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Expense and emissions may see household use of gas flame out

Despite the federal government’s promise of a ‘gas-fired recovery’ from the COVID-19 recession,
the future of natural gas in Australia is far from assured. The industry faces serious economic and
environmental challenges.

Firstly, gas is increasingly expensive. And, secondly, it is a fossil fuel. It is cleaner than coal, but it is still responsible for about 19 per cent of Australia’s emissions.

Households will be drawn to cheaper, greener ways to cook their food and heat their water.

Households will be drawn to cheaper, greener ways to cook their food and heat their water.Credit:John Woudstra

Australia simply must use less gas over time. We are already seeing this in the power sector, where
renewable energy is growing and gas use is declining. And though it is often forgotten, the humble
gas stove may need to change too. This means that over time almost half of all NSW households will need to find cleaner and smarter ways to cook, heat water and warm their homes in winter.

Electricity might well be the answer. Within a handful of years, electricity will provide cleaner energy for households than gas. Even better, switching to electricity can save you money. A new NSW house built today with efficient electric rather than gas appliances will save the owner about $400 per year, and pay back the higher cost of the appliances in about seven years. If that same house has solar panels on the roof, the savings would be bigger still.

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