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ACT bans new gas connections, but BBQs have green light

Canberra is on track to be a zero-carbon city with a ban on new gas connections, but barbecues fired by bottled gas are still allowed under the new ACT law.

An Australian-first law to ban new gas network connections has been passed in the ACT but households can still fire up the gas barbecue.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury said the ACT was leading the way on climate change action, with Canberra aiming to be a zero-emissions capital.

"The first step in phasing out gas completely is to prevent the installation of any new gas," he said.

But the ban does not include bottled LPG that is used in many barbecues.

The territory may be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity but gas use makes up about one-fifth of the territory's emissions.

"By 2045 Canberra will be an all-electric city, using renewable electricity – a model sustainable city," Mr Rattenbury said.

However, Australian Pipelines and Gas Association boss Steve Davies said every Canberra home that electrifies will increase the territory's reliance on NSW coal-fired generation and increase overall emissions.

He said the gas distribution network delivers almost half (43 per cent) of total energy consumed in the ACT.

Mr Rattenbury said research shows electricity is the most efficient, affordable, and feasible energy source to replace gas use.

This is why the ACT government is encouraging Canberrans to make their next appliances electric as the territory moves away from gas.

Some 80 per cent of all new homes in the ACT are still connected to gas and will need to be converted to electricity by 2045, he said.

But Canberra already has a strong track record on electrification.

Swinger Hill, built in 1972, was the first Canberra medium-density all-electric housing area, while Ginninderry was the capital city's first all-electric suburb.

New developments in Jacka and future stages of Whitlam and Denman Prospect are set to follow in coming years.

Australia's leading consumer advocacy group CHOICE is working with the territory government to persuade existing gas consumers to opt for electric heating or cooktop when considering their next big purchase.

An online tool allows Canberrans to map out an energy transition plan for themselves.

Rebates, incentives, grants and other sustainable energy programs for households, businesses, schools and community groups are also available.

The ACT Liberals opposed the Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Natural Gas Transition) Amendment Bill that passed on Thursday.

According to the territory's gas distributor Evoenergy, there are 139,000 gas mains connections in the territory. 

The bill included making compliance with the legislation a condition of the gas distributor's utility licence.

Regulations are expected to be in place by the end of 2023.


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