Time for a national discussion on gas

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With the release of the Governments Gas Transition Plan Issues Paper in August, GasNZ Chief Executive, Janet Carson has shared an opinion piece on why she thinks the paper provides the strongest signal yet that Government sees gas as key to the energy transition.

“The paper suggests that natural gas and LPG will be required for some years yet and that biogas and hydrogen have a role to play and could be produced at commercial scale in New Zealand.”

Carson  also says the paper provides the impetus for a national discussion on gas. “Let’s talk seriously about the future of gas and what it will take to get some serious investment in hydrogen gas and in biomethane. And let’s ask Kiwis what they think.

“Kiwis love gas – from continuous hot water, warm homes, cooking and barbecuing – it is hard to imagine life in Aotearoa without it.

“Our electricity system also depends on it to cover the gaps in electricity generation when hydro storage is low, the sun’s not shining and the wind’s not blowing.

Referring to the Ecogas and Firstgas Group collaboration in Reporoa, Carson notes that with a single biomethane project currently underway in New Zealand, there is significant opportunity for growth of the renewable gas sector.

Australians are tapping into the bioenergy opportunity with around 240 biogas plants already operating.

In April this year, GasNZ hosted a renewable gas tour of Australia to see first-hand the range of hydrogen and biogas projects being undertaken in Australia, including the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group’s (AGIG) renewable hydrogen development that delivers a five percent renewable gas blend to more than 4000 gas customers in Adelaide’s south in the suburbs of Mitchell Park.

“If you’re decarbonising energy, why wouldn’t you use the billion-dollar infrastructure you already have to help. The issues paper recognises the sense this makes.

“We congratulate the Government for putting the paper out there, now we need to take that discussion to marae, restaurants, hotels, laundromats and every New Zealander that depends on gas.

“Developing the renewable gas sector will give the two million Kiwis who directly rely on gas every day the reassurance that their fuel of choice will continue to be available – providing all the benefits of gas, while also helping to reduce our carbon emissions.

“The final Gas Transition Plan will have a profound effect on New Zealand’s future and a smooth transition to a net zero emission economy will ensure reliable and affordable forms of energy are available to consumers, and the flexibility to choose.

“I think Kiwis are really going to like this. So, let’s let them tell us what they think.

“The paper recognises that the transition challenge is not exclusively about reducing emissions but about the evolving role of natural gas and LPG in supporting the wider energy transition.

“The more energy options we have, the better for consumers and communities. Let’s make sure gas, in its many forms, is one of those options.”