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South Australian Greens have proposed to ban new gas connections.

By Shardul Sharma

Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) on August 5 said that a proposal from the South Australian Greens to ban new gas connections, saying the concept is short-sighted and overlooks the importance of renewable gas to the nation’s energy transition.

Renewable gases such as hydrogen and biomethane are net-zero carbon and provide new and reliable sources of energy, which can be utilised in the same way as natural gas is today, the company said.

“The renewable gas of tomorrow will utilise the world-class gas infrastructure that exists in South Australia today. We have spent over A$700mn over the past 10 years upgrading the South Australian gas network, which is ready to take hydrogen,” AGIG CEO Craig de Laine said. “Renewable gas is not only key to decarbonising gas supply in South Australia, but will also unlock further decarbonisation of the electricity sector, supporting a low risk, low cost, and stable decarbonisation pathway for the state.”

“To that end, we strongly oppose policies that threaten the security and diversity of energy supply and remove customer choice. The Greens are not best placed to make these decisions on behalf of the over 450,000 customers who want to use gas today and into the future,” he added.

Australian Gas Networks (AGN), part of AGIG, last year opened its A$14.5mn ($11.2mn) Hydrogen Park South Australia (HyP SA) green hydrogen plant and started adding the fuel into the Adelaide natural gas network.

Contrary to the statement from the Greens’ energy spokesperson, the Victorian government has not banned gas connections to new homes, AGIG said. The Victorian government’s recent energy policy roadmap provides clear support for the scaling up of industries that supply renewable gas and hydrogen, describing them as ‘essential’ to meeting net zero emissions, the company added.

“AGIG has welcomed the Victorian government’s recognition of the need to accelerate decarbonising the gas sector, particularly the consideration of a renewable gas scheme and renewable gas targets as a priority,” de Laine said. “We encourage other jurisdictions, including South Australia, to also adopt a Renewable gas target in order to drive investment in these critical technologies. The renewable gas sector has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in the emerging low carbon industry.”