A new report has shown that large-scale solar and wind energy generation would form the foundation of a zero-carbon gas network, aside from being the key to decarbonise Australia’s electricity grid. Energy Networks Australia published the report on Monday and states the country’s present gas network could be decarbonised by 2050 by utilising a combination of renewables, waste to energy biogas, and storage technology.
The report also indicates the potential of utilising the vast wind and solar resources of Australia to produce hydrogen fuels that could be injected into present gas networks. Deloitte Access Economics conducted the research for the said report and it claims that the decarbonisation of gas and electricity networks would benefit from the current infrastructure in order to present the best outcome for the citizens in terms of cost.
The report states, “The electricity required to replace the energy provided by the gas network will require vast upgrades to electricity generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure as well as additional investment in electricity storage.”
“This raises important questions about practicality and cost,” the report further claims. The report takes the case of Victoria as an example, where the gas network presently provides 69 percent of household energy annually. Shifting to 100 percent electricity in Victoria would result in increasing peak electricity demand in winter.
The report adds, “Gas distribution networks comprise large, long-lived assets. Repurposing this infrastructure to use decarbonised gas is likely to lower the overall cost of the emissions reduction task. Our gas infrastructure and networks (also) have the capacity to store unused renewable electricity to manage hourly, daily, and seasonal fluctuations in variable renewable supply and demand providing energy security and reliability.”
In a statement, Andrew Dillon, ENA Chief, expressed, “We know that there is significant potential across the country to apply the transformational technologies of biogas, hydrogen, and CCS to existing networks to build and maintain a highly reliable energy system.” Read the full report here.
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