18 Jun 2019, 13:32
Julian Wettengel

Germany could have 7.5 GW power-to-gas capacity by 2030, say gas grid operators

Clean Energy Wire

Renewables-based gases such as hydrogen and synthetic methane will be increasingly important for Germany’s to reach climate targets, say gas transmission grid operators (TSO) in press release. The country could have 1.5 gigawatt (GW) installed capacity of power-to-gas (PtG) facilities by 2025, and up to 7.5 GW by 2030, they say. The TSO umbrella organisation FNB Gas has presented its scenario framework for gas grid development for 2020-2030, which for the first time considers the integration of renewables-based gases. It is essential to take account of developments at an early stage for gas grid planning, said FNB Gas Chairman Ralph Bahke. "It will not be possible to efficiently decarbonise the industrial, transport and building sectors without making green gases part of the future energy system,” he said. The scenario framework is only a first step in creating the country’s official gas grid development plan, providing an assessment of expected general developments in the gas sector over the coming decade. The final plan is expected to be published by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) at the end of 2020.

To reach ambitious climate targets, natural gas increasingly has to be replaced by synthetic, renewables-based gases. Using renewable electricity to produce hydrogen and CO₂-neutral methane could solve some of the Energiewende’s toughest challenges. Making gas with wind and solar power could also provide carbon-neutral fuel for heating and transport and pave the way for large-scale seasonal energy storage. But a lot of energy is lost during the conversion, making the technology comparatively expensive. The federal government is working on a strategy for hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

FNB Gas’s scenario framework also gives a projection of future infrastructure development and gas use. Projections about future German final gas consumption vary widely, but most scenarios assume a constant decrease [see page 36] in the coming decade, and beyond. Natural gas currently covers almost a quarter of German primary energy consumption, second only to the country’s most important energy source, mineral oil. Most gas is used for heating and cooling in households and public buildings and for process heat in industry. Some is used to generate electricity and in combined heat-and-power facilities (CHP), and some for non-energetic use in industry. Current use in transport is marginal.

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