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Positioning natural gas within the overall global energy transition

Sep 11, 2018
3 min read
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José María Paz Goday, Chairman of Reganosa, on how a liveable world for future generations is a priority and what part energy management can play in achieving this goal

 

The biggest concern for political and financial leaders in today’s world, with some undesirable exceptions, seems to be leaning towards sustainability, based on the conviction that current generations must leave behind a liveable world. One of the main concerns when it comes to sustainability has become the fight against climate change.

Thus, the primary goal is to minimise the effects of human activity on the planet’s climate so humans do not to become a long-term destabilising element. Energy management, therefore, became a primary focus since it is one of the key elements to maintain the quality of life in modern societies. In this regard, renewable energy sources represent one of the most promising solutions for such a future.

ANTAGONIST AND PROTAGONIST

In most movies there is always an antagonist alongside the protagonist. Here, the role of antagonist has been given to fossil fuels since they are one of the main sources of CO2 emissions. They produce an increase in global temperature and different types of environmental disorders. In this scenario, gas must play an essential role to boost the energy transition. This is possible due to its own intrinsic characteristics including zero particles, SO2 and NOx emissions, and lower CO2 emissions compared to other traditional fuels. However, these are not the most important characteristics by which natural gas should be judged.

RENEWABLE SUPPORT

Natural gas has demonstrated itself as an essential element to support renewables. Most renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, marine and others, need a backup to integrate them into the power supply system due to their intermittent and unpredictable nature, something which power generated with natural gas has proven to provide in a flexible and efficient manner.

Apart from this, the natural gas system is also best positioned for integrating renewable gas into its operations, such as biogas or hydrogen, produced by harnessing surplus power generated by renewable energy systems. Additionally, natural gas, in particular its liquefied form, is a key alternative fuel for the road and maritime transportation of general goods and people or even fishing activities, contributing to further minimising its associated environmental impact.

POLITICAL BACKING

The support of political authorities is required here to develop the regulatory and industrial framework that will help to develop solutions and necessary support infrastructures. This should be compatible with the use and protection of existing infrastructures that are deemed useful, while obsolete infrastructure that only add costs to the supply system, should be replaced. Industry decision-makers will need to innovate and search for new business opportunities that will allow new applications for natural gas and its associated infrastructures, while assuming risks associated to business ventures and avoiding those that are only guided by political interests.

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