Renewable gases such as hydrogen and biomethane should be central to any national strategy aimed at keeping our economy strong and energy costs affordable in the transition to a low-carbon future, energy infrastructure company Jemena has asserted in its response to the Federal Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap.
In presenting the case for carbon neutral renewably-generated gases, Jemena’s Executive General Manager of Gas Distribution, Dr Jennifer Purdie said it is time to challenge the notion that customers can only access renewable energy through the electricity grid.
“The Technology Investment Roadmap is an opportunity to focus on reducing emissions and identifying job and investment opportunities to ensure Australia is a world leader in renewable energy. We support Australia’s need to meet its emissions reduction obligations and acknowledge the role gas and electricity will have in delivering this.
‘We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the report and to outline how renewable gases such as hydrogen and bioenergy can support the strategic plan as well as address the energy trilemma of reliability, affordability and sustainability,” said Dr Purdie.
Environmental and economic benefits of renewable gas.
Jemena has called for a national certification program to enable customers to purchase verified and accredited zero emission gas as is currently the case for renewable electricity.
An accreditation system will attract investors to develop a renewable gas industry that can encourage business growth and enhance Australia’s energy security.
“There is a ready market for renewable gas and we are confident that through raising awareness, unlocking seed funding and incentivising market-scale projects, Australia can transition to a lower carbon future,” Dr Purdie said.
“Renewable gas is environmentally friendly, cost efficient, and has a role to play in lowering emissions in sectors such as heavy transport, manufacturing and gas networks.
“The best way to support Australia’s transition to a lower carbon future is to maximise efficiencies to keep customers’ costs down. For example, the Jemena Gas Network delivers natural gas to 1.4 million people in News South Wales. This existing infrastructure could be repurposed to support zero-carbon gases such as biomethane and hydrogen. This would be cheaper than adapting the electricity system to handle this load.
“We have commenced work to demonstrate this through the Western Sydney Green Gas project, which is co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The $15 million trial will include the first electrolyser to be installed in New South Wales. It will utilise solar and wind power to generate enough hydrogen to power approximately 250 homes. In addition, we are also in discussion with potential bioenergy partners to inject biomethane into the network.
“Following recent announcements for the Bioenergy Roadmap and the $300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund, we are pleased to see genuine momentum building to support renewable gas in Australia. We have seen constant evolution in our industry, including the transition from town gas to natural gas in the 1960s and ’70s. The Technology Investment Roadmap is an opportunity to ensure renewable gas is central to the debate for our next transition,” Dr Purdie said.