Editorial – Eurogas Secretary General James Watson
Welcome back to the penultimate issue of Molecules – The Eurogas Newsletter – of this year.
It has been an exceptional year – in the challenges it has presented, the opportunities it has created, and the creativity it has forced us to find. We have changed our approach to work, and indeed our lives. In next month’s issue we will look back on the year as a whole and look forwards towards 2021. For now, let us focus on the many projects underway here at Eurogas – because there are many!
Towards the end of November, following months of close cooperation, Eurogas along with the European Public Service Union and European Trade Union, published a Joint Statement on the Social Dialogue on Gas. The statement recognises the vital role the gas sector will play in achieving European climate objectives – as well as the opportunities that new gas technologies offer for the European workforce to have quality, stable and non-seasonal jobs. Europe leads in these fields today. Therefore we should ensure we make the most of this opportunity for all Europeans.
New jobs in the gas sector – particularly through the development of innovative new technologies – is a key area of focus for Eurogas. It is why we have launched our Gas Tech Campaign, and an exciting series of short talks, called Gas Tech Talks. Each of these short episodes discusses a new type of clean gas technology, where it is being developed, and what it can do for Europe. The conversations are fun and informative, giving each of us the chance to brush up on the tools available to decarbonise. We share our second in the series with you below – where a lively Christophe Bellet from GRDF discusses biomethane. Enjoy it!
Also in this issue we welcome guest contributor Adam Hawkes from the Sustainale Gas Institute at Imperial College London, who worked with Eurogas Policy Advisor Nicolas Jensen to present two events on methane, supported also by Eurogas member Wintershall DEA. Methane is a widely discussed, contentious and topical subject at this time, and we were proud to partner with the experts at Imperial to discuss the importance of tackling methane emisisons, and how to do this.
Of course one exciting event that took place in November were the elections in the United States of America. Earlier in the year Eurogas welcomed their first American associate member, and like much of the world, we followed the dramatic election very closely, even hosting a webinar just two days after the election! This high-profile event brought speakers together from American LNG firms and the European Commission to discuss the potential effects of the election outcomes on global and European energy. It was made all the more interesting, given the result of the election was unknown at the time. You can read more about the event and watch the hour-long webinar here.
In November we welcomed Laura Bosetti permanently into the team, in the role of Policy Advisor for Retail. Laura will run the Retail Committee for Eurogas, liaising closely with members on mechanisms to support customer engagement in the market from the supplier’s perspective, as well as working on topics such as Energy Efficiency, and the Renovation Wave.
It continues to be busy, and here at Eurogas we continue to work hard, to represent our members, their progress, and the developments that we believe are best for the future of energy and of Europe.
Gas Tech Talk: Biomethane
This is the second in an exciting series of Gas Tech Talks; short interviews with companies around Europe who are progressing the energy transition through innovative clean energy technologies.
In this episode, Christophe Bellet from GRDF (Gaz Réseau Distribution France) speaks to Nicolas Jensen from Eurogas, on developments in biomethane and building a circular waste system.
Watch the video below!
Let’s Meet! Webinar on the US Elections: What Do They Mean for Energy?
This interesting and political discussion took place amid the three-day wait for the results of the 2020 Presidential election in the USA, with panellists Anne-Charlotte Bournoville, Head of Unit International Relations & Enlargement at DG Energy, European Commission; Brian Kelly, Vice President, Sempra Energy; and Fred Hutchison, President & CEO at LNG Allies.
Watch the action here!
A Methane Masterclass: The Sustainable Gas Institute at Imperial College London
In mid-November, the Sustainable Gas Institute (SGI) at Imperial College London delivered two events in the highly-topical area of methane emissions from energy supply chains, supported by Eurogas and Wintershall DEA. It is not widely known the extent to which methane emissions are responsible for global warming to date but methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. So even small quantities of emissions can lead to significant environmental impacts and it is an incredibly important part of the picture with regard to climate change mitigation.
The oil and gas industry has recognised this issue, via initiatives such as the Methane Guiding Principles, and is striving to quantify and reduce these emissions as a high priority. We are also seeing commensurate policy and regulation rapidly emerging worldwide.
The two events the SGI held were a Methane Guiding Principles Global Outreach Programme Executive course, and moderation of a panel on the topic of the EU’s new Methane Strategy drawing on expert views from the European Commission, Thüga, Wintershall DEA and EDF.
