Gas will fill the gap renewables can’t: experts
21 September 2018
BARCELONA, Spain — Despite fears natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are competing for financing with renewables projects, the gas industry is adamant there’s a nexus between the energy sources.
Pierre Chareyre, executive vice president of French energy company Engie said “gas is the best ally for renewable energy production, as it is absolutely needed to stabilize the grid.”
But helping with the renewables intermittency issue isn’t the only useful advantage of gas and LNG. The fuel is crucial for industrial use, heating and transport. Making it greener is the way to go, experts told a Gastech conference audience in Barcelona, attended by Kallanish Energy.
Marcelino Abrurua, CEO of Spanish grid operator Enagas, said “60% of gas use is for industry purposes. … There’s no alternative. The best, cheaper alternative is to make the gas greener with the help of renewables, rather than use electricity (in the industrial sector).”
Biogas, biomethane and hydrogen could be the fuels of the future, Chareyre noted, adding thanks to technology deployment costs will eventually drop, just as it did with renewables.
“Green gas needs to be deployed for the primary energy consumption,” he said.
Meanwhile, the experts highlighted the use of gas in transportation as being crucial to the future of the gas industry, but also of decarbonization.
“It’s easier to shift from diesel to natural gas than to electrification of vehicles,” said Abrurua. “Policymakers need to be aware of it,” he added, pointing to the benefits of existing infrastructure.
Gas can be used in mass transportation, heavy vehicles and marine shipping, the experts said. Such use would not only help to cut carbon emissions, but would also benefit public health, said Astrid Alvarez, CEO of Grupo Energia Bogota.
“The cost-benefit analysis cannot only be on the financial side. We need to tell the story of environment and health,” Alvarez said. “Gas is more environmentally-friendly, but it will also reduce costs with public health,” the Colombian said.
“People say this gas will stop the growth of renewables … that’s not right,” said Abrurua, who defends politicians as advocates for natural gas — a fuel still needed in the next four decades.
“Gas is a destination fuel and renewables are a choice,” concluded Alvarez.