Electrifying homes and cars could save around $5000 a year
Converting home appliances and cars to run on electricity could eliminate a third of Australia’s greenhouse emissions and save households $40bn a year by 2030 according to a report, “Castles and Cars”, by Rewiring Australia in partnership with the Australian Institute.
The research was developed by Rewiring Australia’s founder Saul Griffith, a Sydney-born engineer and entrepreneur with a PhD from MIT who is and key adviser on energy policy to the Biden administration.
Dr Griffith is an advocate for rapid mass scale household electrification. He believes Australia is ideally placed to lead the world in energy savings due to Australia’s capacity for renewable energy and existing state and territory policies.
“The household is in the key position to drive that change because the household is where the savings will be realised,” he said in a recent interview on the ABCs 7.30 report.
“If we electrify the two cars in the average household, we put oversized solar on their rooftops, we electrify their water heaters, electrify the kitchen, and electrify any space heating in that household by 2030, we’ll be saving [them] $5,000–$6,000 per year.
“The household sector is the easiest sector to decarbonise. They’re ready to go right away, we have the right technologies.
“And, if we do that aggressively, this decade, we buy ourselves time to solve the slightly harder-to-solve problems, which is steel, beef, agriculture, aluminium, cement and our other harder-to-decarbonise sectors,” he said
According to the Rewiring Australia analysis, most clean technology – such as home batteries that could feed power back to the grid, heat pumps for water and space heating and cooling and electric vehicles – will become cheaper than their fossil-fuel equivalents within a few years.
Average Australian household power bills would fall from about $5000 to about $800 a year and power consumption from the grid would fall by 80 per cent if the system was rapidly electrified.
While there are significant savings to be made by electrification many households can’t afford the initial investment. The report believes that $12 billion in government subsidies are the solution.
“If we begin electrifying our homes with roughly 3 per cent in 2022, 15 per cent in 2024, and 40 per cent in 2026, the spending required to pay for the capital cost difference (or break-even point) is predicted to be around $12 billion in total,” the report said.
“For context, that’s just roughly 9 per cent of what we are predicted to have spent on the COVID-19 response in the last two financial years, or roughly 18 per cent of our defence spending in those two years