Gas also has the advantage of being the least polluting fossil energy, since it emits only half the amount of greenhouse gases as coal, which is still widely used to generate power, and two-thirds less than fuel oil. As part of European electricity market reforms, GasNaturally, which brings together a number of gas industry organizations, is working on recommendations to encourage more widespread use of gas and renewables. “The gas industry must actively advocate for gas-plus-renewables, which is the solution for the power generation industry,” says GasNaturally’s Chairman, François-Régis Mouton. “Especially now that the E.U. is allowing a de facto increase in the share of coal, with negative consequences not only in terms of CO2 emissions, but also human health (NOx, SOx and particulates).” Currently distorted because of an excess of allowances issued, the ETS market no longer penalizes energies that emit high levels of greenhouse gases since the price of CO2 per metric ton now stands at around €6, compared to €36 in 2008. Gas-fired power plants in Europe have trouble competing with coal-fired power plants, which have become much more competitive because of the abundance of this resource and low carbon prices. Another focus is the need to radically overhaul markets in order to send a strong price signal to energies — gas and hydropower — that add flexibility to the system, to ensure a continuing balance between electricity supply and demand.
So the fit between gas and renewable energies is very real. Gas now needs to gain ground to effectively address climate and energy challenges.