In a significant move, the state of Victoria in Australia has announced an initial investment of A$1 billion ($630 million) to expedite its transition to renewable energy and facilitate the shift of households away from natural gas for heating and cooking. This decision comes on the heels of the Victoria government's July announcement to ban natural gas connections for new homes starting next year. The gas sector in the state is responsible for 17% of emissions, and Victoria has set an ambitious target to achieve net zero emissions by 2045, five years ahead of the federal government.
This substantial investment is expected to yield 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy, providing sufficient power for approximately 1.5 million homes in Australia's second-most populous state. Premier Jacinta Allan stated, “We'll invest in government-owned renewable energy, help households switch to all-electric, and build the renewables workforce Victoria needs.”
Victoria currently holds the distinction of being the largest consumer of natural gas in Australia, with roughly 80% of homes connected to the gas network. However, from January 2024, new homes requiring planning permits will be mandated to connect to all-electric networks, aligning with the state's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The investment will primarily focus on bolstering energy storage and onshore generation capabilities, while also striving to instill industry confidence to attract additional investments. Furthermore, it will expedite efforts to transition to 100% renewable energy in every government office within the state by 2025. This bold move underscores Victoria's commitment to a sustainable and cleaner energy future.