Welcome to the June issue of Molecules!
Much of our work this month has been particularly collaborative, as we have united with other associations and companies for publications, and formed or strengthened partnerships with peers to tackle topics central to the energy transition. We apply this to our lives outside of our work too, as the world continues to fight the Covid-19 virus. As with so many things, success in tackling this challenge will only be possible working together.
Tomorrow, 30 June 2020, after a year of dedication, Eurogas will release its study A Pathway to 2050: The Role of Gas. Conducted by consultants DNV GL, the study explores a scenario that achieves the European Union’s target of net zero emissions by 2050 using a range of decarbonisation technologies and solutions. For the key findings and opinion editorials by Think Tanks, NGOs, Members and peer Associations, come back for our special edition Molecules, out mid-July.
In the meantime, we are delighted to share with you in this issue an op-ed co-written by Eurogas and Liquid Gas Europe that first appeared in Parliament Magazine, discussing how gas is a key energy source for millions of Europeans living in rural areas.
On 9 June we participated in a European Sustainable Energy Week event, which provided an in-depth discussion on the essential role of decarbonised and renewable gas for European citizens and industry.
We also share with you a letter co-signed by 33 energy companies, associations and trade unions, which calls on the importance of hydrogen. These co-signatories fully support the growth in hydrogen from clean electricity, as well as urge that hydrogen from natural gas with carbon management technologies such as CCUS and pyrolysis will be needed to create the necessary scale and make hydrogen applications cost-competitive. They urge that Europe deploy all scalable, enabling decarbonisation technologies as soon as possible.
Finally, we share with you a letter to Executive Vice President of the Commission Frans Timmermans outlining how innovative heating technologies can be key enablers of the fast, safe and affordable decarbonisation of buildings. This was signed by a cohort of ten European associations.
As you can see, cooperation and collaboration have been the name of the game for Eurogas this month. We are proud of our regular and ongoing work with our peers, who are experts in their fields and striving hard to make the European energy system of tomorrow a success, using the science, data and energy systems we have today.
‘If we want to build high then, we must dig deep’, says one Mongolian proverb. But what does this mean for Europe as we embark on a ‘renovation wave’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson announced at the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee last month that the renovation wave will be depended upon to spur economic recovery and energy improvements.
So how can we build high, and achieve a successful long-term recovery? What does it mean to dig deep, and prepare the ground for a zero emissions future?
Well it means we need structural foundations that can support our buildings now. But we also need foundations that are still fit for purpose as we adapt our buildings to new types of fuel. In short, we don’t want to dig the house up to change the foundations.
We know that the Commission’s objective is to achieve carbon neutrality, and at the lowest possible cost. Part of this will mean looking for solutions that bring emissions down quickly and effectively in the short term, without high costs further down the line.
Almost three-quarters of European heating demand for family homes is consumed in rural areas. In addition, highly polluting energy sources, such as heating oil or coal, are still prevalent in rural areas. So, there is enormous potential to reduce emissions here; and a simple solution for doing it.
Several Member States have introduced heating oil bans, but far more can be done. Switching from an oil or coal boiler to a gas boiler can reduce emissions by 25 percent and 50 percent respectively. When switching from coal, there are also significant improvements to air quality.
As we begin a long recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to find ways of reducing emissions that do not further challenge middle or low-income homes: the area of society most at risk to suffer from the economic recession triggered by the pandemic.
The high upfront costs of installing an electric heat pump often make the technology prohibitive. But gas heating appliances offer a viable, immediate solution. Especially in rural areas where the choice of energy sources is limited, and electricity networks tend to be underdeveloped.
Using renovation funding effectively could give homeowners across Europe an opportunity to sustainably reduce energy bills. For example, in Poland, where coal is used predominantly and there are associated air quality issues, it is estimated that switching to a modern condensing gas boiler could reduce emissions by 85 percent over a lifetime, and annually save almost €400 on their energy bill.
According to a Europe-wide survey conducted by Savanta ComRes last year, 50 percent of Europeans are willing to use less energy to reduce their own emissions. Switching to gas would enable citizens who currently use oil and coal to achieve this. Interestingly in Poland, 40 percent of respondents said they would like to switch from coal to gas.
