Molecules – The Eurogas Newsletter (May 2019)

Welcome from the Eurogas Strategy Committee Chair, Andrea Galieti

Decarbonisation, digitalisation and decentralisation are triggering important changes in the energy we offer – and the energy we demand.

The precise role of gas in the future was widely debated in 2018. Today there is little doubt that a successful energy transition can be achieved without a range of energy sources – and that only gas can realistically deliver a secure, and socially acceptable, transition.

Gas can (and already does) deliver immediate and cost effective greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions by outplacing more carbon intense fuels and appliances in the power, transport, industry, heating and agricultural sectors.

To continue to play its role in the long term, gas must evolve. It will gradually become greener and less carbon intensive or carbon neutral, to meet climate targets. It also needs to be much more integrated with the electricity system; both to reduce electricity system costs, and increasingly to allow it to support variable renewable production.

But to speed up this evolution the right rules are necessary. The current gas market regulation was designed before the energy transition, and it is not fit to accompany the journey that the European gas sector needs to accomplish. It has to evolve in order to underpin and accelerate the large scale development of decarbonised and green gas solutions. Moreover, the strategic role of the existing gas infrastructure should be preserved. With minimal cost to consumers and governments, this can evolve to accommodate green, and carbon neutral gases, like hydrogen and biomethane.

Better coordination between electricity and gas infrastructure should be ensured, avoiding unnecessary investments. Increased interaction between systems will deliver cost-effective solutions to the growing flexibility and security needs currently demonstrated by electricity.

I believe that gas – and its potential for innovation – is the best way to create a safe, secure, sustainable and efficient energy system, in favor of European citizens and industries.

Eurogas and its members look forward to partnering with the EU Institutions in shaping the policies to make this possible.

Andrea Galieti, Director Gas Market Design and Downstream Regulation, Engie

European Union Sustainable and Smart Gas Infrastructure Declaration (1 April, Bucharest)

European Union Energy Ministers as well as industry representatives including Eurogas, Hydrogen Europe and GIE signed the European Union’s Sustainable and Smart Gas Infrastructure Declaration, recognising the role the gas infrastructure will play in the decarbonisation of the future.

Eurogas Secretary General, James Watson, commented: “This is an important step for European energy policy, as the European Institutions recognise the vital role that gas plays and will play in the energy system of today and tomorrow. This declaration is a signal that gas will be part of the solution that Europe seeks to meet its energy challenges – not only through decarbonisation but also through the value of the existing gas infrastructure, and its value to society, industry and consumers.” The declaration also identified beneficial characteristics of gas, such as the ability to transport it, as well as its ability to support the decarbonisation of sectors that would be challenging to electrify.

The signing came alongside the conference held jointly by the Aspen Institute Romania and the Ministry of Energy of Romania, “Future energy systems: Sustainable and smart gas infrastructure supported by hydrogen and other renewable gases.” Held in Bucharest, this was attended by European and Romanian policy makers, including  Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate and Energy; Anton Anton, Romanian Minister of Energy, and Dominique Ristori, Director General DG ENERGY European Commission, as well as European and national energy sector experts. Discussions focused on key topics for the EU and Romanian Presidency agenda: the future European energy system; innovation and digitalisation of energy networks; decarbonising the energy sector; and ensuring the transition to a low-carbon economy, including the role of hydrogen.

Gas – Part of the solution? (3 April, Brussels)

Eurogas held its annual conference at the Renaissance Hotel, Brussels on Wednesday 3 April, hosting three panels of expert speakers and lively debate, with positive opening and closing comments from the Commission.

Raffaele Mauro Petriccione, Director-General DG Climate Action, European Commission, summarised the event, saying “The role of gas in the future sustainable economy will be at the heart of the discussion.” He echoed acting Eurogas President Martin Hermann, recognising the importance of gas in achieving climate targets and delivering the energy transition.

MEP Seán Kelly also spoke, saying “I think everyone agrees we cannot have a business-as-usual scenario for gas to 2050; there needs to be greening of the grid, the replacement of natural gas with renewable gases, and I strongly welcome the sector’s willingness to achieve this.”

With almost 200 attendees, the event’s popularity prompted an overflow room, where the debate continued to be livestreamed to a standing audience of energy specialists from the European institutions, industry, think tanks, NGOs and media. The Eurogas team are delighted with the results and look forward to welcoming you all again at future events!

