The Victorian Government recently sought input from the community and industry to inform the development of a Gas Substitution Roadmap, which will provide a strategic framework for decarbonising natural gas in Victoria.
Expected to be released later this year, the Roadmap will identify policies and programs to reduce the use of natural gas, reduce fugitive emissions which result from leaks, venting and flaring of gas and help inform long-term planning and investment decisions for gas use in Victorian homes and businesses.
AusNet Services, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), APA Group, and Jemena took the opportunity to provide feedback to the Gas Substitution Roadmap consultation process which closed 6 August 2021.
AGIG commended the State Government for its proactive approach to considering ways for the gas sector to reach net-zero emissions. It notes that developing a framework that provides similar support for the renewable gas sector as the renewable electricity sector is key to efficiently and effectively decarbonising energy supply, retaining customer choice and improving energy security and reliability for Victorians.
AGIG CEO, Ben Wilson, stated: “Using our existing gas networks to deliver renewable gas, including renewable hydrogen and biomethane, provides a low cost, reliable and practical way of decarbonising natural gas use in Victoria.”
“Victorians love natural gas today. Importantly, renewable gas will allow our customers to continue to enjoy the benefits of gas into the future while meeting their sustainability goals.”
“Blending renewable hydrogen into gas networks is a crucial early step to ramp up supply growth, thereby bringing costs down. This is exactly the same pathway taken for the renewable electricity sector,” Mr Wilson said.
“By getting the foundations right, Victoria can build a thriving hydrogen industry that provides carbon-free gas to residential through to large industrial customers in the state, along with other complementary markets such as transport.”
“Building the scale and capability now by blending renewable hydrogen into gas networks to supply homes and businesses will also position Victoria to benefit from a substantial new export opportunity. We are talking exporting our sunshine from our rooftop solar systems to the world through hydrogen. This means thousands of new jobs in Victoria in this emerging carbon-free industry, including in regional areas.”
Mr Wilson added: “AGN believes introducing a firm Renewable Gas Target, similar to what is in place for renewable electricity, is required to start us on this carbon-free pathway for the gas supply sector and access substantial new jobs for Victoria.”
Jemena’s Managing Director, Frank Tudor, also reiterated the call for a Renewable Gas Target to be established as a viable means of jump-starting the renewable gas sector.
“The Renewable Energy Target proved crucial in driving down the cost of renewable electricity generation technologies such as solar and wind power. A Renewable Gas Target will perform the same role in the gas sector and would help to make hydrogen at $2 per/kg – as outlined in the National Hydrogen Strategy – a reality sooner,” said Mr Tudor.
APA’s CEO and Managing Director, Rob Wheals, said: “As coal is retired, natural gas will continue to play a critical role in ensuring electricity grid stability and helping Victorians keep the heater running and the lights on in winter.”
“However, as technology develops, Victoria’s existing gas infrastructure will be vital to connecting Victorians to the energy solutions of tomorrow, like hydrogen and biogas – and APA’s pipelines are adjacent to some of the best geographical areas for hydrogen production in Australia.”
“With billions of dollars invested in gas infrastructure across the country it makes sense to look at ways to efficiently use our existing energy infrastructure to support Victoria’s transition to a low-carbon future.”
Collectively, AusNet Services, AGIG, APA and Jemena are already investing over $130 million in projects designed for the application of renewable gases such as hydrogen and biomethane in residential, industry, and transport settings.
Read the Gas Substitution Roadmap Consultation Paper here.