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The transition by South Australia to a cleaner energy future has reached a new milestone.

Residents in parts of the Adelaide suburb of Mitchell Park will by mid next year, become SA’s first natural gas customers to receive a blended 5% renewable gas – a combination of natural gas and renewable hydrogen.

The renewable hydrogen will be produced at nearby Hydrogen Park South Australia.

First announced in February 2018, Australian Gas Networks (AGN) - part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) – will construct and operate a A$11.4 million hydrogen production facility to produce renewable hydrogen at the Tonsley Innovation District, south of Adelaide.

AGN received a A$4.9 million grant from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Technology Fund to build and operate the project.

Using a 1.25 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, renewable electricity will be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.

The renewable hydrogen will then be blended with natural gas and supplied to 710 customers in southern areas of Mitchell Park via the existing natural gas network.

Subject to development approvals, plant construction is due to commence later this year with first production of hydrogen slated for mid-2020.

"The project is a key milestone, as it represents the first step towards decarbonising South Australia’s gas networks. Gas consumers clearly want energy bills to be kept low but in a manner reflecting Australia’s commitment to a cleaner future," AGN Chief Customer Officer, Mr Andrew Staniford, said today.

“The Mitchell Park households can expect to be serviced by mid next year with this more environmentally friendly gas supply,” Mr Staniford said. “When burnt, hydrogen, unlike natural gas, does not release any carbon emissions, only water and heat so it is essentially just another gas we can use in place of, or blended with, natural gas to provide energy and heat,” he said.

Customers receiving the blended 5% renewable gas will not notice any difference in their supply.

1 AGN will purchase (and voluntarily surrender) Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) to offset the amount of electricity and ensure the 5% hydrogen supplied to customers is renewable.
2 There is no additional cost to customers receiving the blended 5% renewable gas and the change will not impact any arrangements these customers have with their existing natural gas retailer.

Renewable hydrogen will comprise no more than 5% of the total blended renewable gas volume to be supplied to parts of Mitchell Park. The characteristics of the blended 5% renewable gas are consistent with the Australian Standard for natural gas supply.

Similar projects are under development in other states by other gas network operators.

South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining, the Hon. Mr Dan van Holst Pellekaan, MP, today welcomed AGN’s commitment to developing an environmentally friendly blended renewable gas.

“South Australia’s low-cost wind and solar energy gives us a fundamental competitive advantage in producing renewable hydrogen,” Minister van Holst Pellekaan said.
“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to building South Australia’s renewable energy industry and increasing job opportunities in the sector.

“Whilst natural gas is already a low-carbon option for homes and businesses, the blending of renewable hydrogen provides an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions even further.”
The new blended 5% renewable gas is not the first time hydrogen has been used in Adelaide homes. Before natural gas pipelines were laid in the 1950s, Adelaide properties ran on ‘town gas’ which was manufactured from coal and typically comprised 50-60% hydrogen.

Hydrogen is already in use in parts of Europe as a blended residential gas for cooking, hot water and heating, varying between 10% and 20% of total gas content.
This project is a first step in AGN's vision to deliver 100% renewable gas. AGN is also actively pursuing additional hydrogen projects with a view to blending more hydrogen into its South Australian and other Australian networks.

For further information please contact:

Andrew Staniford, Chief Customer Officer, AGIG, T (08) 8418 1125

John Field, Field Public Relations T (08) 8234 9555 M (0418) 819 527

For information on the Hydrogen Park demonstration plant:

About AGIG

Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) has approximately 2 million customers across every mainland state and the Northern territory, 34,000km of distribution networks, over 4,000km of gas transmission pipelines, 52 petajoules of gas storage capacity and remote power generation. AGIG’s vision is to be the leading gas infrastructure business in Australia - by delivering for customers, being a good employer, and being sustainably cost efficient.

In 2017, Australian Gas Networks (AGN), Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline (DBP) and Multinet Gas Networks (MGN) came together to form AGIG. The combined distribution, transmission and storage assets make AGIG one of the largest gas infrastructure businesses in Australia.