Building recognition and action on this issue across stakeholders is incredibly important, as it is no use if only one part of the supply chain takes action; the entire supply chain needs to pursue a coordinated and integrated response to tackle it. Both the Methane Guiding Principles and the EU Methane Strategy serve to meet these aims, so even more events like these are needed. We at the SGI are proud to be pushing this forward, and that the Outreach course has been recognised via becoming a finalist in the IChemE Global Awards for Training and Development.
This article was provided to Eurogas by Dr Adam Hawkes, a Reader in Energy Systems at Imperial College London, Director of the Sustainable Gas Institute, and Programme Lead for Energy Modelling at the Grantham Institute. He is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition journal, a new partner open access journal to the high impact Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. A Chartered Engineer, Dr Hawkes has more than 20 years experience of technical leadership and management in the field of greenhouse gas mitigation appraoches, energy technology assessment and systems design and modelling. Adam has worked on key emerging challenges in energy systems such as global mitigation pathways, methane emissions, the future roles for conventional and low carbon fuels, heat decarbonisation, mass-market integration of renewables, and the role of carbon capture in sustainable energy systems. He frequently provides strategic advice to UK and international governments, industry, multilaterals, NGOs and other energy stakeholders on topics ranging from technology appraisal through to policy impact assessment.
Dr Hawkes is joined on the SGI methane team by Prof Nigel Brandon, Dr Paul Balcombe, Dr Jasmin Cooper, Luke Dubey and Dr Jamie Speirs. For an overview of the SGI, see here.
The EU’s Methane Strategy: What Does it Really Mean for Gas?
As the green deal was being announced by President Ursula Von der Leyen in December 2019, it was clear that the European Union, with the Commission at its helm, was embarking on an ambitious decarbonisation pathway. This pathway, taking stock of vocal popular support for more stringent action with regards to climate change, was emphasising the need to look at reducing emission across sectors, and across various types of greenhouse gases. In addition, the EU’s executive was committing to a broad revision of any legislation relevant to energy, energy consuming sectors, and greenhouse-gas emitting users.
As 2020 unfolded, and the COVID crisis hit Member States over the following months, concern arose on the impact which the crisis would have on commitment to climate change mitigation. The Commission swiftly made clear that while the crisis would mean that cost-efficient approaches would become even more paramount, by no means would GHG emission reduction be relegated to a secondary objective, quite the contrary.
Over spring and summer 2020, the executive committee published a strategy linked to sector integration and a regulation on taxonomy and how to ensure sustainable investments. Both of these sought to ensure the energy sector, amongst others, would see a review in the way investors reached decisions, and in the way projects could interact with each other. However, what was deeply ingrained in those texts was the idea that methane emissions should be further addressed, and that mitigation should be incentivised along the value chain and the sectors.
This culminated in no other than the publication of a fully-fledged methane strategy, the first legislative initiative directly targeting methane since the early 1990’s, seeking to address a potent greenhouse gas that more often than not was relegated behind CO2.
To read this interesting article in full, originally published in Italian by Eurogas Senior Policy Advisor for Distribution, Nicolas Jensen, click here. To read the full post in Italian as published by RiEnergia, click here
The Renovation Wave: Ensuring No One is Locked Out
As vice-president for the Green Deal, Commissioner Frans Timmermans said the EU’s Renovation Wave Strategy is a chance for member states to boost their COVID-19 recovery plans, supporting a fair energy transition, reducing carbon emissions, and creating jobs.
The principles of energy efficiency, cost-efficiency and affordability will be the pillars of the Renovation Wave: a strategy that needs to ensure ‘no one will be left behind.’ Eurogas believes that renovating buildings, combined with the deployment of smart gas solutions for heating, will be a necessary step in the path toward carbon neutrality. And that this approach will maintain Europe’s leading position as a pioneer in clean gas energy technologies.
All investments need to be cost-efficient and take income diversity into account. Technology neutrality should remain the key to avoid preventing households and business from accessing energy-efficient solutions. Carbon emission reductions can be achieved through improvements to home heating, one of the main sectors involved in the Renovation Wave. For example, modern gas technologies – such as small condensing gas boilers, which are highly efficient – can also run on biomethane.
A Just Transition also entails giving everyone the opportunity to contribute to reduction their emission to the best of their ability: consumers across Europe are showing a growing interest in their personal contributions to achieving climate neutrality. But to do this, consumers need a better understanding of sustainability aspects of goods and services.
At Eurogas, we believe that consumer information, expertise of the professionals in the building sector, and digital skills are often as important as the deployment of smart energy efficiency solutions itself.