What a waste – the future of biogas in Aotearoa
Powerco is Aotearoa New Zealand’s second-largest gas distributor, connecting more than 113,000 homes and businesses to safe, reliable gas.
Our network represents 38% of the gas connections in Aotearoa - serving customers across Taranaki, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Wellington, Horowhenua, Manawatū and Hawke’s Bay.
The future of gas
We’re committed to provide sustainable energy options for New Zealand homes and businesses and working to integrate renewable gas into our networks. Our goal is to blend sufficient renewable gas to match the demand of all households connected to our networks by 2050.
During this transition to a low carbon energy future, our focus is on continuing to provide affordable and reliable gas supply to our customers, while collaborating with industry on alternatives to natural gas that can be used in existing infrastructure.
Biomethane, produced via biogas is one of those options.
Biogas to biomethane
Biogas is produced from the decomposition of organic materials such as green waste, food waste, dairy manure, and dairy and meat effluents.
Biogas can be upgraded to biomethane – essentially the same gas that is distributed through pipelines to 290,000 homes and businesses in Aotearoa.
That’s why using biomethane in residential and commercial cooking, heating and hot water provides a dual opportunity for waste and energy outcomes - reducing carbon emissions by diverting waste away from landfill, reducing dependency on fossil fuels and supplying reliable renewable energy using existing gas infrastructure.
Tapping into the potential of biogas
Residential gas customers consume around 7.2 Petajoules (PJ) of natural gas each year.
Currently around 4.9 PJ of biogas is produced in New Zealand, a significant proportion of which is flared with no beneficial use.
Estimates suggest there’s a further 9.5 PJ per year of untapped potential in the North Island alone.
That means we already produce enough biogas to supply all households using natural gas today.
We’re seeking opportunities to partner with councils and the waste and agricultural industries to capture and use the biogas currently being emitted as waste in landfills.
We’re excited about what these partnerships could deliver as part of the sustainable energy transition.
New Zealand’s sustainable energy transition
We’re committed to working collaboratively with our customers, stakeholders, industry and government to help enable Aotearoa to meet its net-zero by 2050 target.
Along with moving to more renewable electricity, we see a role for natural gas in New Zealand’s energy mix for some time to come as we develop renewable gas alternatives like biogas.
You can read our recent submission on the Gas Transition Plan here