The Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) has urged New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission to ensure that renewable gas remains an option for its energy system in the future.
In a submission to the Commission’s public consultation on its first package of advice to the NZ Government on actions required to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, APGA expressed concern that the broad set of recommendations for natural gas in the draft advice puts at risk the decarbonisation pathway that future fuels offer New Zealand.
Future fuels like biogas, biomethane, hydrogen and bio-LPG offer a range of options to reduce emissions across a number of energy uses, including in manufacturing, transport, household and others. Leveraging existing gas infrastructure and markets, renewable gases offer a parallel pathway for cost-effective carbon-neutral energy.
A market of many technologies loosely at the stage of solar PV technology development in the 1980s, renewable gas options are reaching a level of commercial maturity which could see large-scale commercial adoption beginning before the end of this decade.
“These options will be available in the future only if existing gas markets remain vibrant, continue to attract highly skilled workers, and generate sufficient revenue to invest in the renewable gas transition,” the APGA submission said.
While 65 per cent of the electricity in NZ is now generated from renewables (mainly hydro), that amounts to just 14 per cent of the total energy used in the country.
Gas currently represents 19 per cent of energy demand, and many of these uses are not easily replaced by electricity. It is also beneficial to have multiple sources of energy as this increases the security and flexibility of the system.
“The CCC rightly identifies that gas power generation has undertaken a critical role in responding to seasonal variations in renewable energy generation, and further identifies that the transition away from this effective and affordable system will likely be a high-cost way to reduce emissions further,” the APGA submission reads.
The APGA submission can be found here.