Contributing to a CO2 neutral gas supply: On the road to 2050 – what role for renewable gases and gas infrastructure? (9 April, Brussels)

Frontier Economics presented their study “The value of gas infrastructure in a decarbonised Europe” at this roundtable, hosted by Euractiv. Eurogas Secretary General James Watson joined DG Energy Director, European Commission Klaus-Dieter Borchardt; Secretary General Eurelectric, Kristian Ruby; Centre for European Studies Research Fellow, Milan Elkerbout; and Senior Policy Advisor E3G, Lisa Fischer. The discussion focussed on the evolution of the gas infrastructure and on the challenges related to renewable gases. Mr Borchardt said ‘the study isn’t new but it is good news.’ Borchardt also supported Eurogas’s point that in the EU we need to continue to consider how to be a good energy neighbour, through encouraging the imports of clean energy in the future and supporting others to decarbonise.

The fight for EU energy security (11 April, Brussels)

Organised by Politico, this debate saw Secretary General James Watson and fellow panellists follow a passionate interview by Gordon Sondland, United States of America Ambassador to the European Union, on the topic of the Security Impact of the EU’s Green Energy Drive.

The panel included Juraj Nociar, Head of Vice-President Sefcovic’s Cabinet, MEP Morten Helveg Petersen and Dries Acke of the European Climate Foundation. In his opening statement, Watson commended the European Commission’s LNG strategy, which has seen a direct response from the gas sector through the large increase in the use of LNG imports, infrastructure, and new deals with a wide variety of partners, and encouraged this diversification in suppliers, which offers important stability to the EU’s neighbourhood region.

The gas diversification strategy – particularly the 3rd gas package – has lead to unprecedented acts of national cooperation. On January 1st 2020 Finland, Estonia and Latvia will create a common market for gas – the first common market for energy of any kind. The three countries will behave as one territory for gas, harmonising standards and working together to maintain a stable market providing an affordable energy source for the benefit of consumers across the territories.
Highlighting this as an example of how energy can lead to beneficial partnerships, Watson underlined the EU’s need for harmonious cooperation with surrounding energy suppliers, the importance of supporting neighbouring regions to decarbonise, and the economic opportunities this offers Europe to lead in clean energy technologies, provide export markets for manufacturers, and continue to receive the premium energy vectors needed for decarbonisation.

Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) roundtable (30 April, Brussels)

The quirkily titled FROG report – Future Energy of Gas – was published in March 2018 by the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER). One year on from this publication, CEER are setting their focus on a regulatory framework that is fit for purpose and able to adequately underpin the energy transition, particularly by supporting the development of renewable and decarbonised gas. On 30 April this year, CEER held a roundtable discussion with stakeholders to understand the challenges and requirements for making this happen, where Eurogas Secretary General James Watson underlined several important points.

Firstly, Watson highlighted the importance of the market in helping the development of all innovative forms of gas. Where the market does not currently show sufficient maturity – and/or interest – regulated operators could accelerate the development and help scale up technology at an early stage, with the aim of triggering longer term investment. Eurogas also emphasized the importance of developing a liquid market for guarantees of origin in Europe. A set of minimum requirements for the guarantees is necessary, including specifying whether the gas is renewable, low-carbon or decarbonised for example. This could help generate market interest and spark demand from end-consumers.

Secondly, Eurogas emphasised the need for closer cooperation between electricity and gas sectors to facilitate the energy transition, and work together on planning and developing the required infrastructure for the coming decades.

Thirdly, Watson clarified that the aforementioned aims will only be possible with EU-level endorsement of a renewable and decarbonised gas target. Targets in the renewable electricity sector sparked market interest and drove down technological costs. The aim therefore would be to recreate this effect in the gas sector, with the added benefit that bringing additional renewable and decarbonised gases could stabilise the overall energy system long term, at a beneficial cost to markets and end consumers.

Eurogas and its membership are now working to provide consolidated input to the Council of European Energy Regulators and look forward to engaging in the ongoing dialogue on improving market conditions for the development of sustainable gas.

Coming up!

FLAME 2019  25th Anniversary 13-15 May, Amsterdam
This special edition will highlight the evolution of gas in the energy mix of the future, its role in different sectors. The conference will also explore new technologies and innovations for gas and how these can contribute to the energy mix. Eurogas is delighted to participate in the panel featuring “The greening of the gas grid & bringing innovation to the system” with Secretary General, James Watson speaking.

