New report shows Kiwi households could save thousands if they electrify their homes and cars

A new report shows New Zealand homes currently using gas appliances and petrol vehicles could save thousands every year if they went electric.

The report, from independent energy transition charity Rewiring Aotearoa, shows New Zealand's reached an electrification tipping point, meaning we're one of the first countries where electric appliances and cars are now more affordable over their lifetime than their fossil fuel equivalents.

It showed households that were able to get low interest loans to move away from gas and petrol to fully electric could save around $4500 a year, but even on an average home loan rates the savings would be $1500 a year.

And for families who wanted to do something about climate change but don't know how - it's a practical way to significantly cut emissions, with energy decisions made by households accounting for 14 percent of the country's emissions.

From an electric tractor and electric chainsaws to irrigation and frost fighting systems powered by renewable energy, Rewiring Aotearoa CEO Mike Casey's made huge savings by turning his cherry orchard electric.

He's encouraging Kiwis to do the same with their homes.

"It is now cheaper to run an electric home than it is a fossil fuel home, even considering the cost of capital, which is a really exciting situation to be in," Casey said.

The report showed household electrification could save New Zealanders money and reduce emissions.

Emeritus Professor of sustainable energy for Massey University Ralph Sims said the report confirmed what those in the sector had been saying for some time.

"We've got to go to electricity because we're 80-90 percent renewable, and leave the gas and the LPG behind because of our emissions," Prof Sims said.

"These are the lowest hanging fruit of emissions reductions in this country, we can attack them really quickly and we can make a significant impact on our international obligations for 2030," Casey said.

But installing solar panels or buying an EV is not something everyone can afford, Casey added.

"Banks are offering low interest on mortgages for the electrification of households but that doesn't really cater for the 47 percent of New Zealanders that rent, and it definitely doesn't cater for the people that are living paycheck to paycheck."

So, if it's in New Zealand's financial best interests to electrify households, will the Government help speed up the transition?

When Newshub asked, the Prime Minister pointed to two policies already announced.

"We've talked a lot about increasing the electric vehicle charging units up and down the country for the EV charging network, we've also talked about wanting to double the amount of renewable energy in this country," Luxon said.

Ray White's chief economist Nerida Conisbee told Newshub that in Australia it used to be just an environmentally-minded minority of buyers who took into account whether a home was fully electric.

Now it's far more common because of rising fossil fuel energy costs and the fact greener homes are cheaper to run.

And, in Victoria the state has even banned gas connections in new builds.

Having more electric houses requires more renewable generation and some grid upgrades, but energy experts say customer-generated energy from solar and battery storage will ease the burden on existing lines.

The report authors said as more people jump on board, solar costs will continue to come down making the ability of regular households to contribute to fighting climate change easier and easier.

Toha Science chief science officer, Professor Shaun Hendy, called the report "important and timely" and said it deserved considerable attention.

"I estimate that household electrification could eliminate approximately 10 percent of the current national greenhouse gas inventory," Prof Hendy said.

"This is significant, but barely accounted for in New Zealand's Emissions Reduction Plan."