Jemena has called for a national approach to green accreditation for renewable gases, such as biomethane and hydrogen, as part of its submission to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Bioenergy Roadmap.
A green certification system would enable users to purchase verified and accredited zero emission gas as is currently the case for renewable electricity.
Jemena Executive General Manager, Gas Distribution, Dr Jennifer Purdie, said as Australia looks to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, renewable gas could unlock regional jobs, business growth, enhance energy security, and be injected into the network with no impact to customer appliances.
“Australia has the capacity to be a world leader in zero emission gas,” Dr Purdie said.
“Several green hydrogen gas trials have commenced for domestic and international markets across the nation, including our own Western Sydney Green Gas project, in which the first electrolyser in New South Wales will be installed later this year.
“This technology utilises solar and wind power to create carbon neutral hydrogen gas, which is stored in the Jemena Gas Network, making it accessible to homes, business and the vehicle industry.
“In addition, we also have the capacity to unlock our bioenergy sector. Well established in Europe, bioenergy is a proven ‘here and now’ fuel source and can help Australia address the energy trilemma of affordability, reliability and sustainability.
“Renewable gases have a huge role to play in lowering emissions in sectors such as heavy transport, manufacturing and our gas networks.
“Fundamentally this is a building block towards the development of a renewable gas product which enables green gas power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the same way as we’ve got renewable electricity PPAs.
“It’s also challenging the notion that the only way to be 100 per cent renewables is through electrification.”
Time to unlock Australia’s bioenergy potential
Bioenergy is derived from plants, animals, and their by-products and residues, such as agriculture, farming, human and forestry wastes and remains. Converted into biomethane, it can provide reliable and responsive carbon neutral energy for homes and businesses.
According to Bioenergy Australia, the total contribution of the biofuels industry to the US economy in 2016 was $459 billion, employing 4.65 million direct and indirect workers. It’s estimated the Australian biofuels industry could provide 250,000 jobs, mostly in regional areas.
“In addition to employment opportunities, there are clear benefits for customers who want green energy,” Dr Purdie said.
“We estimate that there are approximately 30 petajoules of biomethane gas in close proximity to the Jemena Gas Network alone, enough to supply all current New South Wales natural gas residential customers and support the NSW Government’s drive towards zero emissions by 2050.”
Jemena’s submission to ARENA’s Bioenergy Roadmap has been delivered, along with a letter of support signed by members of the sector as well as industry associations and groups, representing thousands of large and small businesses across Australia.
“Australia is uniquely placed to benefit from the renewable gas industry. The energy industry can work collaboratively with the bioenergy and hydrogen sectors to store natural gas, and renewably-generated gases in existing infrastructure” Dr Purdie said.
“The Jemena Gas Network for example, can act like a giant battery and bring renewable gas to more than 1.4 million customers for cooking, heating and hot water.
“In our submission, we have committed to leading the development of a certification system to recognise biomethane as a renewable and net zero emission energy source.
“Achieving this will kick start projects that can go to market quickly, which will be important as we get back on our feet following the Coronavirus pandemic.”