The same poll found that only 14 percent of the respondents that had gas already would consider changing to an electric heat pump. High upfront installation costs and renovation inconvenience were cited as reasons against the change.
As the BioLPG (the blend-in renewable equivalent to LPG) market grows, domestic heating appliances become better and better suited for swift adaptation to decarbonised and renewable gases. Whether LPG boilers or natural gas boilers, the gas industry is making clear and conscious preparations for the future.
Great achievements often follow great challenges. We believe that the Coronavirus pandemic could advance the climate and the zero-pollution agenda. As we begin on a renovation wave to boost the economy, offer employment and improve the energy performance of buildings; we call on the European Commission to consider all improvements that will result in less emissions.
Especially if these improvements can also result in savings for Europeans across the continent, and through the economic uncertainty that will follow this crisis. By switching to efficient gas solutions, Europe can make immediate improvements now, and plan for the future.
If we want to build high, then we must dig deep. And while we do so we must lay strong foundations for a clean energy future.
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This article was published by Samuel Maubanc is General Manager of Liquid Gas Europe, and James Watson is Secretary General of Eurogas. It first appeared in Parliament Magazine on 11 June 2020.
On 9 June 2020 a panel of seven energy sector experts, representing the European Commission, as well as industry and consumers across Europe came together for a Eurogas panel discussing the necessity of decarbonised and renewable gas for society.
We were joined by Augustijn Van Haasteren, Team Leader, Sector Coupling, DG Energy at the European Commission; Andreas Graf, Project Manager EU Energy Policy at Agora Energiewende; Monique Goyens, Director General at BEUC; Benedikt Herges, Head of EU Government Affairs at Siemens Energy; Renaud Batier, Director General at Cerame-Unie; Esther Busscher, President of Liquid Gas Europe; and, Anastasios Perimenis, Carbon Capture and Utilisation Officer and Interim Secretary General at CO2 Value Europe.
A video summary of the discussion is available here.
More information about the event, speaker biographies, and the full webinar recording is available here.
The upcoming communications on Energy System Integration, Hydrogen and the Renovation Wave are important steps on the road to climate neutrality. Eurogas fully supports these strategies, which are even more important in the context of the EU economic recovery plan.
To this end, Eurogas and peers co-signed a letter to Vice President of the Commission Timmermans this month, outlining how renewable and decarbonised gases, sector coupling, and innovative heating technologies can be key enablers for a safe, fast, and cost effective strategy to decarbonise EU buildings.
The full letter is available here.
Reaching climate neutrality by 2050 in the EU will require the right regulatory framework for scaling up clean technologies to reach deeper emission cuts. Clean hydrogen will play a key role in this process and can make a real difference as a clean energy vector and clean feedstock, particularly for energy-intensive industries, heating, transport and in power generation.
As such, 33 of Europe’s largest energy associations, energy providers, industrial players and trade unions came together this month to call for all forms of hydrogen to be considered in the EU net-zero emissions strategy.
To read the letter in full and see the full list of co-signatories, click here.
In recent years the SSLNG industry has demonstrated great potential, experts agree that it is still gaining momentum and major gas industry companies are developing and investing in new projects. Vast global natural gas reserves, favorable gas prices and stricter emission regulations are among the factors that make SSLNG so attractive. There is still time to take full advantage of SSLNG, so don’t miss a chance to get latest updates at the 2nd CEE SSLNG Forum in Warsaw on September 22-23. Felicia Mester, Eurogas Policy Advisor for the Wholesale Committee, will be speaking at this event.
‘A Single Pathway to 2050?’ The Eurogas Annual Conference has been rescheduled from its original date in March. More information will be available in due course.
Flame Webinar | 12 – 13 October 2020
How well is the US LNG industry responding to 2020’s challenging market conditions? Join the Flame webinar for an in-depth webinar covering shut-ins and cancelled cargoes, the impacts of oil price volatility, the implications of falling spot prices for markets in the long-term, and possible consequences for US projects still in the pipeline.
The webinar will be moderated by Paul Sullivan of Worley, who will be joined by Texas LNG’s Vivek Chandra and ALNGE Pte Ltd’s Principal Consultant, Luc Speeleveld.
Register here. If you can’t make the indicated time, sign up anyway and Flame will send you a link to the recording after the webinar concludes.