February may be the shortest month of the year but that didn’t stop Eurogas making it as productive as every other one. Since the last edition, we have marked our office move and the association’s 30th year. We have also been pushing forward on promoting the role of the gaseous molecules, particularly in the EU energy storage conversation.
This month, Andreas Guth sums up our line of thinking on energy storage, echoing points made by Eurogas President Philippe Sauquet. Mr Sauquet, who highlighted these needs at a recent European Parliament event, also serves as the President of the EU’s largest electric battery manufacturer, SAFT. Make no mistake, at Eurogas we see the need for all storage options to achieve on the energy transition.
On that point, I would note that in marking 30 years of Eurogas we have been very much focused on looking forward. Next week will see the European Commission present its proposal enshrining 2050 climate neutrality into law. Ahead of that milestone, speeches at our office inauguration focused on the work to be done integrating renewable and decarbonised gases. It will be no surprise to our regular readers that we used the opportunity to make the case for targets!
As we prepare for 2050, there is a huge amount of complexity to consider and navigate. For that reason, we hope as many of you as possible will join us for our annual conference on 19 March. With speakers and panelists including Commissioner Simson, Tomislav Ćorić, MEP Spyraki and MEP Niinistö we look forward to in-depth discussions of the landscape for policy makers, industry and energy consumers.
This month we called on the European Parliament to ensure strong recognition of the value of gas as an energy storage provider and encouraged the Commission to bring forward its plans for a hydrogen alliance alongside the planned industrial strategy. The points we’ve been making are as follows.
Eurogas support the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050 and recognise the need for better integration of energy sectors and user sectors such as heat, industry and transport for a successful energy transition.
Storing energy is never a one size fits all concept. Different technologies meet different needs. Whereas electric battery storage is effective for short term energy needs, gas will always be more effective for long term or seasonal storage. You lose less energy over time with gas, and molecules are easily dispatchable for use in many applications. Gas also has the advantage that you can easily transport it over thousands of kilometres with very little loss of energy.
Along with underground gas storage and LNG terminals, the distribution grid serves as an energy storage facility. This combined infrastructure provides Europe with 1500 terawatt hours of competitive and cross-seasonal energy flexibility. Electricity storage reaches just 30 terawatt hours. This will increase as batteries are deployed but it will never reach the levels of gas storage in a competitive and efficient manner. A combination of batteries and gas storage will be vital to achieve the decarbonisation objectives set in the Green Deal, such as the climate law.
Gas provides energy quickly and flexibly to partner with renewable energies and their intermittent production cycles. Further, switching from coal to gas is already a recognised means to reduce CO2 emissions. This role has been recognised by a broad range of experts, as has the fact that in the future, hydrogen and biomethane can replace natural gas in this.
Eurogas members are exploring technologies that offer Europe climate mitigation and technology leadership opportunities. We fully support the creation of a clean hydrogen alliance to support the development of these technologies in the EU. Following the footsteps of the battery alliance, it is time that the EU invests in its electrolyser manufacturers and the developers of CCS components to maintain EU leadership and create manufacturing jobs.
Eurogas member ITM Power recently announced the formation of a joint venture company with Linde Engineering. ITM is a leading manufacturer of electrolysers and Linde is a leading industrial gases and engineering company. The joint venture was incorporated in January 2020 and Andreas Rupieper (Head of Group R&D and Portfolio Management at Linde) was appointed as Managing Director of ITM Linde.
ITM Linde will focus on providing global green gas solutions at industrial scale – 10MW and greater – using ITM Power’s modular PEM electrolyser technology and Linde’s world class EPC expertise to deliver turnkey solutions to customers. One key application area of interest to Eurogas members is power-to-gas systems for injecting hydrogen into natural gas networks. “The joint venture allows ITM to concentrate on supplying electrolysers while Linde carries out the engineering, procurement and construction elements of projects” said ITM‘s Chief Executive Graham Cooley.
Over the last 30 years Eurogas has worked hard, with the support of some excellent policy making, to deliver one of the most successful energy markets in the world – the European Union’s internal gas market. The implementation of the gas market has been commended by ACER for its effectiveness. The gas market has delivered affordable, secure and sustainable energy for consumers. Gas prices are competitive, gas suppliers are plentiful and just recently a report from civil society showed that gas partnering with renewables reduced the carbon output from electricity by 12% in one year.
