The Victorian Government has released a Gas Substitution Roadmap to help the state navigate the path to net zero emissions while providing greater choice and cutting energy bills.
The roadmap outlines how energy efficiency, electrification, hydrogen and biogas will be used to drive down bills and cut carbon emissions.
It will help Victorian households and businesses to use sustainable alternatives to fossil gas and enhance access to an affordable, secure, reliable, and safe supply of energy.
Over two million Victorians use gas in their homes and businesses – more than any other state or territory and ha also been a consistent producer and net exporter of gas, helping to meet the needs of Victorians and Australians in east coast gas markets.
The Victorian gas sector contributes to around 17 per cent of the state’s net greenhouse gas emissions and must play its part in reducing emissions over time. This needs to be balanced with the need for reliable, safe and affordable energy.
The Gas Substitution Roadmap is the start of the journey to net zero emissions for the gas sector. The Victorian Government will continue to engage and collaborate with community and industry during the gas sector’s transition to net zero emissions, including on a Roadmap update report in 2023.
Energy Networks Australia Acting CEO, Tamatha Smith said the roadmap should allow for all options to be explored to support renewable gas development or customers could end up paying more.
“Seventy per cent of Victorians rely on gas for heating and cooking. Meeting all this demand with electricity instead would be extremely difficult to achieve and more expensive for customers,” she said.
“In fact, the Gas Vision 2050 – Delivering a clean energy future report demonstrates that net-zero emissions can be reached with hydrogen at half the cost of electrification.
“The best and least- cost way to achieve net-zero is to repurpose the existing gas pipelines and networks that supply these homes to provide clean renewable hydrogen and biomethane and develop our renewable electricity grid.”
Ms Smith said the size of the energy transformation demanded a mix of solutions including electrification and renewable gas.
“This gives us diversity of energy supply – so we can ride through droughts in renewable generation – and retains customer choice,” she said.
Jono La Nauze, CEO of Environment Victoria said the roadmap is a step towards ending Victoria’s dependence on gas but lacks urgency and leaves a lot of work to be done.
“We welcome the fact that the government will no longer force millions of Victorians to use gas and provide greater support for people to shift to all electric homes to do so – but that really is just the bare minimum.
“After rumours the gas lobby had pressured the government into shelving the roadmap altogether, the fact it has been released is genuine progress. But for a government that talks big on climate – where is the big vision for a gas free Victoria?
“Alarmingly, this roadmap lacks clear goals and timelines and fails to rule out the potential use of…fossil hydrogen.”