Greens’ bill removes customer choice and threatens a stable low carbon transition for Victoria
Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) is concerned about the impact on customers, the environment and Victoria’s clean energy future if a Greens’ Bill announced this week calling for a ban on new gas connections is enacted.
AGIG strongly opposes any policies that remove customer choice and threatens the diversity and security of Victorian energy supplies. Customers should be able to make their own decision on their energy sources. Maintaining diversity and customer choice is key to a low risk, low cost and stable decarbonisation pathway.
AGIG CEO Craig de Laine stated, “the current energy challenge highlights the importance of energy stability and diversity, including the continued role of gas in maintaining energy supply to meet demand and to fill in supply gaps from generation shortages.”
Importantly gas is not in conflict with decarbonisation. Renewable gases such as hydrogen and biomethane provide a clear pathway to decarbonise the gas used by Victorians. Electrifying homes and businesses in the near term is unlikely to deliver emissions benefits given Victoria still relies on a large amount of brown coal for power generation. There is the additional challenge that supply of renewable electricity doesn’t always match demand, an issue that renewable gas can greatly help to overcome.
In response to calls to change planning laws from mandating new homes to connect to gas, Mr de Laine said there is no mandate to connect to natural gas in Victoria - we only connect customers who choose to do so. The over 5 million Victorians who rely on gas today have made that choice as a result of the benefits they receive, including the very high levels of reliability that gas brings.
“Decarbonisation of energy in Victoria is an enormous challenge – we need all available options to work together to deliver on our carbon reduction goals, including through carbon-free gas solutions such as renewable hydrogen. Not only does renewable hydrogen decarbonise gas supply in Victoria, it will also assist efforts to decarbonise the electricity and transport sectors. Reducing the use of Victoria’s world-class gas network is short-sighted and threatens a stable transition to a clean energy future.”
“AGIG is working hard to decarbonise its distribution networks and has a low carbon strategy to deliver 100% carbon-free gas by no later than 2050, with at least 10% renewable gas blends to homes and businesses by 2030, in line with Victoria’s emissions reduction targets.”
"Using our existing gas networks to deliver renewable gas, including renewable hydrogen and biomethane, will provide a low cost, stable, reliable and practical way of decarbonising the energy used by Victorians,” stated Mr de Laine.
Renewable gas technologies have been demonstrated in Australia and around the world. Hydrogen Park Murray Valley is the next step in our renewable gas journey, which will provide a 10% renewable hydrogen blend to over 40,000 homes and businesses in Victoria and New South Wales.
The carbon free gases we use are zero emissions hydrogen, and net-zero carbon biomethane made from organic waste. These are clean, commercially viable technologies – just like solar panels and wind farms.
Australian Gas Networks (AGN) and Multinet Gas Networks (MGN) along with the Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline in Western Australia, form part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) which owns and operates one of Australia’s largest gas infrastructure businesses with operations across every mainland state and the Northern Territory supplying approximately 2 million customers. In Victoria, AGN and MGN distributes gas to over 1.4 million customers through over 21,000km of distribution network.
AGIG opened its $14.5 million hydrogen production facility, Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA), the largest in Australia at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide in May 2021 blending renewable hydrogen into its natural gas distribution network supplying renewable gas to over 700 residents to parts of the Adelaide suburb of Mitchell Park. AGIG is also in the process of developing a hydrogen plant in Gladstone, Queensland.
Additionally, AGIG plans to develop Hydrogen Park Murray Valley (HyP Murray Valley) – partnering with ENGIE - in Wodonga, Victoria. HyP Murray Valley will comprise a 10MW electrolyser using renewable electricity to produce hydrogen from 2024, subject to a number of regulatory and financial approvals. The site will be blending 10% renewable hydrogen into the existing natural gas network to supply more than 40,000 existing residential, commercial and industrial customers in Wodonga, Victoria and nearby Albury, New South Wales.
AGIG’s vision is to be the leading gas infrastructure business in Australia - by delivering for customers, being a good employer, and being sustainably cost efficient.