Victoria and Albury business plans keep prices stable and prepare for a renewable gas future
Australian Gas Networks (AGN) and Multinet Gas Networks (MGN), both part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), are pleased to have provided their business plans to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for the five-year period commencing 1 July 2023.
Our plans set out the services we will provide our customers in Victoria and Albury and the prices for providing those services. Our plans provide for the ongoing safe and reliable supply of gas, while transitioning to a low carbon future in the most secure and affordable way.
Our plans propose average price cuts from 1 July 2023 of 10% and 1% for customers connected to the AGN and MGN networks respectively, which serve a combined 1.4 million homes and business in Victoria and Albury. Gas network charges make up around 25% of the average residential gas bill in Victoria.
AGIG’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Craig de Laine, said the business plans had been informed by extensive customer and stakeholder engagement.
“We have held more than 40 workshops over the last 18 months with our customers to develop our plans and have considered feedback from residential and business customers in metropolitan and regional areas served by our networks.” Mr de Laine said.
“Our customers told us it is important that we continue to deliver reliable and valued gas services today, whilst preparing our networks for a renewable gas future. We understand the impact utility bills have on Victorian homes and businesses, so we have looked for opportunities to keep costs down whilst still delivering the services our customers want.”
Decarbonising the energy used by Victorians is an enormous challenge – we need all available options to work together to deliver on our carbon reduction goals, including through carbon-free gas solutions such as renewable hydrogen. Not only does renewable hydrogen decarbonise gas supply in Victoria, but it will also assist in decarbonising the electricity and transport sectors.
For example, hydrogen can be used to address the challenges that still exist in the renewable electricity transition, including by further driving down renewable electricity costs by providing a significant new market for new and installed generation, providing grid-stability support and through substantial deep energy storage.
Consistent with this, AGIG strongly supports the development of a Renewable Gas Target as a priority for Victoria, as foreshadowed in the recently released Gas Substitution Roadmap. A Renewable Gas Target will correct the ongoing energy policy imbalance that exists and deliver a low-risk, stable and affordable low carbon transition for Victorians.
“Using our existing world-class gas networks to deliver renewable gas, including renewable hydrogen and biomethane, will provide the most secure and lowest cost transition to a low carbon future. Our networks are inherently reliable – our customers experience an unplanned outage on average once 2 every 30 years. We will continue to invest in our mains replacement program to deliver our world-class gas networks for both businesses. Our networks are also ready and capable of supporting the transition to renewable gas at little additional cost.” stated Mr de Laine.
“Customers are looking for sustainable energy solutions, and gas has an important role to play in the low carbon energy transformation. We want to ensure that customers can keep connecting to our existing gas networks to access the potential of hydrogen and renewable gas in the future. Our plans propose several important initiatives in support of this ambition.”
AGIG is working hard to decarbonise its distribution networks and has a vision to deliver 100% carbonfree gas by no later than 2050, with at least 10% renewable gas blends to homes and businesses by 2030, in line with Victoria’s emissions reduction targets. We are working on delivering the globally significant Hydrogen Park Murray Valley, which will provide up to a 10% renewable hydrogen blend to 40,000 homes and business located in the Albury and Wodonga region.
We expect the AER to release their draft decision on our Final Plans later this year.
Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) is one of Australia’s largest gas infrastructure businesses with operations across every mainland state and the Northern Territory supplying approximately 2 million customers. Operations include 40,000km of distribution and transmission gas pipelines, 60 petajoules of gas storage capacity, gas processing facilities and remote power generation. In Victoria, AGN and MGN distributes gas to over 1.4 million customers through over 21,000km of distribution network.
As a business, we are also taking active steps to deliver renewable gas. We are already leading the industry on the pathway to cleaner energy through Australia’s largest renewable hydrogen project, producing and blending renewable hydrogen into our existing gas network in South Australia known as Hydrogen Park South Australia.
Additionally, AGIG plans to develop Hydrogen Park Murray Valley (HyP Murray Valley) – partnering with ENGIE - in Wodonga, Victoria. HyP Murray Valley will comprise a 10MW electrolyser using renewable electricity to produce hydrogen from 2024. Subject to approvals, the site will blend up to 10% renewable hydrogen into the existing natural gas network to supply more than 40,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Wodonga, Victoria and nearby Albury, New South Wales.
We have committed to deliver a number of renewable gas projects across the country and across the value chain.
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.
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