Consultations have opened on national reforms that will support the next steps in the roll-out of hydrogen, biomethane and other renewable gases to be used in Australia’s gas networks.
The Energy ministers agreed in August to expedite reforms to support investment in projects that will help to scale-up Australia’s clean hydrogen and biomethane industries.
The aim of these reforms is to ensure regulation allows for safe, low-level blending of hydrogen, biomethane and other renewable gases into existing gas distribution systems and for use in gas appliances in Australian businesses and homes.
The consultations will seek feedback on what changes are needed to the National Gas Law and National Energy Retail Law. The Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Energy Market Operator will also be seeking feedback on required changes to relevant rules and procedures.
The reforms support the federal government’s actions to build a clean hydrogen industry and expand biomethane opportunities through reducing regulatory barriers, minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said.
“These reforms will encourage even more innovative projects to be rolled out across Australia by ensuring regulation doesn’t restrict investment. This will also ensure consumers are adequately protected if using these low emission technologies,” he said.
“Blending biomethane and hydrogen into our gas networks is an important measure to increase domestic demand and grow these new industries. This scale is needed to help reach our ‘H2 under $2’ goal under the Technology Investment Roadmap and be a major global player in clean hydrogen by 2030.
“Gas blending will also advance our vision of establishing hydrogen hubs in regional Australia under the government’s $464 million Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program.”
The federal government is investing over $1.2 billion to make Australia a global leader in clean hydrogen production and export, with enabling hydrogen blending identified as a priority in the National Hydrogen Strategy.
Government-supported trial projects are underway and larger-scale hydrogen blending and biomethane injection projects are in development.
The government is also developing an Emissions Reduction Fund method that will credit the emissions avoided from displacing the consumption of natural gas with biomethane. They have announced that the development of a similar method for hydrogen blending will be a priority in 2022.
Stakeholders and interested parties can find the consultation papers and provide feedback through the Energy Ministers’ website.
Energy Ministers will consider the draft reforms in mid-2022, following further consultation in 2022 on draft legislative changes.