03 November 2023
New Research: Renewable hydrogen delivers a viable path to a clean energy future
Renewable hydrogen generated from renewable electricity is a technically and economically feasible pathway for Australia’s clean energy future.
New research by the Australian Hydrogen Centre shows renewable hydrogen can be a vital part of Australia’s clean energy transition by using existing gas distribution networks to deliver carbon-free gas to Australian homes, business and industry.
The report, based on rigorous and independent economic and commercial assessments across the full renewable hydrogen value chain, shows how the right policy settings can foster the development of a substantial new renewable energy source, retaining the ability for Australians to access safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy in much the same way as they do today.
Craig de Laine, CEO of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, a founding member of the Centre, said the reports show the significant role renewable hydrogen delivered through existing gas distribution networks can play to help reduce carbon emissions.
“We have always said there is no single solution to the enormous task of decarbonising our homes and businesses – and we need more options, not fewer, to give us the greatest chance of achieving Australia’s emissions reduction targets while also maintaining the security, reliability and diversity of energy supply the community expects.
“Renewable gases such as renewable hydrogen and biomethane have a critical role to play in ensuring a smooth transition, creating new jobs and industries and as a low carbon energy choice for Australians. Allowing customers to continue to choose how they decarbonise should remain a fundamental part of our energy system going forward.”
“Indeed, many of our largest employers require the ongoing use of gas to decarbonise energy use and stay in business. Renewable gases such as hydrogen will provide this energy. Our gas infrastructure provides the means to supply renewable gas safely, reliably and efficiently in the same way we do today.”
“As a result of investment over the last two decades in our world-class infrastructure, our existing gas distribution networks are ready today to deliver renewable hydrogen, with much of our distribution network already ready for 100% renewable hydrogen. All of our networks are set to be 100% hydrogen-ready in the near future with minor incremental investment.“
“This report shows that a 10% blend of renewable hydrogen in our distribution networks can be a no-regrets pathway for carbon emissions reduction. Further, Australia has the potential to unlock a cost-efficient pathway towards 100% renewable hydrogen, making the most of our existing built infrastructure to help deliver on the transition.
“Around four thousand AGIG domestic gas customers are already enjoying blended renewable hydrogen gas in South Australia through our Hydrogen Park South Australia facility, and are reporting the same high levels of performance, safety, reliability and convenience as natural gas.”
“In the longer term, the transition to renewable hydrogen can deliver significant economic dividends as the cost of production decreases. Using existing technology to produce and supply 100% hydrogen can result in stable energy bills similar to projections of customer bills from 2021, excluding any cost of carbon or technology breakthroughs, which would put additional downward pressure on costs,” he said.
Transitioning our gas networks to supply renewable hydrogen has significant potential to deliver long-term economic benefits for Victoria and South Australia, with the report finding 10% hydrogen could create more than 700 new jobs during construction and more than 150 new jobs ongoing. Achieving 100% hydrogen across both states could create nearly 18,000 new jobs - 12,000 new jobs during construction and more than 5,500 new jobs ongoing.
“Australia’s emerging renewable hydrogen industry has huge potential to develop skills, jobs and export opportunities while we work towards delivering Australia’s carbon reduction targets “ said Mr de Laine.
“AGIG is proud to be a leading investor in hydrogen, but the key to continued investment and maximizing the carbon reduction and economic benefits from hydrogen deployment is ensuring we have supportive policy to create a sustainable investment ecosystem.”
“It is encouraging to see several governments taking important steps towards creating a hydrogen-powered future. This has enabled AGIG to make key investments in a number of renewable gas projects, including Hydrogen Park South Australia – Australia's first and largest operating electrolyser – along with other projects underway such as Hydrogen Park Gladstone in Queensland and Hydrogen Park Murray Valley in Victoria.
“This is just the start of what is possible for Australia’s energy system. We want to be able to continue to make investments and realise our low carbon vision of fully transitioning our gas distribution networks to renewable gas by 2040 as a stretch target, and no later than 2050”.
Australian Gas Infrastructure Group
AGIG owns, operates and invests in infrastructure which delivers gas to more than two million homes and businesses. It powers generators, mines, manufacturers and household appliances and the combined network makes AGIG one of the largest gas infrastructure businesses in Australia.
AGIG manages over 35,000km of world-class distribution networks, more than 4,300km of transmission pipelines and 60 petajoules of storage capacity, valued at a combined $10 billion. It employs approximately 400 Australians with more than 1,600 contractors working on our business.
AGIG is leading the Australian renewable hydrogen industry, with the establishment of Hydrogen Park SA, the largest operating electrolyser in Australia, the construction of Hydrogen Park Murray Valley and several other renewable hydrogen and biomethane projects in development.
AGIG has a low carbon vision to deliver 100% renewable gas by no later than 2050, with 10% renewable gas blends to homes and businesses by 2030, in line with emissions reduction targets.
The Australian Hydrogen Centre
The Australian Hydrogen Centre (AHC) is a cross-sector collaboration charged with assessing the feasibility of transitioning existing natural gas distribution networks into a new system to produce, store, and transport renewable hydrogen.
The AHC encompasses the state governments of South Australia and Victoria, and the major energy network businesses across those two states including AusNet Services, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, Engie, and Neoen. Whilst the state Governments have supported the AHC, the reports do not reflect existing state Government policy.
For Further Information Contact
Shari Lapthorne – Manager Corporate Affairs
M +61 418 937 134