RP2.2-01 Regulatory mapping for future fuels

Executive Summary

Australia’s gas infrastructure is subject to a range of regulations that are all designed for facilities that use natural gas. Existing Acts, regulations, standards and statutory policies across the supply chain relevant to the introduction of future fuels (i.e. across extraction, manufacturing, storage, transmission, distribution and use) may restrict or prevent the introduction of future fuels into existing gas infrastructure.

This project has undertaken a comprehensive regulatory mapping exercise to identify where gas composition (or other gas properties) are mentioned or implied in relevant acts and regulations such as safety and technical regulations, economic regulations, and environment and land use planning regulations. A desktop review identified existing Acts, regulations, standards and statutory policies that may restrict or prevent the introduction of future fuels. This work resulted in an updateable database providing a regulatory map of relevant current legislation that may be impacted by the addition of hydrogen or biogas to existing gas infrastructure, along with an accompanying project report summarising the main issues and risks which were identified and the direction of possible solutions.

This research identified core legislative issues and related potential barriers. For example, definitions of natural gas (or sometimes hydrocarbon) covered by existing legislation often (unintentionally) preclude future fuels. Similarly, regulatory barriers were identified related to the National Gas Law and National Gas Rules, along with other issues related to Australia’s economic regulatory regime.

After briefing technical regulators, industry and government across Australia, Future Fuels CRC has now made publicly available the full report and database to further enable the wider development of future fuels across Australia:

Full Report – Regulatory Mapping of Future Fuels

Legislation Database

Quick Research Summary – Regulatory Mapping for Future Fuels

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Commencement / End Date August 2019 to May 2020
Outcomes / Impact

This regulatory mapping process has enabled the early identification of regulatory changes required for future fuels so that appropriate regulatory changes can be discussed and initiated.

The study has informed regulatory changes and legislative changes that have been implemented, or are being considered. For example, the South Australian Government has begun to address regulatory gaps by declaring hydrogen to be a regulated substance under the South Australian Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000. This regulatory amendment made the transmission of hydrogen in pipeline infrastructure permissible by law. The Government of South Australia has also conducted a wider review of the State’s Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act – which it proposes to rename the Energy Resources Act – to, in part, consider changes to support new fuels, including hydrogen. In August 2021 Energy Ministers also agreed to an expedited process to amend the National Gas Law (NGL) and other energy market legislation to incorporate hydrogen blends and renewable gases, such as biogas.

Partners RMIT Univesity, SA Gov, GPA, ENA, ESV, APGA, ATCO, APA, Jemena
Research Contact

Dr Stephen McGrail

Research and Education Program Coordinator