ATCO investigates renewable natural gas in Albany

ATCO team and pollies in Albany
Albany Labor candidate Rebecca Stephens, ATCO General Manager Business Development West Russell James, Minister for Regional Development The Hon Alannah MacTiernan, and ATCO Supervisor Andrew Buchanan

In the ongoing journey to provide renewable energy to communities around Australia, ATCO has entered into an agreement with the Great Southern Development Commission (GSDC) to undertake a feasibility study into opportunities for renewable natural gas (RNG) in Albany.

The First City 100 per cent Renewable Gas Project will assess the viability of injecting RNG into the Albany gas network, providing a low emission energy source for the people of Albany. 

“Recently Albany endorsed its Climate Change Action Declaration, committing to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Reducing carbon emissions by creating a lower emission gas network will assist the City and its people to achieve this goal,” said ATCO’s managing director and chief operating officer, Patrick Creaghan.

“RNG is essentially treated methane which is a by-product of existing waste management sites.  Rather than burning the methane into the atmosphere, what our feasibility study will investigate is the potential to treat this methane and when clean, blend a percentage into the Albany gas network which will lower gas emissions across the City.”

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The Western Australian State Government, through the Great Southern Development Commission, is providing $20,000 towards the feasibility study, which will examine a proposal to harvest RNG from the North Bannister Waste Facility, south of Perth. The RNG will then be transported by road to Albany and injected into ATCO’s Albany reticulated gas network, the only ATCO-managed network distributing LPG rather than LNG.

The Hon Alannah MacTiernan, Minister for Regional Development said, “Albany residents take pride in their wind farm’s contribution to Western Australia’s renewable energy position and they would love to know if the same could be said of their gas for cooking and heating.

“Through our Renewable Hydrogen Strategy and other initiatives, the McGowan Government is exploring a range of options to develop a strong position for Western Australia in the renewable energy sector.

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“The prospect of recycled natural gas for Albany would complement these endeavours.”

“The First City 100 per cent Renewable Gas Project is an exciting project for ATCO to be involved with, and our first with RNG. We anticipate that work will begin on the feasibility study shortly, with findings available in 2021,” Mr Creaghan said.

“How much we can blend with natural gas, and what effect this will have on the network and gas customers are some of the elements the feasibility study will address.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved in renewable energy in Western Australia, and we look forward to working with the team at GSDC to create an ongoing, sustainable energy source for the people of Albany.”