Policy push needed for resilient energy system with green gas – gas industry
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s energy system will need ‘green’ gas to become climate neutral, but government must set the right framework conditions to ensure the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy, said several gas industry groups. In a report on the transformation path for “new gases”, industry groups called on the government to keep gas in the mix when it comes to planning the future energy infrastructure, arguing that many options make for a more resilient system. Recent debates about the future role of green gases such as hydrogen in Germany have focussed on heating and cars, where some stakeholders and politicians warn against solely betting on heat pumps or electric cars, instead calling for the use of hydrogen, for example in gas heaters or to make climate-friendly fuels. “The gas industry will turn into a hydrogen industry,” said Kirsten Westphal, member of the executive board at energy industry association BDEW.
The associations BDEW, DVGW and Zukunft Gas now call on the government to expand contracts for difference (CfD) programmes to support industry switchover to climate-friendly processes, incentivisation of hydrogen-ready gas power plants, and use of public procurement to help establish a market for climate-neutral products. The organisations’ definition of climate-neutral gases includes bio methane, green hydrogen and its derivatives, as well as hydrogen made from fossil gas where the CO2 is stored (‘blue’ and ‘turquoise’ hydrogen).
The question of what role renewable-derived gases will play in the future German energy system, and what the transformation for the current fossil gas industry could look like is highly complicated, and has been the focus of intense lobbying from the gas industry which tries to secure its place in the transition. Many issues will be decisive to settle this issue, such as technological and cost developments. Also, the question remains to what extent existing infrastructure should be used. In a recent report, think tank Agora Energiewende said that more than 90 percent of Germany’s gas distribution infrastructure will become obsolete with the country’s climate neutrality target 2045.