European Heat Pump Forum 15-16 May, Brussels
Organised by the European Heat Pump Association on 15 May, heat pump technology will be at the heart of this year’s edition debate. The long-term strategy for a climate neutral Europe by 2050, digital growth and market developments in Europe, technological deployment are part of the planed policy discussions. James Watson will join leading figures for the panel: “Campfire debate: We can’t electrify everything, but can we provide green molecules to every application?”

The Smarter E Europe 15-17 May, Munich

We are teaming up with The Smarter E and Hydrogen Europe to launch the first edition of the Power-To-Gas Pavilion and conference as part of the largest energy industry platform in Europe. Hydrogen Europe and Eurogas are strategic partners of the side event taking place during the EES Europe conference “Power-to-X” on 16 May. Eurogas will host a panel on “Decarbonising the European gas industry: sector coupling for climate” The conference will look into the technological developments of Power-to-X technologies and what their role is in delivering a sustainable energy future. Further details are available on our events page.

The Small Scale LNG Use Euro-Mediterranean Conference & Expo 16 May, Naples
Nicolas Jensen, Eurogas Policy Manager Distribution will open the thematic session “Mini liquefaction, synthetic and bio-LNG the special guests.” Experts will discuss mini liquefaction, “green power to LNG” and Bio-LNG, all of which are driving LNG development. Synthetic and Bio-LNG mixed with fossil LNG further improves environmental performances.

Sector Coupling 2.0: Power to Gas in the EU Decarbonisation Strategy 17 May, Florence
In 2018, the Florence School of Regulation organised its first workshop on “Coupling the Sectors”, as part of its regulatory policy workshop series. This year’s edition will cover the power-to-gas technological landscape, identify the potentials for the different technologies and their future economic viability. Eurogas Policy Distribution Manager Nicolas Jensen will join this event and participate in the second session of the day focusing on the implications of the deployment of power-to-gas technologies for sector coupling and the appropriate regulatory and market design responses.

REGATEC 2019 20-21 May, Malmö
The 6th International Conference on Renewable Energy Gas Technology 2019 (REGATEC) organised in collaboration with LFG Baltic takes place on 20-21 May 2019 in Malmö, Sweden. At this technical and industrial focused event, the discussion will evolve around policy issues related to biomethane, renewable methane, biogas, power-to-gas, and many more. Eurogas Secretary General James Watson will talk about “Gas – a vital part of the renewable energy future” as part of the first panel on 20 May.

Vienna Energy Transition Forum 6-7 June, Vienna
Nicolas Jensen, Eurogas Policy Manager Distribution will speak on the second day of this event alongside representatives from major international organisations and regional and international energy companies operating in the broader Central Eastern European (CEE) and Southern Eastern European (SEE) region. The conference will focus on critical energy and environmental issues and how these can be tackled as the region enters a decarbonisation phase in line with EU goals and international commitments.

GIE Annual Conference 13-14 June, Paris
The GIE Annual Conference is an opportunity to meet and exchange with key gas players on the latest trends and news in gas infrastructure. This year’s edition will be located in the heart of Paris, one of Europe’s most fascinating historical cities. The French gas infrastructure operators ELENGY, GRTgaz and Storengy will be the hosts. Conference website & programme:

James Watson, Eurogas Secretary General, will be speaking on the panel “Making the world go round: circular economy” on the first day.

Eurogas is back to the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) with interesting policy sessions 18-20 June, Brussels
Eurogas is involved in a number of sessions on 19 June featuring leading experts that will discuss most efficient pathways to shaping Europe’s future energy mix. Join us for the session A competitive future for decarbonised EU industries? Registrations are open on the EUSEW website.

The European Utility Week with co-located event POWERGEN Europe 12-14 November, Paris
Eurogas is pleased to be a partner of this year’s edition of the European Utility Week and POWERGEN Europe. The European Utility Week is a large end-to-end energy industry event.  With an expected audience of over 18,000 international power and smart energy professionals. POWERGEN Europe attracts attendees from all of the largest and most influential power providers, utilities, governments and solution providers. It has established itself as the centre point for the power generation sector.

More Eurogas events coming up! 
SAVE THE DATE – Policy networking cocktail event “Eurogas Summer Barbecue” – 10 July, Brussels.
SAVE THE DATE – Central and Eastern European Conference – 7-8 October.

Stay tuned, more details available soon!

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