Gas water heaters deliver for a low emissions future

The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has released its proposal to increase the take up of gas water heaters that will assist the abatement of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Released at Gas 2020: New Strategies New Markets in early May, the policy proposal Reducing emissions from residential hot water heating advocates for greater measures to support those small-scale technologies that reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

ENA acting chief executive officer Bill Nagle said the association is proposing a direct measure that will assist all households that switch from electric resistance hot water heaters, both to gas and solar.

“Electric resistance hot water heaters generate three times the greenhouse gas emissions than the more efficient alternatives of gas and solar. Despite this, more than half of Australian households (4.5 million) have an electric resistance hot water heater in their homes,” Mr Nagle said

“Unless inroads are made to replace existing stock with more efficient alternatives, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions will be more than 50 million tonnes of CO2-e higher in 2020 or 4 per cent of the 2020 emission reduction target.”

Despite COAG agreement in 2009, the phase-out by state and territory governments of electric resistance hot water heaters in new and existing homes by 2012 has stalled. In announcing their intention not to proceed with the phase-out some state government announcements have cited the rising cost of living pressures on households and the high upfront costs of more energy efficient alternatives.

The Climate Change Authority in its recent review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) ruled out the inclusion of additional displacement technologies in the RET, despite the fact two electricity displacement technologies are already included in the scheme.

“Assistance for some technologies under various schemes is generally justified on the grounds that they are renewable energy technology,” Mr Nagle said.

“However, this neglects the fact that gas hot water heaters are more efficient than the electric resistance hot water heaters they replace, are as energy efficient as heat pump hot water heaters and have lower upfront costs to households than solar.”

ENA believes there should be opportunities for households to choose from amongst all the greenhouse gas efficient alternative hot water systems.

“As we approach the 2013 Federal election, ENA will be advocating that all parties consider policy options that provide opportunities for greater take up of small scale technologies that deliver least cost genuine abatement,” Mr Nagle said.