October 12, 2021
Lucerne, 12th October 2021
The debate continues at GIE’s Annual Conference. We are at the end of the first day and the debate has heated up on decarbonising Europe’s regions by switching from coal to gas and methane emissions.
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The switch from coal to gas – a central step for quick decarbonisation of the society
Here are the main messages we heard on the power of switching from coal to gas in some of EU’s countries and regions:
Bulgarian MEP Tsvetelina Penkova mentioned “Taking into account the specifics of each region would be the key for a successful energy transition. Climate neutrality by 2050 can only be achieved if we all work together in decarbonising our economy. The ecological, economic and social transition must go hand in hand – with no single European citizen, region or member state left behind.”
Piotr Kuś, GIE’s sponsor of CH4 Area stressed that “the flexibility of the gas infrastructure is an essential element to achieve the climate targets of the EU. The switch from coal to natural gas in the short-to-mid term and to renewable and low-carbon gases in the mid-to-long term will guarantee an efficient, stable and affordable transition of our energy system for all end-users. Gas infrastructure operators can deliver all these developments.”
Greg Molnár, Gas Analyst at the International Energy Agency explained that “the existing gas infrastructure can fast-track the deployment of low-carbon gases, by providing network access, reducing transport costs and ultimately facilitating their integration into the broader energy system.”
Collaboration for the methane emissions abatement
To deliver the goals of the EU Green Deal and accelerate the energy transition, the European Commission has under preparation a legislative proposal on Methane Emissions for energy support as it was announced in the EU Strategy to reduce methane emissions published in October 2020.
On the 18th of September of 2021, The European Union and the United States announced the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce global methane emissions to be launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in November in Glasgow. Gas operators continue taking action to support the European Commission and to effectively and responsibly further address methane emissions.
Methane emissions are accountable for a quarter of today’s global warming. In fact, their environmental impact comes right after carbon dioxide’s one. This gives a good idea of how crucial methane emissions are to enable climate neutrality.
Reducing methane emissions will benefit the whole society, the environment, and the economy by reducing the costs of the energy transition and the European gas industry as a whole has a crucial role to play in all that process, joining forces and collaborating towards a decarbonised future.
Francisco de La Flor – GIE Board Member explains:
Joining voluntary and mandatory programmes, gas industry players have been working for many years to minimise methane emissions of their facilities. Emission reductions are being achieved thanks to the implementation of ambitious leak detection and repair programmes as well as the progressive reduction of venting and flaring. It’s an ongoing process. We are implementing the best available techniques to mitigate emissions and we keep looking to improve those technologies. Each time, we take into consideration the safety of our workers as well as the citizens. Technical and environmental aspects are also part of the equation
Numerous joint initiatives are already in place or under development, as detailed in the Action Plan on Methane Emissions that was developed after the report Potential ways the gas industry can contribute to the reduction of methane emissions:
Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) is the association representing the interests of European gas infrastructure operators active in gas transmission, gas storage and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) regasification. GIE is a trusted partner of European institutions, regulatory bodies and industry stakeholders. It is based in Brussels, the heart of European policymaking. GIE currently represents 70 member companies from 26 countries. GIE’s vision is that by 2050, the gas infrastructure will be the backbone of the new innovative energy system, allowing European citizens to benefit from a secure, efficient and sustainable energy supply.