Gas Vision 2050: Technology could drive decarbonisation of gas

Technology could strengthen the role Australian gas plays in the diverse energy mix beyond 2030, according to a new vision launched today by the gas industry.

The Gas 2050 Vision has been developed by Energy Networks Australia (ENA), Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA), Gas Energy Australia (GEA), and Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association of Australia (GAMAA).

The vision was presented to the Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, and the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, in Canberra today.

ENA Gas Committee chairman Ben Wilson said Australia’s gas supply and infrastructure should be a national advantage as our energy mix continues to evolve.

“The gas supply chain is working constructively with the government to provide the energy security Australia needs today,” Mr Wilson said.

“We also recognise the need to plan for the longer-term.

“Three transformational technologies – biogas, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage – could provide new zero-emission and low emission fuels that can deliver power to Australian homes, businesses and vehicles using the existing distribution network.”

Mr Wilson said that in the future, zero-carbon hydrogen from renewables could also be delivered in the gas network, and new technology would drive the decarbonisation journey of gas.

“We need a technology-neutral policy environment to allow industry to research, develop and demonstrate a diverse range of low emission technologies,” he said.

The country’s largest gas distributor, Australian Gas Networks, has backed the 25-page report, saying it was one of the most important documents released for the sector in recent times.

Australian Gas Networks owns about 23,500km of natural gas distribution networks and 1100km of transmission pipelines and has more than 1.2 million consumers across Australia.

Chief operating officer Andrew Staniford said the report was an “exciting first step” in the nation’s gas journey.

“Gas Vision 2050 outlines a decarbonisation pathway for gas just as there is for electricity,” he said.

“The key technologies that will enable this are bio-gas produced from organic waste, and hydrogen – produced from methane with carbon capture and storage or from electrolysis with off-peak renewable power.

“Biogas and hydrogen are net zero carbon and a gas network filled with these will be zero emissions.

“Hydrogen in particular fits beautifully with renewables: hydrogen production provides an off-peak revenue stream for wind and solar, enabling greater amounts of renewables onto the system, and using the gas network as a giant battery – six billion Powerwalls, the equivalent of 250 for every Australian and already built and paid for.”

Mr Staniford said the report provided a clear pathway of how the gas sector can work collaboratively with the electricity sector to provide Australian homes and businesses with reliable baseload energy, while supporting energy security and ensuring Australia can reach the carbon abatement targets set by the Commonwealth Government.

APPEA chief executive Dr Malcolm Roberts said natural gas has a pivotal role to play as we continue the move to a low-carbon economy, both in Australia and around the world.

“Substituting gas for more emissions intensive fuels is essential to achieving climate change targets,” Dr Roberts said.

“As a cleaner fuel, natural gas is also helping to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Australia’s liquefied natural gas exports are replacing fuels that have far higher emissions.”