CEO Message August 2021

 

I was tempted to avoid starting this month’s message with talk about COVID, but the reality of 2021 is that it seems every conversation starts with COVID. It’s hard to believe that only a month ago I was launching APGA’s new Strategic Plan in the July message. It definitely feels like the mood in Australia has changed a bit since then. We’ve gone from Sydney having around 20 cases a day at the beginning of its outbreak to Sydney being in an ongoing lockdown that is going to take some time to bring under control. Victoria and South Australia have gone into lockdown and come back out. Brisbane and south-east Queensland are in the early stages of their own lockdown. Border restrictions are the norm.

Impacts of COVID

None of this is news to any of you, it is front and centre of all our lives everyday in 2021. We’ve all learned to live with the uncertainty, restrictions and doing things differently. I know that a lot of members are wondering about APGA’s Annual Convention and Exhibition in Brisbane at the end of September, we’ve certainly seen an uptick in phone calls to the secretariat in the past couple of weeks. At a bit under two months out, it is time to make a decision on the best way forward. We have spoken with exhibitors, speakers, sponsors and delegates and are looking to make a decision that is in everyone’s best interest.  We expect to send an update to members early next week.

APGA Strategic Plan

With the COVID portion of the conversation done, I would like to bring your attention back to the new Strategic Plan and the range of activities we are undertaking to deliver the association’s vision of Securing Australia’s prosperity through a progressive industry investing in pipelines.

Under our advocacy pillar, we have a strategy to communicate the positive contribution of the pipeline industry, natural gas and future fuels by engaging the community in conversation. We care putting the finishing touches on a submission to the Victorian government’s Gas Substitution Roadmap that covers much of APGA’s view on just this and are looking forward to spending some time using the information in this submission to tell the exciting story of the future of gas.  

A compelling story

This government process has really forced us to pull together the available information from a range of sources, including some APGA-commissioned research, to make a compelling argument for the future of gas. It is often the way that a government process or regulation forces us to concentrate on an issue in a way we have not before and this occasion is no except. I actually see it as one of the key roles of government, catalysing industries, companies and people to action on an issue. There is a wealth of information in the public domain on the future of gas, the cost and emission intensity of gas now and in the future and the benefits of a dual energy system featuring gas and electricity. It has been an excellent exercise for us to work with members and other industry associations to pull it all together in our submissions and now we have a very compelling story.  APGA will be making its submission on Friday 6 August and it will be posted on the website on Monday 9 August.

Hydrogen Superpower

On the positive messages front, last week AEMO published its  2021 Inputs, Assumptions and Scenarios Report. The title is unassuming, but this report guides the development of the Integrated Systems Plan and other important AEMO studies. The report sets out four scenarios as credible futures for Australia’s energy system. Of most interest to members is AEMO’s scenario called ‘Hydrogen Superpower’. This scenario envisages an extensive hydrogen industry meeting Australia’s existing domestic and export gas demand. Importantly, of AEMO’s four scenarios, it is the hydrogen superpower scenario that has Australia reaching net-zero emissions earliest, in the 2040s, and with the most economic growth. The scenarios are reasonably detailed and I encourage everyone to have a look, I expect there will be a lot of new and repurposed infrastructure required to achieve that much hydrogen!

Social responsibility

The attention of the secretariat is also on some new activities of the Social Responsibility Pillar of the APGA Strategic Plan. We have had a number of meetings of the Emissions Working Group and have joined with Energy Networks Australia to expand its scope and focus on transmission and distribution infrastructure. Emissions reduction is critical for the industry and a strong focus on it now enables us to offer consumers immediate reductions with little if any change to the delivered price for gas. We are progressing the Women in Pipelines Forum too and have nearly finalised a Statement of Purpose to formalise this new committee.

Give us a call

We are certainly noticing the absence of seeing members as frequently as we typically do, another particularly 2021 issue. If anyone would like to talk to the secretariat directly about the new APGA Strategic Plan, other key issues or just to catch-up, please drop me an email and we can set something up.

All the best,