European Commission: Natural Gas Has No Viable Future in the Longer Run

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  • “There will be only a marginal role for natural gas in Europe’s future energy mix if the region electrifies everything that can be electrified,” European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans told industry association Eurogas last week.
  • Eurogas is an association representing the European gas wholesale, retail and distribution sectors.
  • “Instead of waiting for the inevitable, it is better to adapt,” Timmermans said as he briefed industry on legislative plans being prepared by the commission to ensure carbon neutrality by 2050. Electrification is the “end game in many areas”, he said.
  • “[Natural] gas may still play a role in the transition from coal to zero-emission electricity. But I want to be crystal clear, fossil fuels — and [natural]gas — have no viable future in the longer run.

“For some member states where there are no other affordable options, gas will have to play a limited transitional role. Poland is one of those countries where this will be necessary.”

Timmermans also sees no need for new natural gas transport infrastructure. Retrofitting existing pipelines to transport hydrogen can be done at about a quarter of the cost of building brand new pipelines, he said.

But “electrification will not be the answer everywhere. Aviation, steel, heavy aviation and maritime will need alternatives and clean hydrogen could be a game changer”, he said.

The European Commission recently closed a consultation on changes to EU gas rules that would facilitate a share of two-thirds renewable and low-carbon gas by 2050.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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