July 2023 NewsFlash - AGA

July 2023 NewsFlash

  • 12-08-2023

  • News

AGA NewsFlash

Victoria's Energy Transition: Weighing the Implications

Hydrogen Production in Albury Wodonga Region

Safety Critical Testing

Standards Update

Victoria's Energy Transition: Weighing the Implications

The recent announcement by the Victorian government to transition new homes requiring planning permits from 1 January 2024 has stirred discussions within the energy sector. While this decision is driven by the challenges of global gas costs and supply uncertainties, it’s essential to view it in the context of the broader energy landscape.

Key Points to Consider:

* The change is only for homes requiring a planning permit in Victoria from 1 January 2024 onwards, including new public and social housing delivered by Homes Victoria

*  The change only applies to new Natural Gas connections.

* Commercial and Industrial sectors are not impacted by this change unless a planning permit is required such as for a mixed domestic/commercial dwellings.

* Propane remains unaffected.

* The Victorian government has not closed the door on green hydrogen’s potential in the future.

* Over 5 million homes in Australia are connected to the Natural Gas network.

* Over 2 million homes in Victoria, which is more than 80% of all residences, are connected to the Natural Gas network.

The gas industry has already established a plan to transition to green hydrogen, which is a sustainable energy source that produces zero carbon emissions (See our May 2022 NewsFlash). Significant advancements have been made in this direction nationally and internationally, showcasing the viability and potential of green hydrogen as an important energy source.

AGA is engaging with Energy Networks Australia (ENA), the leading national body representing Australia’s electricity and gas distribution network operators. ENA’s research into green hydrogen suggests a promising trajectory for this sustainable energy source. ENA’s insights highlight the development of hydrogen-ready appliances, indicating a shift towards more sustainable energy consumption in residential settings. CLICK HERE to access the ENA publication.

While the Victorian government’s decision is a step towards a cleaner energy future – potential new dwellings may face challenges if connection to green hydrogen is unavailable. The vast potential of green hydrogen as a cleaner, more sustainable energy source underscores the importance of ensuring that new homes are not inadvertently excluded from accessing this emerging energy solution.

In light of the above, the transition in Victoria’s energy policy presents both challenges and opportunities. A balanced approach that acknowledges the potential of green hydrogen will ensure a sustainable and inclusive energy future benefitting all Victorian consumers.

Hydrogen Production in Albury Wodonga Region

Since the Federal Government released the $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart program to accelerate the development and infrastructure of renewable hydrogen, plans to build an electrolyser and blend hydrogen within pipe networks have started in the Albury/Wodonga region.

Hydrogen Park Murray Valley is a renewable hydrogen production facility currently under construction and will be positioned next to the North East Water’s West Wodonga Wastewater Treatment Plant. The production facility is innovative in design and will include a 10MW electrolyser – currently 8 times larger than the biggest electrolyser operating in Australia. Hydrogen Park Murray Valley will be powered by renewable wind energy and potentially use the recycled water from the waste water treatment plant to undergo electrolysis and produce renewable hydrogen.

The hydrogen produced is expected to be at a capacity of 4 tonnes a day with use in the gas network for both domestic and commercial applications. Hydrogen will be blended with the current natural gas network with volumes up to 10% in the Albury and Wodonga region and will connect up to more than 40,000 homes and businesses. Because no carbon emissions are produced from the combustion of hydrogen, this will reduce approximately 4,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. The construction of the electrolyser is expected to be completed in 2025.

Please click on the following links for more information:

Minister Media Release

AGIG Media Release

Safety Critical Testing

As a reminder to our Members and Certificate Holders and as mentioned in previous NewsFlashes, the Gas Technical Regulators Committee (GTRC) introduced additional post-certification testing requirements for high-risk gas equipment in June 2022, which are defined in Version 4 of The Rules and the GTRC High Risk Equipment Safety Critical Testing document. These documents are available at:

Gas Scheme Rules


High Risk Equipment Safety Critical Testing 

The mandatory 2-year cycle period for testing has now started, and it’s essential to meet this new regulatory requirement. We appreciate the Members and Certificate Holders who have responded to our request for testing, which is required to be carried out during this 2-year period. It is important to start this process early to ensure that laboratory resources are managed efficiently.

AGA will contact Certificate Holders of affected Certificates to ensure a smooth transition and ensure that the Certificates remain current. If you have any queries, please contact your AGA Client Manager, or you can email us at office@aga.asn.au.

Once again, thank you to all those who have already responded to our request for testing. We appreciate your cooperation in helping to ensure safety and compliance in the gas industry.

Latest Standards Updates

AS/NZS 5263.0:2023 – Gas appliances – Part 0: General requirements was published on 23 June 2023. Please contact your AGA Client Manager for more information regarding updating your Certifications. 

The following Standards are out for public comment until 29 August 2023:

AS 4617:2018 Amd 2 – Manually operated gas valves

AS 4621:2019 Amd 2 – Regulator for use with liquefied petroleum – Vapour phase

AS 4627:2017 Amd 3  – Quick-connect devices for gas

If you would like to submit any comments, you may forward them directly through to Standards Australia – See following guide: Click Here