Biogas network could fuel CBD’s needs, says Moore

All of central Sydney’s electricity, heating and cooling could come from relatively cheap, renewable sources by 2030, according to an energy blueprint released by the City of Sydney on Tuesday.

The council’s plan involves using the extensive existing gas pipeline network to harvest ”renewable gas” – mostly methane gathered from farms, industry and landfill dumps – to carry gas to small power plants in the city.

The so-called biogas is considered a low-carbon fuel because it can be captured and burned instead of vented to the atmosphere, where it adds to human-induced climate change.

”This master plan proves renewable gas is a viable option, and we know it works because it’s already used around the world,” said lord mayor Clover Moore.

”It’s beyond the scope of our plan, but our work has showed that there is potential to export renewable energy. Australia’s biggest contribution to climate change is its exports of coal and gas – but we could be exporting renewable gas and contributing towards global emissions reductions,” she said.

The ambitious plan would mean capturing waste biogas from all kinds of farms and dumps within a 250-kilometre radius of central Sydney, so to be carried out it would require state government regulatory support. It would also be expensive, carrying a rough price tag of $1.25 billion, spread out over a decade.

A carbon price would make harvesting gas more attractive to farmers and businesses.

However, City of Sydney energy specialist Allan Jones pointed out that large parts of Europe were using the same process before that continent had a carbon price in place. Germany and Denmark, in particular, deploy biogas on a mass scale.

The council’s ambition is to reduce its greenhouse gas output by 70 per cent by 2030. It is at present on track to cut its emissions to 29 per cent below its 2006 emissions level by 2016.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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