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Molecules – The Eurogas Newsletter (February 2021)

Editorial – Eurogas Secretary General James Watson

Dear members and readers,

Welcome to another issue of Molecules, the second edition of our newsletter this year.

And what a busy start to the year it has been! Within the first two months of the year we have submitted responses to consultations on the Emissions Trading Scheme, the Renewable Energy Directive, the Effort Sharing Regulation and the Energy Efficiency Directive. As we all know, 2021 is going to be a busy legislative year, keeping us all very active.

That is why we are glad to welcome a new team member – Victor Bernabeu who will be leading our wholesale market work. You can read all about his expectations on the year ahead and what he sees as the priorities for the gas market in terms of legislation.

At the heart of all our work, we consider the evolution of gas in Europe up to 2030 and beyond. Eurogas sees a role for gaseous fuels in the energy transition, while recognising a significant development in the types of molecules we will consume by 2050. Nevertheless, the success of our EU climate policies will depend on a pragmatic use of natural gas over the coming years to decarbonise heat, transport, industry and power generation. In this issue, Eurogas Policy Director Andreas Guth discusses the long-anticipated process to review gas market design, and the necessity to create a reliable and predictable policy framework for investors that will create momentum around decarbonisation of the gas system.

We know that delivering gaseous energy through the existing and world class gas infrastructure in Europe will support a larger share of renewables in the system and balance increased electrification. Nevertheless,  we still need to  deploy all of our decarbonisation options as soon, as possible, if we are to reduce emissions in line with our carbon neutrality goal.

And talking of our world class gas infrastructure, we are also pleased to have an article in this month’s newsletter from Greek DSO Attiki EDA, a new member of Eurogas. In Greece, the demand for gas is increasing, as more people are experiencing the benefits of gas for their home comforts. As one of our newest joiners, Attiki took this opportunity to share their thoughts and hopes around the possibilities of gas today, and the future of the grid in terms of delivering biogas and hydrogen.

Finally, our ongoing project of highlighting gas technologies that can deliver this, the Gas Tech Talks, are raising greater awareness of the technologies being designed, manufactured and deployed by European companies here in Europe. As the talks demonstrate, European companies are leaders in the field of gas decarbonisation technologies. With the right policy support, their projects and investments will create value, jobs and improve our environment for years to come. Please be sure to watch our talks, and if you would like to participate in our series, do not hesitate to contact us. In this newsletter you will find a very interesting and informative gas tech talk with Alix Chambris from Viessmann explaining how hydrogen boilers are being designed and built in Europe today.

For now I will leave you to enjoy another issue of our newsletter, and wish you all the best from here in Brussels.

Stay well,

Guest Opinion Editorial: New Eurogas Member Attiki on Natural Gas in Greece

EDA Attikis: Significant development of the natural gas market in Greece.

Attiki Natural Gas Distribution Company (EDA Attikis) is the independent operator of the Natural Gas Distribution Network in the Attica region. It is  one of the leading distribution companies in Greece, as well as in South East Europe, with integrated and efficient operation structures that utilise the best available techniques and modern information systems for the development, monitoring and maintenance of its networks. As such, it achieves strong returns for its shareholders, and the most reliable and advanced energy services for its end-consumers and gas suppliers.

EDA Attikis invests in a cleaner future, by developing one of the most modern natural gas networks in Europe. The company’s objectives are to secure a smooth supply and flow of natural gas to end-consumers, as well as ongoing safety in our operations of natural gas infrastructure. But in addition, we aim to provide modern and efficient energy solutions, and work towards the wider promotion and development of the natural gas market in terms of transparency and sustainability.

Investments throughout the Attica region.

EDA Attikis is seeking to expand the use of natural gas throughout the Attica region in Greece, through an ambitious five-year development plan which exceeds 132m EUR. With a clear vision, continuous initiatives and integrated planning, the company is expanding its network in every municipality and district of the wider Athens region, implementing its largest ever investments.

Natural gas fully supports the national energy objectives under the National Energy and Climate Plan. Natural gas is a clear choice of ‘bridge’ fuel for Greece as the country moves to a post-lignite era. And our company remains fully committed to its goal of contributing to the energy transition of Greece in accordance with the Energy Union Strategy and the respective EU energy and climate policy.

Specifically, the company’s new investment plan for the period 2021 – 2025 includes the expansion of the low and medium pressure network by 648km. Furthermore, EDA Attikis is planning extensive upgrades and replacement projects for the existing network, particularly in the historical centre of Athens.

Consequently, the new pipelines constructed will be added to the region’s existing network, that already covers 3663km with 155,500 active natural gas delivery points. These serve more than 400,000 households, 7,500 commercial consumers and 226 large industrial consumers.

The foremost priority of the network development plan is to ensure 100% uninterrupted gas supply with complete network integrity and safety.

Growth through partnership and collaboration.

In line with the current energy market requirements, our company strives to constantly improve its cooperation with natural gas suppliers, as well as with other stakeholders and professionals in the field.

EDA Attikis is cooperating with local municipalities to accelerate the expansion of its network in the areas of their authority.  The company also collaborates with key national organisations and academic institutions with the aim of promoting the use of natural gas, the safety constraints on the construction and operation of gas distribution networks, and the prospect of incorporating additional energy services to end-consumers.

For EDA Attikis, becoming a member of Eurogas was an important step in strengthening the role of natural gas in Greece’s domestic energy market through the ongoing dialogue and cooperation with key players of the European gas industry, as well as related institutions and organisations. Through our partnership with Eurogas, our company will have the opportunity to actively contribute to the strengthening and further developing the natural gas market in Greece.

