Jemena calls for renewable gas target in Australia
Jemena’s managing director, Frank Tudor, said a renewable gas target would likely replicate the success of the renewable energy target (RET) which helped to spur the development of renewable technologies in the electricity sector.
“This is the jump-start the gas sector needs to truly commercialise zero-emission gases such as hydrogen and biomethane and make them available to Australian homes and businesses at scale,” said Tudor.
By deploying renewable gas using existing infrastructure to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, Australian energy consumers would also avoid costly and unnecessary upgrades to the energy sector, said Tudor.
“By decarbonising our existing gas infrastructure we can avoid unnecessarily building new alternative forms of energy infrastructure, which will have a significant impact on customer bills,” he said.
“In the short-term, this will make the transition to a low-carbon future seamless and means Australian homes and businesses can continue to use their gas stoves, heaters and other appliances.
“From 2050, conservative estimates suggest Australian energy consumers can save anywhere between $12-14 billion per annum by simply utilising existing gas infrastructure to decarbonise our economy.”
Tudor said a subsidy in the order of $3-15 per gigajoule (GJ) could facilitate the entry of significant amounts of renewable gas into the nation’s gas networks and is much less than the subsidy offered under the RET to the electricity sector, which was the equivalent to $22 per GJ.
“We believe a renewable gas target could see up to 9 petajoules of zero-carbon gas injected into Jemena’s New South Wales (NSW) gas distribution network by 2030. This would remove 464,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of over 200,000 cars, and help NSW achieve a 10% renewable gas target.
“Our initial analysis has found that this can be done at an estimated cost of around $15 for a typical NSW household.”
Tudor said a renewable gas target will also give confidence to hard-to-abate sectors, like manufacturing, which rely on gas as a fuel stock, that they could continue operating in Australia while decarbonising their supply chains.
“Renewable gases can also be used in the transport sector, particularly by larger vehicles such as buses and haulage vehicles,” commented Tudor. “At the same time, we believe renewable gas will also provide firming power to intermittent renewable generation, particularly as hydrogen-fuelled power stations are developed.”
Jemena’s call for a renewable gas target follows its call for a Green Gas Certification Scheme, which would enable customers to purchase verified green gas from their energy retailers in the same way they purchase renewable electricity.
The company is currently investing over $30 million in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in projects designed to test the application of hydrogen and biomethane in residential, transport, storage, and commercial settings.