Change on the way for how Victorians use natural gas

Cooking with induction shutterstock 1278526834

All Victorians are invited to have their say on the future of gas infrastructure as the state transforms to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Infrastructure Victoria, the state’s independent infrastructure advisory authority, today released its interim evidence base and report to the Victorian Government on the role of gas infrastructure in a zero emissions economy.

Infrastructure Victoria CEO Michel Masson said “Natural gas has been good to Victoria for more than half a century, heating our homes, cooking our food, and powering our industries and businesses all thanks to cheap, local supply.

“But the days of cheap gas are coming to end. Natural gas is also a fossil fuel responsible for 20% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, meaning our use of gas must change significantly if Victoria is to meet its emissions reductions targets and reduce the risks of climate change.”

Early findings from the interim report include:

  • Starting immediately, a mix of approaches will be needed to transform how Victorians use gas, to reduce emissions, manage risks, minimise costs and create new opportunities for jobs and industry.
  • The Victorian Government can support greater use of proven, low carbon solutions including energy efficiency, electrification and biogas to achieve emissions reduction. There may also be a role for gas-fired electricity generation to support our increasing use of renewable energy during the transition to net zero.
  • The government can continue to support further development and demonstration of emerging technologies including low emissions hydrogen, biomethane and carbon capture and storage until their viability at scale is known.
  • Reducing Victoria’s overall gas demand, especially in the household and commercial sectors where it is mostly used for heating, can reserve supplies for critical industrial purposes such as chemicals manufacturing.
  • Future infrastructure and network investment decisions can be tested for compatibility with pathways to net zero.  For example, expanding existing gas networks to new residential and commercial developments may embed future emissions and could mean a larger potentially underused or stranded asset.
  • Meeting the state’s emissions targets will be challenging. The Victorian Government has a crucial role to play in enabling the transformation by providing clear market signals, creating incentives to reduce, replace or decarbonise gas, and aligning its own polices and regulations with interim and 30-year emissions reduction targets.

Mr Masson said the road to net zero, regardless of how it happens, is a critical opportunity for the state that will affect most Victorian households, businesses and industries.

“All Victorians are invited to have their say about the future of gas. Our final report will take this feedback into account and give advice to government on the best pathways for gas infrastructure to 2050.”

Read our interim report, Towards 2050: Gas infrastructure in a zero emissions economy to find out more.