Response to Canberra Times article “Renewable power plan for Ginninderry comes with air pollution concerns.”

On  13 May 2018 the Canberra Times published the following article:


One of a range of commitments to creating a sustainable community at Ginninderry is the trial of an all-electric pilot project for stage 1 of the development, which includes approximately 350 dwellings.

The Environment Protection Authority has supported the trial in-principle, which will see Stage 1 residents able to access a complete Home Energy Package, including mandatory solar panels and energy management systems. These, together with high efficiency appliances, will allow residents to keep an eye on their energy usage, while helping them to save money on their home energy.

For clarity, a list of mandatory appliances related to the all-electric trial for Stage 1 is provided below:

  • Solar PV System:
    • 2kW for blocks under 250m2
    • 3kW for blocks between 251 – 350m2
    • 4kW for blocks betwrrn 350 – 500m2
    • 5kW for blocks over 500m2
  • Reposit Energy Management systems
  • Battery-ready inverters (allowing for a battery storage unit to be installed in the future)
  • Heatpump or solar hot water systems
  • Energy efficient heating and cooling systems:
    • reverse cycle air conditioning systems with an Energy Efficiency Rating greater than 3.5
    • ducted evaporative cooling systems with self-closing dampers
    • ground source heat pump

Note also that induction cooktops are our preferred electric cooktop solution.

Wood fired heaters are not a recommended heating solution for Ginninderry and it is unlikely that many people will install such products as primary heating.  However we recognize that some people appreciate the cosy feeling of an occasional wood fire and have commissioned expert reports on wind and weather patterns and on air quality to determine a sustainable solution.  In consultation with the EPA the Ginninderry Housing Development Requirements have proposed that wood burning stoves have an efficiency of no less than 65% and an emission level no greater than 1g/Kg.  Note that this is considerably more stringent than the current Australian Standards (AS/NZS 4012:2014 (efficiency) AS/NZS4013:2014 (emissions) which mandate efficiency of 55% and emissions less than 2.5g/Kg.

A combination of these stringent standards and the ambient weather patterns will ensure maintenance of the excellent air quality in both Ginninderry and in neighbouring suburbs

A thorough triple bottom line assessment (economic, social and environmental) was conducted for the Ginninderry Energy System. This was modelled technical experts has been peer reviewed by Professor Andrew Blakers (Professor of Engineering at the ANU). Financial modelling included a comparison of savings for an average new Canberra home – with typical gas appliances vs an all-electric scenario (with solar PV). In this instance, a resident is likely to save approx. $1,800 each year in energy costs. Upfront cost of appliances in the all-electric and solar are slightly higher ($5,755 more) however, the reduced running costs could save a resident in the order of $20,000 over the lifetime of the system.