Closing door on green gas options risks costing ACT customers more

The ACT’s Gas Transition Pathway will deny customers choice of energy supply, may cost them more in power bills and will remove the low-cost opportunity to utilise existing infrastructure to decarbonise gas.

Released today, the policy proposes banning new gas connections for households and encourages customers to switch to electrical appliances.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said it was disappointing the ACT Government was not allowing for renewable gas options.

“Studies show the lowest-cost pathway to net-zero is to repurpose existing gas pipelines and networks and provide clean renewable hydrogen and biomethane,’’ he said.

“On a winter’s day, gas provides more than twice as much energy as electricity in the ACT. Electrifying all that gas load will require significant upgrades to the power system that will unnecessarily increase costs.

“Decarbonising gas networks will also ensure we continue to have diversity of energy supply to ride through droughts in renewable generation – so we can keep the lights on and heat our homes when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.’’

Mr Dillon said the Gas Vision 2050 report showed that decarbonising gas using hydrogen was half the total cost compared to electrification.

“Renewable gas provides a clean energy choice for customers as the ACT strives to reach its climate goals,’’ he said.

Mr Dillon said trials around the country were proving renewable and carbon neutral gases can deliver, with most Australian gas networks having already replaced older steel distribution pipes with plastics that are suitable to carry renewable gases such as hydrogen.

“There is more than 30PJs of naturally occurring biomethane close to the gas distribution network in NSW,” he said.

“Just as the ACT is currently purchasing renewable electricity from other jurisdictions, in the future they could have the opportunity to purchase renewable gas the same way.

“This announcement in the ACT has the potential to curtail the development of this renewable gas sector, placing at risk gas’ decarbonisation pathway and local energy system security and affordability.”

Gas networks throughout Australia are undertaking projects that are already delivering renewable gas blends to customers, with ambitions to provide 100 per cent hydrogen or biomethane into homes in coming years.

Some examples of key renewable gas blending projects that are occurring across Australia are: