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Cutting bills and creating jobs with an accelerated smart energy transition

Canberra could become the hub for a world-first trial to cut household energy costs and create jobs under a new proposal from community-endorsed Independent Senate candidate David Pocock developed in conjunction with Saul Griffith and Rewiring Australia.

If elected to the Australian Senate, David said he will be advocating for an Australia-wide National Electrification Program, starting with a demonstration project in Canberra to create the world’s first fully electrified suburb.

The ‘Suburb Zero’ trial will speed up access to household energy savings for Canberrans and accelerate our emissions reduction at the same time. The two-year, opt-in pilot program would      guarantee participating Canberrans a 20-25 per cent saving per year on their fuel and energy bills.

The pilot would cover the costs of transitioning all participating households to full electrification. This includes providing them with an electric vehicle (EV), rooftop solar, battery storage, heat pumps and all electric appliances.

It will help ensure policy is crafted to leave no household behind and that people on low-incomes and those renting also benefit from the cost savings.

Households would be able to keep all installations at the end of the trial and have the option of purchasing the EV at a reduced cost.

The program would create a massive pipeline of work for tradespeople including huge opportunities to upskill and retrain, as well as ploughing some $2 million worth of cost savings each year on fuel and energy bills back into the local economy.

The pilot would require $20 million of federal government funding to leverage $50 million of private sector capital and enable necessary testing to then proceed with an ACT-wide, and eventually a nationwide rollout.

Policies implemented by the Howard Government in 2000 made Australia a global leader in rooftop solar. This plan takes that to the next level, expanding our leadership to household and vehicle electrification.

“In the face of skyrocketing costs-of-living, worsening impacts from natural disasters and serious warnings from the IPCC, our community needs pragmatic policies that address all of these problems,” David says.

“Rising inflation in the absence of real wages growth means households are going backwards.

“Canberrans currently spend over $950 million per year on fuel and energy. What I am proposing is just as much a cost-of-living as a climate and energy policy.

“Canberrans have led the country when it comes to making the switch to renewable energy sources. More than 20 per cent of homes in the ACT are already equipped with rooftop solar, with more installations happening every week.

“This makes the ACT the perfect place to host this trial to demonstrate and bring forward the tangible benefits of electrification at scale.”

David will work with the ACT government to make sure the program operates effectively alongside the ACT Sustainable Household Scheme.

Modelling by Rewiring Australia of an ACT-wide household electrification shows that by 2030:

  • The average household will save around $5,200 per year on their fuel and energy bills
  • Total savings on fuel and energy bills would be over $900 million
  • Total spending in the local economy (as a result of cost savings) would increase by around $580 million
  • Total jobs created will top 5,500

At a national scale, research shows the National Electrification Program could be rolled out at a cost of around $12 billion – roughly the same amount that the Federal Government currently spends in annual fossil fuel subsidies - and reduce domestic emissions by 42 per cent. Under the proposed policy, government investment would only account for a proportion of that total with the remainder coming from the private sector.

“Fundamentally, this policy is about creating jobs, saving people money and ensuring the ACT reaps the benefits of the smart energy transition that is already underway,” David says.

“We have the solutions to reduce energy bills and to put Canberra at the forefront of the renewable energy transition, now we just need the leadership to get it done.”

The National Electrification Program is the centrepiece of a broader policy suite David will support which also includes:

  • changes to the National Construction Code to incorporate stronger energy efficiency stringency standards and bringing forward work on the trajectory for low emissions buildings;
  • introducing mandatory fuel efficiency standards and transitioning the Australian Government's COMCAR fleet to EVs; and
  • improving and updating energy efficiency standards for household appliances.

David will also back the Member for Warringah Zali Steggall’s Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill and the Member for Indi Helen Haines’ Cheaper Home Battery Bill.

A copy of the full policy is available at 

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