Victoria is phasing out gas in new homes.

In a move toward sustainability and reduced emissions, the Victorian government announced that gas connections in new homes will be banned from January 1, 2024. 

The ban applies to all new residential builds, including subdivisions and public and social housing, which will now be exclusively connected to electricity.

Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio says going all-electric will be no extra cost to the homebuyer and should make energy bills about $1,000 cheaper per year - double that if there is solar installed.

The ban is driven by several prompts: the need to meet emissions reduction targets, rising gas bills, and health concerns. 

Victoria aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, as the gas sector currently contributes about 17 per cent of the state's total emissions. 

Without this shift away from gas, achieving the state's targets of 75 per cent to 80 per cent emissions reduction by 2035 and net zero by 2045 would be nearly impossible.

The decision has garnered support from various environmental groups, including the Grattan Institute, which has been advocating for the elimination of gas usage in Australian homes. 

Tony Wood, the institute's energy program director, highlighted the necessity of this move, saying; “Gas for so many years has been our friend. It's been plentiful and cheap. It's no longer plentiful, it's no longer cheap, and it's also a fossil fuel. We have to go in this direction”.

The ban on gas connections in new homes aligns with the state's transition away from brown coal toward renewable energy sources. 

It also complements the Solar Homes program, which provides solar panel rebates and interest-free loans for household batteries, further promoting a green future.

Existing homes and those undergoing renovation or extension will not be affected by the ban immediately. 

As gas appliances wear out, homeowners will gradually need to transition to fully electric homes. This change is expected to result in long-term energy bill savings and significantly reduce environmental impacts.

The Australian Capital Territory has already banned gas connections for new builds, and conversations about banning gas are taking place across the country. New South Wales Premier Chris Minns says his  state will not follow Victoria in banning gas in new-built homes.

The decision is not without its critics, with some expressing concerns about the extent of the emissions reduction. With new builds accounting for only a fraction of existing homes, the immediate impact may not be as substantial as desired.