The newly launched Gas Energy campaign makes the case for the benefits of natural gas and the role of gas infrastructure and green gas in decarbonising the New Zealand economy.
“Gas energy has a bright future,” say the 28 gas industry organisations that have teamed up for the pro-gas advertising campaign, which is running in New Zealand newspapers and associated news websites.
“Kiwi gas users can be confident that the gas they turn on isn’t being turned off and will continue to flow well into the future.
“If you’re connected to gas now or thinking about connecting, you can be sure that natural gas and LPG will keep flowing as we make the shift to future low or zero-carbon gases.”
Sector makes its case
Led by Firstgas, the industry has pushed back since the Climate Change Commission’s draft report.
Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods told a Contact Energy function last month that she sees a role for gas infrastructure in facilitating the deployment of hydrogen and biogas.
“These are all matters the Government will need to consider before making recommendations about the future of natural gas use in commercial and residential applications over the next 30 years or so,” she says.
Phasing out gas to achieve net-zero by 2050 must be done in a way that maintains near-term stability and security, according to Woods.
“As we transition, our natural gas market will need to continue to provide secure and affordable energy for our electricity system, and keep some of our major manufacturing companies operating.”
About three weeks after these comments were made, the Government released the Climate Change Commission’s final advice.
Climate Change Commission
The gas sector welcomed a softening of the CCC’s stance. It removed the ban on new gas connections proposed in its draft advice, as well as its initial recommendation to replace gas appliances with electric alternatives.
But the Commission’s new stance is open-minded, rather than supportive.
The Gas Energy campaign puts a brave face on this.
“The Climate Change Commission has not proposed a ban on new gas connections from 2025 but instead recommend the government sets a date, once a national energy strategy is developed and there is more clarity around the contribution future gases can make in decarbonising New Zealand’s energy supply,” its website says.
The campaign says new renewable, low and zero-carbon gases are the future, and gas will help us get to 100 per cent renewable energy.
It says New Zealand green gas blending trials are expected to begin as early as late this year, with the goal of introducing blended gas energy by 2025.
“Existing natural gas and LPG will continue to be delivered to consumers as the blends increase towards 100 per cent future gases by 2050,” it says.
“With hydrogen gas and biogas already being developed and trialled here in New Zealand and globally, Kiwis will continue to enjoy the benefits of gas in their lives as we move to tomorrow’s gas energy.”
“Green hydrogen gas, made from renewable energy and water, can be used on its own or blended with natural gas to reduce carbon emissions. Renewable biogas is produced through the breakdown of organic waste. BioLPG, produced from biomass is chemically identical to LPG and a direct energy replacement for your BBQ or LPG appliances.”
Who needs gas?
The campaign says 430,000 New Zealand households use gas energy every day for cooking, hot water and heating. Cooking and heating water with gas are considerably cheaper than using electricity for these purposes.
It says natural gas also currently powers more than 19,000 businesses and industrial users, from restaurants and hotels, to hospitals and heavy industry.
“Natural gas is also used to generate around 14 per cent of electricity annually, when renewables cannot meet peak demand.”
The 28 organisations backing the campaign range from industry associations, gas distributors and generators to plumbing, central heating and barbecue companies.