TODAY more than 2,026,000 Australian households use LPG for indoor cooking, hot water and/or heating. Homeowners can avoid tens of thousands of dollars in switching to electricity by transitioning to net zero bioLPG without changing their appliances.
In its submission on the Future Gas Strategy, Gas Energy Australia (GEA) notes that homes and businesses currently on natural gas can switch to LPG as reconfiguring existing appliances and equipment is generally easy and comes at much less cost or fuss than electrification.
“We’re encouraged by our discussions with federal and state governments noting that not all gases are the same,” Brett Heffernan, GEA CEO, said today. “LPG is different. It has viable and relatively easy pathways to decarbonise to be a positive and important renewable alternative for residential, commercial, industrial (including agriculture) and recreational uses.
“With renewables like solar and wind falling short of their targets and coal-fired power coming out of the grid, a correction to the all-electric mantra is needed. We need as many renewable sources of energy in the mix as possible.
“Net zero bioLPG will be available in Australia from as early as 2025-26. It is a by-product of biodiesel and sustainable aviation fuel production using the hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) process. The CSIRO’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Roadmap notes Australia has enough feedstock to produce 5 billion litres of SAF each year and projects there will be 30 plants across the country making it in the years to come. While not all SAF will be via HVO, it will be an important part of production.
“The advent of renewable synthetic LPG (rLPG), made from green hydrogen and CO2 taken from the atmosphere, is an actual zero gas. That is, the only CO2 expelled when it is burned is what was captured when it was made – meaning it has a zero impact on the environment and requires no offsets. It is forecast that rLPG will be available in Australia from the mid-2030s.”
The modelling detailed in GEA’s submission shows that as bioLPG and rLPG are phased into supply, they will replace all conventional LPG by 2045. And, by 2050, actual zero rLPG entirely replaces all LPG uses.
“The ability for homes and businesses to remain on gas they know, trust and can rely on, while transitioning to net zero over the same timeframe as electrification means Australians can choose a renewable energy that best suits them without the hefty price tag,” Mr Heffernan added.
“Replacing all current LPG use with rLPG would remove 1.94 million tonnes of CO2-e from the atmosphere each year, all while continuing to use gas that is cost-effective, reliable, relatively easy to transition and an important complement to electrification.
“The great benefit of bioLPG and rLPG is they are simple one-for-one replacements for conventional LPG, requiring no additional capital costs as the same cylinders, pipes and appliances and equipment can be used seamlessly.
“Families on natural gas can also easily and cost-effectively switch to LPG rather than electricity. The transition from natural gas to LPG, typically, requires minor changes by a licensed gasfitter. If, in rare cases, natural gas equipment cannot be made LPG-compliant, new LPG appliances retail for about half the price of electrical appliances and without the need to rewire homes.
“Sticking with LPG or, indeed, switching to it, can save households and businesses tens of thousands of dollars on more expensive electrical appliances, retrofitting premises to suit or having to upgrade homes and buildings to phase three wiring to cope with new power loads.
“The most efficient CO2 electrical appliances will set families back around $12,000 in upfront costs (appliance and installation), save a few hundred dollars over a year on bills. Faced with these costs, families might opt for cheaper, though less CO2 efficient, electrical appliances thinking they’re doing the right thing. But emissions from these appliances are higher than gas. Switching from gas to low efficiency electrical appliances can increase home emissions by 960kg per year.
“The gulf between rhetoric and reality is dawning on many. Modelling by Frontier Economics has put the cost of switching to all-electric homes at as much as $42,000.
“Victorian families have told us they’ve been quoted not to expect change out of $50,000. In the ACT, we’ve been advised it runs to $55,000. One family in Canberra whose ducted gas heating system died, sought to replace it with an electric alternative. The quote was $20,000 due to a host of hidden costs. Not surprisingly, they went with a new ducted gas unit.
“LPG’s transition to net zero and actual zero is a relief for families doing it tough. But it’s also much-needed relief for businesses. Farmers can go on using LPG, transition to the renewable versions while keeping their existing equipment.
“LPG can replace natural gas in almost all settings. As our submission highlights, it is equally applicable to the hospitality sector, including bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes, as well as replacing diesel use in regional areas and be a cleaner and safer alternative fuel for shipping.
“Renewable LPG can also be derived from recycling plastics, putting a big dent in the 84% of Australian plastics destined for landfill.
“LPG will be an important complement to electrification, providing reliable, affordable and flexible energy. Going all-electric when LPG will be net zero over the same timeframe as electricity, and with actual zero synthetic renewable LPG available from the mid-2030s, could prove a costly mistake.
“The policy framework to enable LPG’s transition is critical. While the industry is not seeking any government funding to aid its transition, governments should move quickly to give the industry confidence to invest in these new technologies and ensure Australia is ready to reap the benefits of the transition as soon as possible.”
GEA’s submission on the Future Gas Strategy is available online at: https://www.gasenergyaus.au/read/2054/future-gas-strategy.html.
Brett Heffernan - M: 0456 700 933 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org