Future of Gas Called into Question at London Conference

Future of Gas Called into Question at London Conference
The future of gas was called into question at a recent energy conference in London by Tara Schmidt, principal consultant at Environmental Resources Management.

The future of gas was called into question at a recent energy conference in London by Tara Schmidt, principal consultant at Environmental Resources Management.

In a panel discussion at London Business School’s 13th Global Energy Summit, focusing on the energy mix of the future in the wake of the Paris Agreement, EDF’s corporate policy and regulation director Angela Hepworth was optimistic about the role of gas contribution.

“You need a diverse balance mix of different types of generating capacity and you need that because different types of generating capacity have got different characteristics,” Hepworth said.

“Renewables…[are] great sources of renewable low carbon energy, but the problem is they’re intermittent. You can’t guarantee that they’ll be there when you need them…Gas capacity is not low carbon but it is very flexible. So gas is a really valuable contributor to the generation mix to provide the flexibility we need to balance the system,” she added.

Following Hepworth’s comments, Schmidt said the future of gas contribution could go one of two ways.

“The big question for gas is if we’re going to see that golden age of gas, as the IEA called it so many years ago, or if we’re actually going to see gas impacted as we’ve seen in some markets for renewables growth and also from energy storage as technology starts to advance,” stated Schmidt.

Earlier this month, an International Energy Agency report stated that technological improvements are required if gas is to serve as a long-term fuel.

The IEA states that gas-fired power generation in the 2DS (two degrees) plan will increase through the 2030s, and will rise rapidly in China and India from 2015 to 2040. This form of power is scheduled to gradually decline to 2050 though, unless technological advancements can be made.

These improvements include the application of CCS (carbon capture and storage), which reduces the carbon intensity of generation and would allow gas to remain a low-carbon choice relative to the increasingly stringent requirements of the 2DS well beyond 2040, the IEA said.

The Paris Agreement, reached at COP21 in December 2015, aims to limit global warming to ‘well below 2 degrees celsius’ by phasing out inefficient and emission-heavy fuel sources. The agreement became effective November 4, 2016.

A graduate in journalism from Cardiff University, Andreas has eight years of experience as a business journalist. Email Andreas at andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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