greater than my last electricity use. The Supply Charge is not insignificant.

Bill Pappas Bill Pappas 3:18 pm 07 Mar 20

Let’s not forget that burning Gas produces less co2 than coal and we have abundant supplies of it... enough for export... the problem was with the Rudd Gillard Rudd govt selling LNG on the world market at world prices... great for Australia revenue. but not so good for the Australian people....the price skyrocketted... screwing all users ... also stopped the electricity producers to convert to Gas rather than coal..and a whole bunch of other reasons... not a simple solution to go zero emissions.. they are fooling themselves and us!

    Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 5:17 pm 07 Mar 20

    Bill Pappas yes... our summer time has bill used to be $90. Now it’s 3 times that. Can’t wait to get a heat pump hot water system and an induction stove and electric oven. An expensive exercise though....

Mark Goodman Mark Goodman 1:29 pm 07 Mar 20

Hmmm, it might make people feel good about making a difference, however the difference is minuscule for a high per capita growing city. For some the positive will be that the less gas used in Canberra will result in more to be exported overseas.

Don Stewart Don Stewart 1:25 pm 07 Mar 20


Michael Groenhout Michael Groenhout 1:19 pm 07 Mar 20

So it's cool if you use 10 times the energy to heat and cool your house, as long as it's "green"? FML

Gillian McKinlay Gillian McKinlay 12:17 pm 07 Mar 20

In 1997 when we built our current house we were told everything had to be gas. We changed our hot plates to induction but I can’t afford to change everything else

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:05 am 13 Mar 20

    My architect wanted gas connected to my house. I said "No" to that. Why pay two connection fees.

Melissa Snape Melissa Snape 11:30 am 07 Mar 20

Are there any current rebates for owners corporations looking to upgrade hot water systems from gas to electricity?

    Robyn Hall Robyn Hall 3:04 pm 07 Mar 20

    I got told by the plumbers literally last month that there were regulations in place preventing switching to electricity if you had an existing gas hot water system 🤷‍♀️

    Melissa Snape Melissa Snape 6:50 pm 07 Mar 20

    Shane Rattenbury MLA can you comment??

Bill Pappas Bill Pappas 10:54 am 07 Mar 20

Looks like their policy will be for nuclear power... I’ll vote for that!

Bill Pappas Bill Pappas 10:52 am 07 Mar 20

Right let me get this straight...they encouraged us to install gas years ago for home heating and they now expect to go to electric... I assume ACT power grid will cope with everyone switching back... and what about restaurants that use gas for cooking... really well thought out policy that will do what to the worlds co2 emissions!

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 11:12 am 07 Mar 20

    Bill Pappas

    Read the article again. New suburbs etc

    Bill Pappas Bill Pappas 3:09 pm 07 Mar 20

    And new install in old suburbs... what a dump policy

    Sally Greenaway Sally Greenaway 8:10 am 08 Mar 20

    We can still have has but they're researching a different gas to replace the one we use currently that has high CO2 emissions

    Bill Pappas Bill Pappas 8:59 am 08 Mar 20

    Sally Greenaway what ? Please explain?

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 1:42 pm 13 Mar 20

    Times have changed. There was not much solar and wind power available then. Once gas was the better choice, when comparing it to coal generated electricity. Now gas is being compared to solar and wind based power and it comes off as less environmental compared to that. But most people complaining here already know that. (Or where have they been living.) They also would know that not connecting gas only applies to new suburbs; not the existing suburbs, and that their gas connection is not due to be disconnected. But some people do like to complain about nothing that will effect them.

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