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What’s the gas?

This article clarifies some of your frequently asked questions amidst all the confusion about the future of gas from Rinnai

In 2021, the Climate Change Commission recommended Government consider a date to end new gas connections. The Government did not act on this advice by way of a ban. As of September 2023 the Climate Change Commission is consulting on draft advice on the second emissions reduction plan (2026-2030).

There is no ban on gas connections or delivering gas and LPG to New Zealand homes and businesses and we fully expect natural gas and LPG will continue to be delivered to connected consumers until we’ve fully moved to new low and zero carbon gases, likely to be by 2050.

Around 600,000 Kiwi households use LPG and natural gas energy every day for cooking, hot water and heating. Natural gas alone currently powers over 19,000 businesses and industrial users such as restaurants, hotels, hospitals and steel makers. Natural gas is also used to generate around 14% of electricity annually.

As the consideration of our environmental impact is one of Rinnai’s core guiding principles, we support any action that will help our nation reach its goal of reducing carbon emissions. While the Climate Change Commission’s recommendations aim to reduce the consumption of today’s gas sources, we do believe that the development of more sustainable alternatives will allow gas to remain part of our country’s future energy mix – even as we move towards carbon neutrality.

That’s why they are proud to back the Future Sure campaign, along with our industry partners. This movement will give Kiwis the confidence, amongst all the uncertainty, that they can continue to enjoy gas energy in their daily lives. 

Here are some frequently asked questions for consumers that the campaign looks to address:

What will happen to my gas appliances after 2025?

Nothing. Natural gas and LPG will continue to be delivered to connected consumers until we have fully moved to new low and zero-carbon gases, likely to be by 2050.

Should I still buy a gas appliance now?

Absolutely. You can buy a gas appliance now and be confident that you can use it over its expected lifetime (typically up to 15 years). Most modern gas appliances are already able to run on a blend of natural gas and renewable hydrogen gas (up to 20%) or biogas, so you can continue to use them as our country adapts its energy mix to reduce emissions. Newer compatible appliances will become widely available as we move towards a more renewable gas energy future.

What sustainable gas options are out there?

Renewable Hydrogen
Renewable hydrogen gas is produced using renewable electricity, by separating hydrogen from water. Renewable hydrogen gas is also referred to as green hydrogen. In the future, it is possible that hydrogen gas will be used in pretty much the same ways that current gas is used in homes today. Such as for gas cooking, hot water and comfortable heating.

Biogas has actually been around for a while and is already used in many industries. It’s naturally produced from the decomposition of organic waste during anaerobic digestion. When biogas is processed to regulatory pipeline standards, it is considered renewable natural gas. Biogas is capturing the green gas that comes from decomposing food or plant waste.

Renewable Natural Gas
Renewable natural gas is methane produced from renewable sources like digested organic waste and gasified biomass. It has the same chemical make up as natural gas. It is a cleaner version of biogas – produced by further processing or “scrubbing” of biogas.

Renewable LPG
rLPG is created from renewable and waste materials. The feedstocks undergo a series of sophisticated treatments to purify their energy content. It is chemically identical to conventional LPG and is transported and stored in the same tanks and used for the same applications and equipment – making the transition from LPG to rLPG seamless.

Renewable DME
Renewable DME (also called rDME) is dimethyl ether, a clean, colourless gas that is produced from renewable or recycled carbon feedstocks, such as manure. rDME is easy to liquefy and transport and can be used as a replacement for, or blended with, LPG.

Is gas running out?

New Zealand has a large amount of gas reserves. This will ensure that gas is available until the transition to renewable gases can take place..

Will gas prices increase in the future?

Moving to renewable energy is likely to increase the cost of all types of energy. Renewable gases are likely to be more expensive than today’s gas, but gas energy is expected to remain good value and competitive with renewable electricity.

Renewable energy gas blending trials are underway, the goal is to have this available by 2025. 

For more information, visit the official Gas Energy website here: Future Sure – Gas Energy

Words courtesy of Rinnai, read all the latest news and views on their blog here and if you have any further questions speak to your local Fowler Homes team. 

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