Back to Everyday Climate Choices

Canberra’s Electrification Pathway

How we got here

The ACT Government’s decision has been informed by significant research and analysis, including technical modelling and consumer research.

This transition requires a coordinated and planned approach over the next 20 years. This will allow us to maintain a secure, affordable and reliable energy supply across the ACT. To guide this transition, the government will deliver a new Integrated Energy Plan for the Territory by 2024.

The way we live as we move toward net zero emissions will change gradually. This will bring many benefits for Canberrans.

Renewable electricity will be our primary energy source – replacing gas for heating and cooking and replacing petrol and diesel in our cars. Canberrans will save time and money by being able to charge their electric vehicles at home, and efficient electric appliances have lower running costs than gas alternatives.

If we start working towards the transition now, Canberrans will be able to make a plan to swap gas appliances for electric options. We want Canberrans to consider making their next choice electric and switching when the time is right for them, such as when appliances are due for replacement. There is no urgency to rapidly replace appliances right now.

The ACT Government has previously committed to a number of initiatives to reduce the use of fossil fuel gas in the ACT. This includes preventing new gas connections in certain types of housing developments. This work is underway and complements the Government’s gas transition pathway.

 

Modelling

Detailed modelling of different transition options undertaken in 2021 and early 2022 has helped us to understand the impact of different transition options. This includes the impact on gas and electricity consumption, prices and distribution networks. The modelling shows that based on existing consumer trends and government policy, gas consumption is likely to decrease by 60% by 2045, while there will likely be about a 21% increase in demand for electricity. These findings have helped to inform our decision.

Retail gas prices

Modelling by GHD shows that retail gas prices are expected to increase by around 19 per cent over the period 2022-2029, adding approximately $220 to the annual gas bill for the average household in 2029. The overwhelming drivers of gas price increases over this period will be the international price of gas (wholesale costs) and the cost of maintaining and moving gas through the ACT gas network (distribution cost). Modelling by GHD demonstrates that existing government policies are not expected to have a material impact on household energy prices over the period 2022-2029.

The ACT Government has reviewed the outcomes of the modelling and considered the impacts that current policy and market trends will have on Evoenergy, particularly over the next 10 years. The Utility Impact Statement outlines the ACT Government’s position on expected network impacts of the current transition pathway, and indicates government expectations that may be placed upon the ACT electricity and gas distributor, Evoenergy.

Electric vehicles

The ACT Government’s Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy 2022-30 set a target for 80 to 90% of new vehicles sales to be zero emission vehicles by 2030. Updated modelling by GHD was completed in 2023 to test the impacts of these targets on the ACT transition, with updated energy pricing forecasts.

The updated modelling reflects the ACT’s target of 80% of new light vehicle sales being electric vehicles by 2030. The previous modelling assumed only 28% of new sales would be electric vehicles by 2030. Other factors are kept consistent with the earlier GHD model.

The modelling found that the increased rate of electric vehicle adoption had only a relatively small impact on the grid. The results from this modelling are positive. However, work will continue to ensure that energy from the grid stays reliable and affordable for Canberrans during the transition.

Explore the modelling

Additional reports that informed the decision

The key reasons for transitioning away from fossil fuel gas use are:

The environment

Fossil fuel gas is the second largest greenhouse gas emissions source in the ACT. It accounts for 20% of our overall emissions.

Costs

The cost of natural gas has been going up over the last several years. Prices are expected to increase over time.

Savings

The Government has a number of programs available that offer incentives to assist with the upfront costs of energy efficient electric appliances. Using rooftop solar and battery storage will also enable ACT energy consumers to save money over time.

It will be in the interest of ACT energy consumers to gradually transition their homes and businesses off a fossil fuel gas supply at a time that is right for them.

For most Canberrans, this transition will be very similar to the introduction of digital TV or the phase out of leaded petrol. Gas cooking and heating will be replaced with electric options when that household or business is in the market for a new appliance or when appropriate commercial electric options are available.

Key challenges and opportunities

The ACT Government recognises that this transition may be more complex for some consumers, such as low-income households, renters and businesses that rely on gas appliances that have no electric alternatives. We will be investigating how best to support these groups to transition away from gas. Consultation on a regulation to prevent new gas network connections was open during 3 March – 20 April 2023 for community feedback. You can keep updated on future consultations at YourSay Conversations.

Supporting households with lower incomes and renters
Transitioning complex buildings
Finding alternatives for specific gas requirements
Opportunities for the workforce and the economy
The future of the gas network

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the ACT and recognise any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.