On 20 August 2021, Energy Ministers agreed to reform the national gas regulatory framework to bring hydrogen blends, biomethane and other renewable gases within its scope.
Energy Ministers also agreed that the amendments should initially focus on gases that are suitable for consumption in existing natural gas appliances and consider any required changes to the National Gas Law (NGL), National Energy Retail Law (NERL) and subordinate instruments.
The reforms aim to provide regulatory certainty to support investment in innovative projects that will reduce emissions in our gas networks. The reforms will also ensure existing regulatory provisions and consumer protections will work as intended when hydrogen and renewable gases are incorporated into the gas network.
Energy Ministers agreed to accelerate this reform process to meet the needs of a transitioning energy market.
What are hydrogen blends and renewable gases?
Biomethane and other synthetic methane products can be processed to have the same specifications as natural gas, with the potential to have net-zero emissions. After this processing, they can be used safely in existing gas infrastructure and current appliances.
While hydrogen has different properties to natural gas, work completed under the National Hydrogen Strategy found that blends of around 10 per cent hydrogen could be used in most existing appliances.
It will take time before existing infrastructure and appliances can safely handle 100% hydrogen gas supply. Where possible, the reforms will be ‘future proofed’ so when other gases such as higher percentage blends of hydrogen can be safely injected into the network, the regulatory framework will allow for these to be supplied.
Under the accelerated approach, Ministers have tasked:
- Jurisdictional officials to lead work to identify and develop amendments to the NGL, the NERL and Regulations.
- The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to lead work to identify and develop amendments to the National Gas Rules (NGR) and the National Energy Retail Rules (NERR). Further details on the AEMC’s process can be found on their website.
- The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to lead work to amend the Procedures and other AEMO-made instruments required for settlement and metering in the facilitated and regulated retail gas markets. Further details on the AEMO’s process can be found on their website.
March – May 2022 consultations
Consultation on all three work streams closed on 19 May 2022.
Officials’ consultation paper and draft Bill
Jurisdictional officials sought feedback on the draft regulatory package, which included:
- An Officials’ consultation paper on amendments to the NGL, the NERL and Regulations, including:
- The consultation draft National Energy Laws Amendment (Other Gases) Bill 2022 to amend the NGL, National Gas Regulations, NERL and National Energy Retail Regulations.
- To assist stakeholders in providing feedback, Officials released a Q&A document responding to questions asked by stakeholders during consultation.
The following submissions were received:
Beyond Gas Network
Individual – Alan Pears
Individual – Jim Crosthwaite
Individual – John Godfrey
Individual – Lesley Walker
Individual – Michael Nolan
The AEMO will publish submissions received in response to their draft report on amendments to the Procedures and other AEMO-made instruments required for settlement and metering in the facilitated and regulated retail gas markets.
October – December 2021 consultation
The initial Officials' paper on amendments to the NGL, the NERL and Regulations received the following submissions:
Australian Energy Council
Australian Gas Infrastructure Group
Australian Hydrogen Council
Energy Networks Australia
ENGIE Australia & New Zealand (Document 1)
ENGIE Australia & New Zealand (Document 2)
Fortescue Future Industries (AEMC’s website under ‘Documentation – Initiation’)
Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association of Australia
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
AEMC and AEMO consultations
Between October and November 2021, the AEMC conducted consultation on related amendments to the NGR and NERR, and AEMO consulted on Procedures and other AEMO-made instruments required for settlement and metering in the facilitated and regulated retail gas markets.
19 May 2022: Consultation on all three work streams papers closed
Mid 2022: After consideration of the feedback received to the consultation package, present draft legislative amendments to Energy Ministers for consideration
Late 2022: Consultation on proposed initial Rules, Procedures and other subordinate instruments
By 2023: New measures intend to take effect subject to agreement by Energy Ministers and subsequent passage through the South Australian Parliament
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|Australian Energy Council||263.69 KB|
|Australian Gas Infrastructure Group||802.46 KB|
|Australian Hydrogen Council||236.02 KB|
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|Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association of Australia||527.36 KB|
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