The Gas Package: Direction and Momentum for Investors

The European Commission has launched the long-anticipated process to review the EU gas market design. This is a necessary step to ensure efficient and sustainable development in the gas sector in line with the EU’s climate and energy targets. Eurogas holds an established commitment to achieving the Paris Agreement objectives, climate neutrality by 2050 and 55% emissions’ reductions by 2030.

Meeting the EU’s ambitious climate and energy targets in the most cost-effective way requires a multi-vectored approach across all sectors. The Climate Target Plan Impact Assessment confirms this, as it finds that gaseous fuels will continue to play a critical role in 2050. At the same time, the gas sector will have to change and adapt. The speed with which change must now happen requires decisive action from industry and policy makers.

We therefore welcome last week’s Inception Impact Assessment on a ‘Hydrogen and Gas markets Decarbonisation Package’. It is the first step to a fit-for-purpose framework that supports the transition to a cost-efficient and carbon-neutral energy system. It should be built on three pillars focusing on the role of investors, infrastructure, and markets in ensuring secure, affordable and sustainable energy supply to EU citizens and large end-users such as industry or mobility.

First, EU policies should create a policy framework that provides direction and predictability to investors in order to create momentum for decarbonising the gas system. Second, EU policies should aim to leverage the strategic role of gas infrastructure for security of supply, system resilience and ability to support the system-wide energy transition in the most cost-effective way. Third, effective market design should ensure a well-functioning, competitive and integrated internal energy market that creates value and security of supply as well as promoting the integration and trading of renewable, decarbonised and low-carbon gases.

Ultimately, all of these together, will ensure that the EU gas market design promotes the role gas can play towards an effective, and viable energy transition to 2050.

Eurogas Tech Talk: Viessmann Discuss Decarbonising Heating

In this Eurogas Tech Talk, Alix Chambris of Viessmann explains the importance of decarbonising heating to reach 2050 net zero with a focus on natural, renewable and low carbon gas heating.

Gas heaters can already use hydrogen and biomethane blends, and Viessmann has developed gas boilers that can run on 100% hydrogen. With 1.8 million Europeans employed in the heating sector, European leadership in the manufacture of renewable and low carbon gas boilers is crucial. The first step to achieving this is accelerating the uptake of renewable and low carbon gases. This issue relates to delivering EU policy initiatives on Energy System Integration, the Hydrogen Strategy and the TEN-E revision. Policy makers can help accelerate the uptake of renewable and low carbon gases by supporting:

  1. An overall gaseous fuel decarbonisation target of 20% GHG intensity reduction by 2030 compared to 2018;
  2. A binding 2030 EU target of at least 11% renewable gas in consumption to foster the large-scale development;
  3. A uniform Guarantees of Origin system for renewable and decarbonised gas;
  4. Technical rules enabling blending of hydrogen and biomethane into the gas grids to urgently integrate decentralised production;
  5. To include hydrogen in the existing regulatory framework for gaseous fuel to maintain liquid competitive markets.

Team Member Profile: Victor Bernabeu Joins Eurogas

Team Member: Victor Bernabeu;
Role: Eurogas Senior Policy Advisor, February 2021;
Education: MSc. Chemistry, MSc. Chemical Engineering, MSc. in Energy and Products;
Languages: French, English and (currently learning) Spanish.

I had the opportunity during my studies to discover the different aspects of the energy sector, learning about the functioning of a refinery or supporting the development of safety studies for LNG vessels being constructed. From a very technical background, I pivoted to the trading and supply of energy products and supported the optimisation of French supply chains for an energy company. This wide range of experiences allowed me to discover some of the challenges encountered by companies involved in the energy sector.

During my previous experience at ePURE, the association representing the EU producers of renewable ethanol, I had the chance to come in contact with the exciting world of EU policies. As an engineer, this was a first, and, being passionate about energy, climate and transport issues, I quickly became fascinated with the development of their policy and regulatory frameworks.

I believe that the gas industry – or perhaps we should say gases – has and will have to overcome extremely ambitious challenges in the years to come. Eurogas has actively participated to the shaping of this ambition and I am sure it will continue to boost the industry transition.

The climate and energy transitions are the biggest challenges we will all have to face, and I am very happy to be part of an organisation willing to make a change.

Victor Bernabe
Eurogas Senior Policy Advisor

Coming up : Events

Eurogas Let’s Meet! ‘The EU’s Renewable Ambitions: What role for Gas?’ | 11 May 2021, 09:30-10:30 (CET)

The online event ‘TEN-E and Gas Funding: Game Over?’ will look to address the review of the TEN-E regulation. In particular, what role can gas projects play in order to deliver the objectives of the European Green Deal. See the programme and register here!

2nd World Hydrogen Summit | 9-11 March 2021

The Sustainable Energy Council are pleased to invite you the 2nd World Hydrogen Summit taking place virtually on 9-11 March 2021.

Gathering Energy Ministers, government representatives and the world’s experts in hydrogen production, technology and applications, the Summit is the ideal platform to exchange insights, establish cross-sector partnerships and secure new deals to drive the industry forward.

This year’s Summit Programme shifts the conversation from “why” to “how“, ensuring we maximise the current momentum, accelerating knowledge transfer to increase international hydrogen deployment in line with our set climate targets.

Join us in March to connect with the global hydrogen community, grasp the latest opportunities and align your company with the very best of industry benchmarks.

Eurogas Annual Conference ‘Gas: Fit for 55?’| 25 March 2021, 15:00-18:00 CET

The Eurogas Annual Conference ‘Gas: Fit for 55?’ will look to address the challenges for the energy sector to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 and a carbon-neutral EU by 2050. Join the conversation, register here!