Gas a crucial part of energy transition: industry report

A new report outlines how gas is the only technology that offers the rapid response required to work with intermittent renewable energy generation.

A new report outlines how gas is the only technology that offers the rapid response required to work with intermittent renewable energy generation.

Combining gas appliances with solar PV is the most practical and cost-effective way to achieve the lowest carbon emissions, says a report released by three Australian gas industry associations.

Australia’s Bright Gas Future – a publication by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) and the Energy Networks Association (ENA) – highlights the significant benefits of natural gas and the need for policies that support energy security and carbon abatement ambitions.

The report outlines how gas is the only technology that offers the rapid response required to work with intermittent renewable energy generation.

“For households that have adopted solar energy to reduce their emissions, gas also plays an important role when the sun is not shining,” the report says.

“Without gas-fired generation in the Australian electricity system and a gas connection for cooking, Australian solar homes will generally be ‘cooking on coal’, because of the use of coal baseload power generation,” it adds.

The report also underlines how:

  • gas appliances provide a great opportunity for households to introduce highly efficient and cost-competitive facilities for their home
  • using biogas to generate heat and power doubles the emissions abatement effect from biogas
  • gas-fired power stations provide essential support to the modern electricity grid
  • using gas fired embedded generation, or micro turbines, gas can be converted into electricity to run buildings and supply power for electric vehicles at a fraction of the emissions levels of grid-sourced electricity.

The need for stable policy
APPEA, APGA and the ENA have called for coherent energy policy frameworks to unlock the benefits of natural gas in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

ENA Chief Executive John Bradley said “outdated policies” are preventing gas, a low-emissions fuel, from meeting Australia’s needs.

“Natural gas is a flexible fuel, ideal for use in conjunction with renewable generation sources, and essential for our industry,” Mr Bradley said.

“If we want to achieve our emissions reduction targets at least cost, Australia needs a level playing field which makes the best use of our exceptional gas resources,” he added.

APGA Chief Executive Cheryl Cartwright said Australia has more than 100,000 km of distributed pipelines and more than 35,000 km of transmission pipelines that efficiently deliver natural gas to over 4.5 million consumers.

On a similar note, APPEA Chief Executive Malcolm Roberts said in many areas, natural gas simply cannot be replaced.

“It is an essential feedstock in the production of fertilisers and pharmaceuticals, and electricity simply cannot produce the temperatures or consistency of heat needed in the manufacture of products such as bricks, glass and paper,” Dr Roberts said.

“Natural gas is a crucial part of Australian industry and we must ensure its future in our energy mix.”

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