Brussels, 15 June 2016. In the context of the European Sustainable Energy Week 2016, the key stakeholder groups on gas – the 5 Brussels based organisations CEDEC, Eurogas, EBA, FCH JU & GEODE - came together to highlight the potential of renewable gases in decarbonising the energy system. Even though the role of renewables in the electricity sector is currently well understood, less is known about the potential of renewable gases. The session explored the potential role that renewable gases can play in the EU energy mix and how the existing gas grids can be used to accommodate them.
This event was unique in that it brought together the key stakeholder groups on this topic on a European basis for the first time: the biogas and biomethane producers, the hydrogen producers, the distribution gas grid operators and the gas suppliers.
Hydrogen has a great potential to exploit excess renewable electricity and convert it into gas, being the natural link between the electricity and gas sectors. Commenting on the hydrogen potential for consumers, the FCH JU Executive Director said “In the long term (2050) for the case of Germany, 14 to 20 million Tons of CO2 emissions could be avoided by converting otherwise-lost renewable electricity into hydrogen in a commercially viable way.”
Biomethane can be used for many purposes across different sectors; in electricity generation, industry, heating and in transport. It can be transported using the existing gas grids and be stored for use in a flexible manner. Philipp LUKAS, Chairman at EBA outlined the domestic production potential from unavoidable food waste and agricultural residues all across Europe while calling for an internal European market for biomethane to trigger full deployment of green gas.
Tony Glover, Energy Networks Association, focused on how the gas distribution networks are preparing for green gas. He insisted that the gas distribution networks will play a crucial role in achieving EU's decarbonisation targets. The network operators are facilitating the transport of not only natural gas, but now increasingly also renewable gas. This shows how future-proof gas is in providing domestic heating and the consumer with its continued key benefits - comfort, convenience and cost. Facilitating further growth in green gas is a key objective of the Distribution System Operators (DSO).
Gert De Block, Secretary General at CEDEC, concluded: favouring green gas means using the flexibility of gas in its most sustainable way, contributing to the decarbonisation of the energy sector, benefiting the energy consumers and society as a whole. We look forward to a Renewable Energy Directive revision welcoming renewable gases into the grids.