The ACT Greens would push to make a new Molonglo Town Centre all-electric, if elected, in a bid to move the ACT away from gas and towards lower emissions.
The Greens want the town centre to be constructed without a gas pipeline, with solar energy on all commercial buildings, battery storage, ‘smart’ building technology like automated heating and lighting, and electric vehicle charging with the capability to inject power back into the grid from vehicle batteries.
ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said the ACT’s ambitious plans to be carbon-neutral by 2045 means decisions need to be made now about future development that would see the city achieve that goal.
“These shopping centres we’re building now will still be standing in 2045 so we need to make the decisions today to ensure those shopping centres will be emissions free when we get to that date in the future,” he said.
The Molonglo Town Centre is expected to be delivered in the next few years, and Greens candidate for Murrumbidgee Emma Davidson said it would also deliver long awaited local shops for the residents of Molonglo Valley.
“We’ll also work with major retailers like supermarkets to ensure they’re doing their bit for a more sustainable Canberra,” she said.
While the Greens when asked didn’t provide any costing details of ensuring the project would be gas-free, Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Government has previously demonstrated all-electric buildings are possible, with all-electric schools and projects such as the Canberra Hospital Expansion.
“So what we’re demonstrating is it feasible to build these all-electric buildings,” he said.
Some concerns have been raised about how businesses such as restaurants would operate without gas to prepare food.
Mr Rattenbury pointed to chefs across the country, such as Rockpool’s Neil Perry, who are championing induction cooking in restaurants.
“Not only is it very precise, but it also actually keeps the kitchen cooler,” he said.