Apartments and social housing in Victoria get funding to electrify

$108 million extra funding follows the state government announcement that gas connections in new homes will be banned.

Electrification and energy efficiency upgrades for social housing and rooftop solar for apartment dwellers have both received a boost in Victoria from a new chunk of joint federal and state government funding announced on Tuesday.

The $108 million deal between federal and Victorian Labor aims to deliver energy savings to the households in the state that need it most, and to those with limited access to rooftop solar.

The joint funding takes the state’s Energy Efficiency in Social Housing program to a total of $92 million – $46 million from each government – to go towards electrifying and modernising public housing with efficient electric appliances including air conditioners, hot water systems, and cook tops.

For apartment dwellers, another $16 million will be used to deliver up to 5,000 rooftop solar installations via grants of up to $2,800 per apartment – or up to $140,000 total for each apartment building.

The rebate grant scheme will operate through the Victorian Energy Efficiency in Social Housing Program, with the Commonwealth funding provided from the $1.7 billion Energy Savings Package in this year’s Federal Budget.

“We want all Australians to be able to access the benefits that come from energy performance upgrades, no matter where you live or how much you earn,” said federal assistant minister for climate and energy Jenny McAllister.

“Upgrading the energy efficiency of social housing properties will mean residents can save money and have more comfortable homes.”

For Victoria, the extra funding comes off the back of last month’s state government announcement that gas connections in new homes will be banned starting in 2024.

The Andrews government, like the ACT before it, is acting on the growing weight of evidence that getting gas out of houses can slash emissions while also significantly reducing home energy bills and improving home comfort and health.

In July, an Environment Victoria report found that households in the state could save hundreds of dollars – or up to 75% – on their winter heating bills by switching from gas to efficient electric appliances.

Rewiring Australia, which has been one of the biggest advocates of the shift to electric, said on Tuesday that the twin policy announcements for Victoria were a “sound investment.”

“Rooftop solar paired with an electrified home provides the cheapest, cleanest energy available,” said Rewiring Australia’s Dan Cass.

“The social equity focus of this announcement is especially welcome,” Cass added.

“All Australians deserve to share in the bounty of renewable energy and its capacity to transform household budgets.

“Helping apartment buildings to install solar is critically important. As more Australians live in flats and apartments we must find ways for them to harvest and use solar.”


This article was first published by RenewEconomy. You can read it here.

Author
Sophie Vorrath
Editor, One Step Off the Grid
April 18, 2024
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