In the race to net zero, Victoria is going for gold with its latest move to steer away from gas. But this isn’t the first time the state has pushed for a more sustainable future.
Victoria has historically led the way on many fronts when it comes to the environment, from developing world-leading water conservation laws in the 1970s¹ to introducing tough standards this year to improve ambient air quality². And now Victoria is shining light on a sustainable future once again by putting gas on the back-burner.
Going for gold / The golden era
In the 1960s, many Victorian homes were affixed with the gold medallion above the entry way to signify extreme technological innovation³.
These “Gold Medallion Homes” may not have had advanced artificial intelligence systems like Alexa and Siri, but they had something better.
They were 100 percent electrified.
At the time, it was considered significant modernisation to power your home only using electricity, as most houses relied on oil and coal-burning furnaces for heating and cooking.
By creating a new standard for healthy and safe living, Victoria became an early pioneer in educating homeowners about the risks of burning fossil fuel in the home and promoting the broad benefits of home electrification.
But then there was gas.
Unfortunately, the arrival of easily accessible natural gas led to wide adoption in Australian homes as it was regarded a cheap and reliable energy source as well as a healthier option to the carbon dioxide emissions from coal. Sadly, the move to gas came at a cost.
The gas crisis of 1998 left Victorian families shivering through weeks without hot water or heating.⁴
And now, nearly 25 years later, we are seeing gas prices reach “unprecedented” levels.⁵
The silver lining
In a recent and significant shift for the state, Victoria is once again proving it’s committed to empowering home electrification and is working on programs to leave gas in the past.
The Victorian Government has introduced some forward-thinking initiatives to encourage Victorians to transition away from gas to a cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable energy future.
These initiatives include:
The Solar Homes Program
The Solar Homes Program is a $1.3B initiative that encourages solar power uptake by allowing homeowners to save on the installation costs of solar systems.
There are rebates and zero-interest loans available on everything from solar batteries and panels to hot water systems. There are even opportunities for renters to benefit from solar, with rebates available for rental properties.
Importantly, this program was also recently expanded to allow solar panel rebates for homes still under construction. To check your eligibility, visit https://www.solar.vic.gov.au/
Gas Substitution Roadmap
Victoria has also released a Gas Substitution Roadmap to advance all-electric living as the de facto standard.
The roadmap encourages electrification and other energy-saving measures⁶ with the aim of taking the pressure off the state’s gas demand. The plan is a step towards gradually phasing out gas for most Victorian homes and to help Victorians save money and reduce their carbon emissions.⁷ As part of the roadmap, incentives for all residential gas products will be phased out in 2023.⁸
Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) Program
This program aims to help Victorians cut their power bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting households to upgrade/update their appliances and equipment with modern and high-efficiency alternatives. There are rebates available on everything from lighting and hot water systems to shower heads and TVs. Depending on the scope of the upgrades, the average household can save between $120 and $1,100 a year on energy costs.⁹ What a bright thought!
With the implementation of so many new incentives and programs that promote electric living and solar power, like those seen in Victoria, it’s clear that gas may soon be just an old flame.
In fact, The Grattan Institute published a report that recommends a moratorium on new gas connections and notes that people “should start planning now for a future without natural gas, or at least with a dramatically reduced role for natural gas.”¹⁰
Make a smooth transition to an all-electric home
If you’ve read some of our previous blog post on all-electric homes, you’ll be aware of what’s needed to make the switch to a solar all-electric home and the benefits of powering your electric home with the Enphase Energy System. Here’s a summary of the key things you need to know to ensure a smooth transition:
Investing in quality is the best long-term plan. A good quality solar system has the potential to pay for itself in less than five years (and can outlive and provide greater performance and electrical safety than cheaper options).
You can take a gradual approach with your solar power. Unlike older technology, the Enphase Energy System allows you to start small and scale up as required.
Be sure to choose a high-integrity solar installer. You can feel confident knowing that installers in the Enphase Installer Network (EIN) are constantly audited to ensure the highest installation standards and customer satisfaction.
Remember, you don’t need to replace old gas appliances and equipment all at once. Have a gas stove on its last legs? You could start there and then swap out your gas heating. Or you can make the switch electric heating and cooling as the need and opportunities arise.
With so many ways to start the transition to home electrification powered by the sun, the future is truly golden.