GasNaturally welcomes the Commission’s focus on the role of gas in the Energy Union

Commenting on the European Commission’s Energy Security Package issued today François-Régis Mouton, Chairman of GasNaturally, the partnership representing the European gas industry, said:

“Gas will be instrumental in meeting not only the EU 2030 climate targets, but also in contributing to advancing the post-COP21 agenda. Any progress will be hard without gas working alongside renewables to replace coal in electricity production and for cost-efficient solutions in heating.[1]

“If gas-fired power production had stayed at 2010 levels and coal had fallen instead, then European power sector emissions in 2015 would be 15% below what they actually are,” Mr. Mouton explained, citing a recent report[2] by UK-based NGO Sandbag. “The clock is ticking, it’s time to move.”

The Commission has, however, missed an opportunity by not fully recognizing the role that gas can play in heating. “Gas offers various readily available and affordable options for consumers. High-efficiency, gas-based and hybrid heating options can reduce consumption by between 20-50%. Together with building renovation and renewables-based heating and cooling, these are all part of the solution,” Mr. Mouton explained.

Gas is a flexible fuel that can meet the specific needs of different customers. Thanks to its combination of high calorific value, low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and flexibility, it supports and drives innovation. On top of that, gas itself can be renewable, thanks to the development of biogas – which has now reached a level equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 14.6 million European households[3]. Other innovative technologies can transform renewable electricity into hydrogen and gas, which can both be stored and transported cost-effectively to where they are needed in the existing gas network.

GasNaturally acknowledges the Commission’s efforts to consider the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and storage to make the most out of the EU’s extensive gas infrastructure. Gas helps diversify the mix of energy sources in Europe. More than half of the gas we consume in the EU is produced in EU Member States or Norway, and the rest is imported from a variety of different countries. LNG will help diversify those sources even further and improve both competition and security of supply together with the transmission pipelines, storage facilities and LNG regasification terminals that form the core of Europe’s well-interconnected, integrated and flexible gas infrastructure network.

“GasNaturally’s members look forward to working with the Commission on the next steps needed to build on the Gas Package,” Mr. Mouton concluded. For more detailed information on GasNaturally members’ position on the Energy Security Package, please visit our Associations’ websites via GasNaturally’s members page.

[1] According to the International Energy Agency, in 2013 coal represented 76% of the EU CO2 emissions in power generation, but accounted for only 28% of that generation.

[2] Sandbag, Review of European Power Sector in 2015, January 2015.

[3] European Biogas Association, Biomethane & Biogas Report 2015, December 2015.