When we published our last issue of Molecules, we could scarcely have imagined the way our lives would change in the subsequent four weeks. For the majority of you reading this, it will be from home, where temporary offices and work spaces have been set up, laptops installed, and an array of cables may now be trailing across the room.
Some of us are adapting to working with the background noise of family life; others are learning to work alone, without the interaction of colleagues and associates. None of us is certain how long our new normal will last.
Here at Eurogas, conversations that previously focussed on the energy transition now inevitably discuss the huge social transition happening around the world, as countries attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Covid-19.
It can be hard to talk about anything else, but work has continued. In this issue of Molecules, Felicia outlines how crucial contingency planning is for the energy sector, and the ongoing importance of ensuring European security of supply in the future.
Eurogas has also recently published a papers on the European Green Deal and the Industrial Strategy – there’s a summary of these and links to the full documents below.
Despite having been a challenging month, we have good news to note. We were pleased to see the European Commission’s new Clean Hydrogen Alliance, for example. Also, we are happy announce we have welcomed Wärtsilä, a global leader in smart technologies, as a member.
Right now, our members are working hard to respond to the needs of local, regional and national governments, whether through ensuring security of supply, adapting industrial plants to produce components desperately needed in hospitals, or suspending the payment of energy bills for public services such as hospitals and care homes.
We cannot be certain how and when this global crisis will conclude. But we can be certain that the energy transition and the successful defeat of this virus have three things in common: the ability of humanity to adapt to a real threat, the necessity for people to work together to beat a common challenge, and the undertaking of actions driven with the interests of people at their heart.
Eurogas Secretary General
From our homes to yours – the Eurogas team wish you all well at this time.
As the world battles Covid-19, the message from the European energy sector is that pre-planning and contingency measures have so far proven sufficient.
Thankfully this has been the case even in the most gravely affected countries, Italy and Spain. There is no complacency however, and work continues to ensure a secure energy supply to consumers, hospitals and industries essential to the production of medical equipment.
In the current context, operators of critical infrastructure show a high level of preparedness. Operations have downsized for the safety of staff with essential crews working in shifts and in isolation from each other. Luckily, the sector is equipped with sufficient well-trained staff to manage even increased challenges.
New practices have come into place, separating commercial and technical teams, social distancing for essential staff, and preparations for managing maintenance remotely if required. Systems are ready to manage any changes in supply and demand, and collaboration with local authorities is already in place.
Sadly, the trajectory of the pandemic remains impossible to predict. For that reason, security of supply cannot be taken for granted and should be on the top of EU’s decarbonisation agenda. We stress a few important points:
Gas – natural, renewable and decarbonised – is integral to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and increased GHG reduction targets for 2030, which Eurogas supports. This month Eurogas published this briefing paper on the role of gas in European climate ambition including:
The Eurogas paper A Just Industrial Strategy for Climate Leadership looks at how a just industrial strategy can support the European Commission’s 2050 climate ambitions, while maintaining and strengthening European leadership in clean gas technologies. The paper includes overviews and recommendations on:
Due to the ongoing situation with covid-19, the Flame conference has been postponed until 6 – 7 July 2020. Europe’s largest and most influential meeting place for the global gas industry, Flame will provide a vital forum for the gas industry 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.
Due to the health concerns arising from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Eurogas has decided to postpone the Eurogas Annual Conference ‘A single pathway to 2050?’ planned to take place on 19 March 2020 (Brussels). The new date is 1st October 2020 (14:30-18:00, Brussels). More information will be available in due course.