Today, gas is essential to our economy and modern lifestyles. In the future, gas will continue to be essential as Australia makes the transformation to a cleaner energy future.
Whether it’s for hot water, domestic heating, or gas-fired cooking, gas plays a central role in the lives of over 6.5 million Australian households. Today, gas delivers 44% of Australia’s household energy but only 13% of household greenhouse gas emissions.
Gas provides nearly a quarter of Australia’s total energy supply. Gas also plays an important role in our economy with approximately 130,000 commercial businesses relying on gas. Major industries use gas for energy and as a feedstock for manufacturing products such as plastics, chemicals and fertilisers. Figures collated by Deloitte demonstrate that gas underpins a variety of local industries. It estimates that half of the gas consumed in Australia is used in manufacturing and mining industries that contribute $196 billion to the national economy employing 949,000 Australians.
Our vision is for Australia to turn its gas resources into products and services that will enhance national prosperity while achieving carbon neutrality.
Gas has an essential role to play in reducing emissions. In the home, gas is a cleaner fuel than electricity from the grid. Fuel switching from coal to gas offers the most immediate and risk-free option to cut emissions from the electricity generation sector. Jacobs foresees at least a tripling of gas-fired generation as part of its least cost path to achieving our nation’s 2030 emissions target.
Gas-fired generators can be rapidly started making them complementary with intermittent renewable energy. Exporting gas as LNG will allow our Asian trading partners to reduce the emissions from their economies.
Over the long-term, gas will have its own decarbonisation journey. New fuels, such as biogas and hydrogen, have the potential to become mainstream and complementary energy solutions that will use existing energy infrastructure. Biogas, for instance, can make use of landfill or agricultural and forestry waste to produce a net-zero emissions fuel. Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas or through electrolysis using off-peak renewables. Carbon capture and storage is a proven technology for removing greenhouse gas emissions and can be applied to power generation, industrial processes that use natural gas, hydrogen production from methane, or even biogas production resulting in negative emissions. This leads to emission- free energy, where hydrogen can then be stored in the gas network, providing reserve energy in the same way battery technology does, in a carbon-neutral, secure and cost- effective manner, while also providing inter- seasonal energy storage.
This Gas 2050 Vision report is the next step in our gas journey. It reflects the ambitions of key organisations which represent Australia’s gas sector. It shows that gaseous fuels have a pivotal role to play in Australia’s low carbon future to 2050 and beyond. Our plan is for this Vision to be refined and further developed as the role of gas in Australia’s energy mix continues to evolve.
Download the Gas Vision 2050