Molecules: #EurogasPoll Launch

How will Europeans keep warm this Winter? James Watson

Eurogas has launched the results of a pan-European poll on citizens opinions on home heating carried out by Savanta ComRes. They surveyed almost 12,000 citizens across 13 EU Member States to understand how they see their contribution to fighting climate change, how they would like to heat their homes and what would make them change their heating system.

At Eurogas we recognise that public acceptance is key in a transition to a low-carbon economy. Understanding how citizens see their role in the battle against climate change and what they are willing to do in this regard will help us gain insight into the best way to approach the challenge – bringing people with us rather than alienating them.

Our poll has found that citizens want to play a role in fighting climate change. When it comes to heating, EU citizens want environmental gains, costs savings and information about choices. They also want governments and companies to play their part through offering incentives to change heating systems and providing more information on the options that are available. Naturally there is variation across the Member States, but, in general, Savanta ComRes found prevalence of gas as a home heating source today, and interestingly already a wide acceptance of heating homes with biogas and hydrogen (up to 42% of respondents in the Netherlands!).

You’ll get an idea of the depth of the poll in the articles below and there’s much more detail on the webpage.

We are looking forward to the discussions this work is going to generate in the coming months.

James Watson Eurogas Secretary General

ACUE on the Just Transition

The Romanian Federation of Energy Utilities Companies Associations (ACUE) has joined Eurogas as a way of being more involved in European policy dialogue, during these transformational times. A major area of concern for both associations is representation of the intricacies of individual Member States’ in the Just Transition. With huge challenges ahead for Europe in terms of decarbonisation, it is essential to bring all actors together to collaborate.

A key aspect of the Just Transition is ensuring employment opportunities in sectors that will radically transform. Since this is also the core focus of European sectoral social dialogues, the grouping for gas was reconvened in recent months by the European Commission. The forum serves to answer questions such as what is the future of the gas industry in a climate-neutral EU and how do we guarantee that jobs and competences remain for the benefit the transition?

Opportunities like the sectoral dialogue for gas are much needed by countries such as Romania that are still highly reliant on solid fuels. Despite having significant natural gas reserves, only 35% of the population in Romania are connected to the grid. There is appetite for change in Romania as shown by the Eurogas heating poll. Respondents said they would like to heat their homes with natural gas, one third would use hydrogen and more than half would use biogas. A sensible path forward would include infrastructure investments, use of CCGT plants, and roll out of gas solutions to secure back-up capacity for renewables. Such a path simultaneously handles challenges of decarbonisation, security of supply, energy poverty and job creation. We look forward to increasing our presence in these important conversations.

ACUE, the Romanian Federation of Energy Utilities Companies Associations, joined Eurogas as a member in November 2019

Emissions trading scheme and buildings – Fiona Dubernet

As winter settles in on the European continent, one concern comes back to our minds – home heating. This became a hot topic recently when Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen announced plans for ETS extension to new sectors under the European Green Deal. Buildings, which currently account for more than one third of EU CO2 emissions and almost half of the final energy consumption, could be included.

IEA data shows that since 2005, 46% of non ETS sector emissions reductions were achieved in the buildings sector. Much more can be done however, and gas has a huge role to play in this. 56% of heating appliances in the EU are still considered inefficient and highly emitting. Switching from oil, coal or conventional gas boilers to modern condensing boilers would significantly reduce emissions from buildings.

Renewable and decarbonised gases will also play a major role in making home heating climate-neutral and can do so using existing infrastructure and appliances.

Eurogas’ poll on heating shows citizens want to act to limit their GHG emissions and upgrading their heating system is amongst steps they are prepared to take. The highest incidence of willingness to change is found in countries where home heating is based on solid fuels – Poland 40% willing to change, Greece 32% willing to change and Latvia 23% willing to change their heating systems. With this in mind a realistic pathway to decarbonisation of home heating would be roll out of modern gas appliances for an immediate emissions reduction, which could be furthered by progressive inclusion of renewable and decarbonised gases.

Fiona Dubernet is Eurogas Policy Advisor Retail.

Blending, infrastructure and appliances – Nicolas Jensen

An important takeaway from Eurogas’ recent heating poll is that citizens want to do their bit towards decarbonization and energy efficiency and there is openness across Europe to renewable and decarbonized gases for home heating. When considering gas, or molecules in general, current discussions about a transition from methane to hydrogen open questions related to compatibility. Will existing boilers work? What can the network take in?

To answer these questions, the industry has been working tirelessly to provide clarity on this. This culminated in the recent presentation by technical association Marcogaz at the Madrid Forum.

The research shows that most of the existing gas grid can take blends of methane and hydrogen, with upwards of 10% and up to 20% of the latter depending on grid types, whilst existing boilers seem to be able to safely handle a 20% blend. Additional studies are being conducted in the UK and France. In France, industry is making recommendations to allow blends of 10-20% towards 2030 as a way to facilitate market uptake.

So, the short answer to these questions would be, it seems there are some bright blending days ahead.

Nicolas Jensen is Eurogas Policy Manager Distribution.

Coming up – Events

Over 200 exhibitors from the “gas and water world” are expected in gat|wat 2019 (26-28 November) in Cologne. Congress and trade fair visitors will have the opportunity to obtain first-hand information on new products and services. In addition, The Silent Stage at the dialogue fair will offer specialist lectures to visitors on all three days on new technologies, infrastructure, digitisation and innovation. For the first time, the established Water Industry Innovation Forum, an event of the Water Innovation Circle (WIC) of DVGW and DWA, will also take place at this event. Innovative formats such as theme tables, speed dates and business breakfasts will enrich the trade fair.

On 26 November 2019, the dinner-debate Sector integration: Gas driving the energy transition organised by the European Energy Forum (Strasbourg, France) will discuss the need for new solutions on a deeper connection between all energy sectors  – gas, electricity and heat – in the framework of the EU energy transition.

This event, hosted by Eurogas, Uniper and Wintershall Dea, will provide insights on this topic.

The German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce organises the 5th Baltic Gas Conference on 27 November 2019 (Tallinn, Estonia). This event will address the transformation of the European gas market, developments in the Baltic gas market as well as its future perspectives.

Nicolas Jensen, Eurogas Policy Manager (Distribution) will speak in the session dedicated to green gas in the energy transformation.

Organised by the Sustainable Energy Council, The World Hydrogen Fuels Summit is taking place in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) on 10-11 March 2020, aiming to advance the conversations between industry and government, particularly in efforts to address real-world needs and key barriers to deployment. The two day event will provide a practical approach to infrastructure, developing international integrated hydrogen supply chains, covering everything from hydrogen production to storage, transportation, and use. The overarching theme for 2020 will emphasise the effort for international collaboration showcasing the world’s most promising projects and global solutions. Eurogas is a supporting association of this event.

Flame is Europe’s largest and most influential meeting place for the global gas industry. Taking place on 11 – 13 May, Flame 2020 will provide a vital forum for 600+ gas professionals 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. James Watson, Eurogas Secretary General, will speak at this event on 12 May 2020 in the panel discussion “The prospects for hydrogen & bio methane to 2050 – reality check!” .

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