04 Jul 2019, 12:43
Julian Wettengel

Local utilities call for mandatory share of renewable gases

Clean Energy Wire

More than 60 local German utilities have called for the introduction of a mandatory share of renewables-based gases to be added to the country’s natural gas supply for sectors not covered by the European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS), such as transport and heating. “CO₂ emissions can be lowered fast and cheap by using renewable gases. […] With the support of the government, a renewable gases share of 25 percent by 2030 is realistic,” they say in a position paper. The share can be reached with biogas, as well as hydrogen and synthetic gas made from renewable power. The share should be 0.01 percent in 2021, 0.1 percent in 2022, and then a linear increase to 25 percent by 2030. In the long term, the utilities see an increase in the share of hydrogen in Germany’s gas grid, possibly to 100 percent, and call for a master plan by grid operators to identify pipeline systems which could be switched early. The alliance also calls for government support to jump start the expansion of power-to-x.

Europe's biggest economy will have to virtually phase out all fossil fuels to fully decarbonise by 2050, including natural gas. But the industry says flexible gas-fired electricity generation is the perfect partner for fluctuating renewables. To reconcile both worlds, experts are looking to power-to-gas technology, which uses renewable electricity to make synthetic gas that can be stored on a large scale and used on days with little wind or sun. So far, power-to-gas is only used in several dozen research and pilot facilities around Germany. Some experts say the government must now scale up the technology to make it available – and affordable – in time to meet climate targets.

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