We are now on the eve of a review of the functioning of the internal gas market and we in Eurogas are looking forward to working with our colleagues in the European institutions to shape the future market for the coming decades. The next 30 years will of course also be a new era, not only for Eurogas, but for EU climate ambition. The target of carbon neutrality in 2050 is a major undertaking, and one we support. We believe that it is achievable, and that gas will play a crucial role in getting us there for three main reasons.
Firstly, natural gas will substitute coal, lignite and oil in power, heating, industry and transport to deliver the ambitions of 2030. Secondly, we will increasingly blend biogas and biomethane into the grid, lowering the carbon footprint of gas even further. Today we already have 5% of biogas in the system and this is set to increase, as countries from France to Austria to Denmark begin to plot targets for the penetration of such gases in their grids.
Thirdly, we will see the growing use of hydrogen in the coming decades. This represents a huge opportunity for the EU, not just for reduction of greenhouse gases, but also for the chance to lead on climate technologies and the provision of manufacturing jobs here in the EU. This is an exciting opportunity for Europe and one we must not miss.
For all these reasons the next thirty years promise to be just as exciting as the past thirty years, in all likelihood even more so. We have welcomed the renewed focus on gaseous fuels in the rhetoric around the Green Deal. We hope to see a strong recognition of the role of natural gas in achieving the revision of the 2030 carbon reduction targets. We also want to see targets being set for renewable and decarbonised gas volumes at the EU level through to 2050. Giving the full recognition of the role of gas to 2050 and beyond, which in turn will ease investment decisions and kick start our journey.
We are keen to see a greater emphasis on sector integration and a better understanding that this is largely enabled and facilitated by gaseous molecules, which are affordable, and easier to store and transport.
You know we believe in sector integration, just look at our partners here in our offices – we have the Natural Gas Vehicle Association and our friends from Chargepoint both residing happily with us and planning the future of transport and energy together! Likewise, we are pleased to have Wintershall sharing office space with us.
We encourage this sort of joined up thinking between sectors. Efficiencies achieved between sectors will improve our chances of reaching our climate ambition in the most cost-effective way. Importantly that may give us the chance to bring the people of Europe with us on this major energy and societal journey.
The 6th International LNG Congress will take place on 2nd-3rd of March in Brussels, Belgium. On the Congress gas majors, EPCs, LNG shipping companies, LNG terminals, service providers and end users will discuss the perspectives of the global LNG market projects. Request more information about the Congress program on the website. Eurogas is a media partnership of this event.
Organised by the Sustainable Energy Council, The World Hydrogen Fuels Summit is taking place in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) on 10-11 March 2020, aiming to advance the conversations between industry and government, particularly in efforts to address real-world needs and key barriers to deployment. The two day event will provide a practical approach to infrastructure, developing international integrated hydrogen supply chains, covering everything from hydrogen production to storage, transportation, and use. The overarching theme for 2020 will emphasise the effort for international collaboration showcasing the world’s most promising projects and global solutions. Eurogas is supporting this event.
Eurogas’ Annual Conference, A single pathway to 2050? will address energy sector issues related to achieving EU carbon-neutrality by 2050 and 2030 climate and energy objectives.
Two panels will discuss the ways in which energy will be produced and consumed in 2050, how that will differ from today and how the transition to a sustainable EU economy can be financed. Register now to join us at the Renaissance Hotel, Brussels on 19 March 2020
Flame is Europe’s largest and most influential meeting place for the global gas industry. Taking place on 11 – 13 May, Flame 2020 will provide a vital forum for 600+ gas professionals to discuss the effects of decarbonisation policy, the security of supply implications of new and existing gas infrastructure, the progress of European gas market integration and the outlook for global LNG supplies. The conference is renowned for the quality of its speaker faculty, the seniority of its attendees and the scope of its discussions. James Watson, Eurogas Secretary General, will speak at this event on 12 May 2020 in the panel discussion “The prospects for hydrogen & bio methane to 2050 – reality check!” .
In cooperation with the Smarter E, a conference event dedicated to Power-To-X will take place on 18 June 2020. This event will take place at the ICM – Internationales Congress Center München (Room 3) in parallel to ees Europe, the continent’s largest and most international exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems. Eurogas will be presenting its activities alongside some of its member companies in hall C2 (Power-to-Gas, Hydrogen, Fuel Cells Pavillion) at ees Europe.