The first meeting of the South Australia Government-initiated ‘Gaseous Fuels for Transport and Heavy Machinery – Working Group #7’ took place in Adelaide at the end of May, where government and industry representatives focused on fuel security and the potential contribution for natural gas (CNG, LNG) and LPG as alternative fuels to diesel for transportation.
Under the framework set up by the Department of State Development (DSD), the S.A. Government has expressed renewed interest in gaseous fuels, particularly given Australia’s abundance of gas resources. It recognizes there are significant opportunities for the development of more strategically reliable indigenous fuel sources for transport (road, rail, marine and heavy machinery. Despite being present in the South Australian marketplace for many years CNG and LNG and other gaseous fuels have limited market penetration due to a lack of cohesive policy and investment frameworks.
“The gas industry is willing to invest in the technology and infrastructure needed to allow increased use of gas as a cleaner, cheaper transport fuel alternative, but supportive government policy is also needed as a driver for change. As it stands, current tax policy settings favour the use of foreign fuel, thereby discouraging the uptake of gas,” said Gas Energy Australia’s CEO Mike Carmody when he addressed the meeting.
“This is despite the fact that increased use of gas also provides a cost effective way to improve energy security – every 10 per cent substitution of imported diesel by Australian gas saves $870 million in import cost,” Carmody continued. Gas Energy Australia is the peak national body for downstream Australian gas.
According to the State Government DSD website preamble, “To build a sustainable and effective marketplace, the importance of developing an appropriate framework that considers infrastructure, market drivers, engine technology, and best practice regulatory environments to stimulate the uptake and development of gaseous fuels will be critical. This has the capacity to reduce reliance on imported fuels and leverage our resources to deliver increased economic, environmental, and strategic benefits to communities, industry and government.”
The first meeting of Working Group 7 was held on Wednesday 27 May 2015, it has set itself the following Aims for 2015:
- Develop a Terms of Reference for Working Group 7
- Identify barriers to investment and market uptake in gaseous fuels
- Determine opportunities to remove barriers across industry and government
According to ABS Motor Vehicle Census (ref. 9309.0) statistics provided by Gas Energy Australia at the meeting, there were 4,151 CNG powered buses, 3,772 CNG-powered trucks and 156 LNG powered articulated trucks in Australia as at 31 January 2014. Adelaide, the State’s capital city, has a large fleet of CNG buses operating within it’s public transport system.
(Source: Government of South Australia and Gas Energy Australia)