Last week, Germany’s largest pipeline operator Open Grid Europe hosted a debate about the Climate Action Plan 2050 and interlinking of sectors at the 3rd Energy Policy Dialogue in Essen. Some 130 decision-makers from the worlds of politics, commerce and society took part in the debate about the energy transition, the interlinking of sectors and the role of gas and gas infrastructure.
Germany is currently at a crossroads. A massive expansion of the grid infrastructure and spiraling costs undermine the acceptance of the energy transition. The already well-developed gas infrastructure consisting of pipeline networks and storage facilities is already capable of accommodating electricity produced from renewables in the form of hydrogen or synthetic methane (“power-to-gas”) and can transport this energy to the consumers or even store it, if needed, over long periods. This combined usage of the electricity and gas networks eases the load on the electricity grids, thus cutting the costs of network expansion and increasing the acceptance of the energy transition.
“What we need is an intelligent way of interlinking different sectors. And that’s only achievable with gas and gas infrastructure. Rather than driving up energy bills with expensive and lengthy electricity grid expansion projects, we should use what’s already there: the gas grid,” demanded Stephan Kamphues, Chairman of the Board of Management of Open Grid Europe. “Our aim must be to make green energy more affordable in the long run. And we can only achieve that by being open towards other technologies and promoting competition between different climate protection options,” he continued. Technologies such as power-to-gas, which can already help to significantly reduce the CO2 emissions of all sectors from industry to transport through green gas, should play a central role here.