How Household Electrification Could Put Back Millions Into the Australian Economy
In case you don't know - electrification refers to equipping households to power themselves on electricity instead of fossil fuels like gas or petrol. This includes appliances like hot water tanks, stoves, aircons, vehicles and much more. The biggest driving force is the fact that electricity can be generated by renewable means such as solar power, and therefore end up saving the end user thousands of dollars over time.
This growing idea has already gripped Australia, with 1 in 3 homes presently outfitted with some form of solar energy, and electric vehicles accounting for around 3.8% of all new car purchases in Australia since 2022 (the Guardian). But it goes a lot further than simply eliminating your petrol bills, ditching gas bills by swapping water tanks and stoves to electric, and getting your household's energy switched onto free solar energy. It's an idea that could put millions back into the Australian economy.
Where Do These Millions of Dollars Go Right Now?
Currently, the vast majority of the energy our communities use directs millions each year to coal and gas generated energy. From imported natural gas, fuel for our vehicles and coal-generated electricity from our grids - we're sending money out of the economy in droves. These processes result in about half or more of the money spent on these forms of energy exiting Australia completely - and don't lead to any local job or economic stimulation for the suburbs forking the bills.
Engineer Saul Griffith is quoted as saying: "Let me be very clear about the opportunity of an all-electric future. Our community could easily generate one-third, one-half or, very ambitiously, two-thirds of all the energy it needs. We could be using our own sunshine to power our vehicles. We could be using that same sunshine to power our water heaters, space heaters and cooktops. We could be keeping the majority of the [millions per community] a year that currently leaves the community and spending a lot of it here locally instead."
How Can Electrification in Australia Save Us Millions?
If we look at the typical spending patterns for households in Australia, we can expect that around 55% of all the savings made on energy will be redirected back into the local government area of those households. This means each community would be pouring their millions in savings over the years into their own shops, businesses, restaurants, schools, pubs and broader communities - bolstering their own economies with money that is already in circulation. This would in turn create hundreds of jobs in these communities, and drive even more businesses to spring up. Many of us view solar savings as a personal aspiration, but it has positive ripple effects. Savings for individual homeowners can compound into even further-reaching benefits for the entire community.
How Does Electrification Make it Possible?
Sounds a bit idealistic right now, doesn't it? There's a mental shift that needs to occur if we're going to embrace the idea of electrification, because it reaps its true rewards when Australian communities band together.
Right now, most Australians (approximately 1 in 3 according to the numbers) have already seen the immediate improvement solar power can make to their individual household's finances.
The most affordable electricity right now is renewable, and that's only going to become more pronounced as we run out of fossil fuels and demand raises prices on supply. The energy from your rooftop also doesn't need to travel across great distances nor come with the added surcharge of running our aging power plants in need of repair, maintenance, and in some cases rebuilding, cutting out further costs.
A shift to electrification will mean more of our lives can be run on renewable energy - from water tanks, to appliances, to vehicles and more. The more we switch fossil-fuel dependent parts of our lives (gas, coal and petrol) to ones that can be powered by electrification, the more dollars we can end up saving year on year. And we can pass those savings back on to our communities.
The Bottom Line
It's a future dawning on Australia quicker than most think - with government incentives ramping up, demand for more energy-efficient homes coming into regulation, and millions of dollars in financial support for electric vehicle infrastructure spanning across the nation.
It's the reason you're probably seeing more houses in Australia with solar panels on them than without, as Aussies start to catch on to the individual savings they could be making by ditching fossil fuels altogether.
Ditching your power bill is an incredibly liberating step, but it's still only the first one - the true benefits of household electrification are only just unfolding.