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APGAJul 1, 2021 3:42:00 PM1 min read

Pipelines vs Powerlines: a Technoeconomic Analysis in the Australian Context

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The cost and reliability of energy transport and storage infrastructure is a crucial issue in the energy industry, with implications for energy access, affordability, the environment and public safety. APGA commissioned GPA Engineering to produce a report to analyse the cost of energy transport and storage across a range of different gas and electricity infrastructure options. This summary document uses data from the full report (available via the link at the end of this item or via the resources below) to provide the information in a way that can inform all readers.

As part of the GPA analysis saysto date, pipelines have been a lower cost form of energy transport compared to powerlines. The track record of pipeline infrastructure shows that it is more reliable and more environmentally friendly than electricity infrastructure.

As the Australian transition to net zero-energy ramps up, a sound understanding of the whole energy system, including energy transport and storage infrastructure, will ensure the least cost decarbonisation outcomes for the nation. Recognising this, APGA sought technoeconomic analysis looking at the historical and anticipated costs of pipelines and powerlines over a range of energy capacities, distances and quantities of energy storage. Cases span distances of 25km to 500km, energy throughput of 10 terajoules a day (TJ/day) to 500TJ/day, (equal to 116 megawatts (MW) a day to 5800MW/day or 70 tonnes of hydrogen a day to 3520t H2/day). Also studied were energy storage quantities of 4 hours, 12hr and 24hr of transport throughput capacity.

Through this analysis, GPA Engineering has identified that energy transport via hydrogen pipeline costs up to four times less than via powerlines when comparing like for like distance and capacity scenarios. Further, energy storage in hydrogen pipelines costs up to 37 times less than battery energy storage systems (BESS) and up to 10 times less than pumped hydro energy storage (PHES). These figures are even greater for methane pipelines, making energy transport and storage or renewable sources of methane more cost effective than renewable sources of hydrogen.

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Download Appendix 3A and 3B Results Summary



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