Victorian Gas Substitution Roadmap falls short of the deep cuts needed to avoid bill shock and climate catastrophe.
Image Source: The Conversation AU
The Victorian State Government today released its much-anticipated Victorian Gas Substitution Roadmap into an environment of energy crisis and looming climate change.
The Roadmap, while acknowledging the pressure to move the heaviest gas using state in Australia into a decarbonised energy economy, falls disastrously short of tackling the issue of gas with the critical urgency required to avoid climate catastrophe and safeguard the Victorian public from escalating energy bills.
In what the State Government terms a “no-regrets” policy, the Roadmap refuses to commit to an orderly and equitable retirement of Victoria’s leaky and polluting gas transmission network.
“It’s great to see the state government offering some support for households to switch off gas in favour of renewable energy. Raising housing standards to a 7 star minimum and ending the requirement for new developments to be connected to gas are a couple of baby steps in the right direction,” said Freja Leonard, No More Gas campaigner with Friends of the Earth Melbourne.
However, at a time when Victorians are paying twice as much for gas as we did last year and the world is feeling the impacts of climate change we need to stop a single new gas connection being made and support Victorian homes and businesses to rapidly move to an all-electric, post gas energy system,” she said.
The International Energy Agency last year said in their report Net Zero by 2050 that if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change we can’t afford to open a single new gas or coal development.
“The State Government is approving new gas developments with a horizontal onshore drill for gas under Port Campbell National Park and into the ocean just 7km from the Twelve Apostles Marine Park. They’re prepared to consider a floating gas terminal in Corio Bay which will very likely accept fracked gas from the Scarborough Gas fields of WA. We urgently need political leadership to switch off gas entirely,” said Ms Leonard.
“The only true no-regrets policy is to recognise that keeping gas pipelines ties Victorians to energy costs they can’t afford and holds us back from reaching the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets in a crucial decade for climate action,” said Ms Leonard. “Without hard targets and timelines this roadmap is a disappointing case of too little too late and too vague by the state government in truly tackling fossil gas in Victoria.”
The Victorian Gas Substitution Roadmap does:
- Remove the requirement for new developments to be connected to gas and for gas boosted appliances in the plumbing regulations
- Increase the required thermal efficiency of buildings to a 7 star energy standard
- Recognise that methane is a fossil gas that will impact Victoria’s ability to reach its climate targets if we continue to use it as a primary energy source
The VGSR does not:
- Refuse any new gas connections altogether
- Immediately remove subsidies on new gas appliances under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program
- Provide a secure plan to retire the old, polluting and inefficient gas transmission network
- Close the door on new gas developments
Friends of the Earth Melbourne is preparing its own alternative roadmap for public release in the coming weeks, with a series of recommendations to tackle Victoria’s economically and environmentally unsustainable gas use.
For further comment:
Freja Leonard, No New Gas campaign coordinator Friends of the Earth Melbourne - 0400 611 896, [email protected]