Bio-gas to power households and businesses

Joint media release with New South Wales Minister for Water, Property and Housing, the Hon Melinda Pavey

The Morrison and Berejiklian governments are backing Australia’s first biomethane-to-gas project that will see thousands of New South Wales homes and businesses using renewable gas for cooking, heating and hot water.

Energy infrastructure company Jemena has partnered with Sydney Water to generate biomethane at the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant and inject it into Jemena’s existing gas distribution network.

Biomethane is a renewable gas that is produced from organic material and can be easily blended with traditional natural gas.

The project will deliver reliable and cleaner gas to Sydneysiders and has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 5,000 tonnes each year – the equivalent of taking 1,900 cars off the road.

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said gas plays a key role in supporting Australia’s growing renewable capacity, and in delivering the reliable and affordable energy Australians deserve.

“The Commonwealth Government is committed to partnering with industry and supporting projects that drive the gas-led recovery from the COVID-19 recession, which is why we are backing this exciting, innovative project,” said Minister Taylor.

“This project demonstrates the importance of our existing gas infrastructure for the roll-out of new energy technologies. Our gas pipelines provide the essential foundation needed so customers can access renewable gas and hydrogen.

“Gas is not a competitor for renewables, it is complementary. We will continue to take practical action to reduce emissions, while strengthening the economy and supporting jobs that rely on affordable, reliable energy.”

New South Wales Minister for Water, Housing and Property, Melinda Pavey said partnering with the private sector through innovation will be crucial to unlocking the potential of wastewater to help power Greater Sydney.

“The nation’s largest wastewater treatment plant at Malabar will be able to produce about 95,000 gigajoules of biomethane each year based on current volumes which is enough to meet the gas demand of 6,300 homes,” Mrs Pavey said.

“As Sydney grows, so too does the volume of wastewater treated at Malabar. The biomethane facility has the capacity to double production which means by 2030, we could increase supply to up to 13,000 homes.

“‘Gas to grid’ is a demonstration of the circular economy. As well as gas, we can produce recycled water, electricity and biosolids, helping build a resilient network and creating cool, green spaces for our customers to live, work and play.”

The $14 million project is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth, Sydney Water and Jemena, with the Commonwealth Government providing $5.9 million through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Biomethane is expected to be supplied to the network by 2022. The project will generate eight full-time jobs to support ongoing operations.

ARENA is currently developing a Bioenergy Roadmap on behalf of the Commonwealth Government to identify the role that the bioenergy sector can play in accelerating Australia’s energy transition, enhancing energy security and helping further reduce our emissions.

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