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Gas to lead transport and power growth even as renewables rise

Sep 20, 2018
4 min read
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Leaders in gas and renewables engaged at Gastech on Wednesday in a forward-looking analysis of how the two sources of energy will play a role in future energy demand.
During the Global Leaders’ Panel, “The Gas–Renewables Nexus: Delivering Cleaner Transport and Power for the Future,” there was consensus among the speakers that while renewables in some parts of the world are seeing dramatic growth, natural gas will play a key role going forward for the heavy transport and power sector. 
“Renewables together with gas is going to be an important opportunity,” said Marcelino Oreja Arburúa, Chief Executive Officer, Enagás. 
Gas companies will play an important role in the transport sector in the fight against climate change, which is increasingly vital in Europe, he said. 
“We really think natural gas will increase and grow for transportation. In Spain, we are a bit behind with natural gas for vehicles and we are moving and pushing that through Enagás by investing in some gas stations, which countries like France and Italy are really ahead of us in. 
This is also going to be very important for trucks and long-distance transportation sector. LNG for trucks will come strongly in the next years and we’ll be there as an infrastructure company. There are many things we can do by investing in those infrastructures to enable the transport companies to transform themselves and use natural gas or LNG,” Arburúa said. 
In shipping, he said the country is working on new legislation: “I’m sure we’re going to have new tariffs on bunkering, which is going to be very important to promote the use of natural gas and LNG in the shipping industry.”  
“Spain is a country in Europe with more terminals so it’s going to be important for us to be in he right place to give the service of bunkering to many of the shipping companies around the world,” he added. 
In the railway sector, the change from coal to LNG in some lines where electrification is not possible is also an opportunity, he said. “We really think that’s going to happen and we’re doing an important test in the north of Spain and there will be much opportunity for LNG in transport,” he added. 
Meanwhile, in the power sector, gas companies can also add some value, he said, adding that gas is also going to be the backup for renewables industry. 
Pierre Chareyre, Executive Vice President, Engie, said the company is at the forefront of the energy transition. The company a few years ago, closed or sold all of its coal plants and now, more than 90 per cent of its power production fleet is low carbon emission, which is either renewable or gas. 
“For the future, the energy mix will not be the result of sharp competition between the different sources of energy but a necessary convergence between complimentary solutions,” he said, adding that the energy mix will very much depend on the local situation to determine what will be the exact share of gas, solar, wind and even hydrogen. 
Echoing the view, Steven Edwards, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Black & Veatch said: “We’re confident that natural gas has a role even as renewables reshapes the electricity industry as we’ve known for some time.”
“Beyond the high level and transitory view on renewables, you have to look at circumstances around the globe and each location. So within each country in each region, there are different circumstances that will drive the primary sources of energy going forward. 
“We believe that natural gas does have a future and we’ll see growth in the power sector,” he added. 
Edwards highlighted three trends in the renewable sector which will drive its growth; cost decline, storage innovation and electrification.

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