energy transition

What are the challenges for gas in the energy transition?

The European Conference on Energy Transition will take place in Geneva on 30, 31 January and 1 January February 2018. To address this important meeting, Green Cross France et Territoires proposes here a forum by Nicolas Imbert, Executive Director of Green Cross France et Territoires, on the theme "Solidarity between energies: Between optimization of renewables, storage, distribution and mobility, how can gas accelerate the energy transition in the territory? ».
Ahe energy transition is a matter for the territories, and for those who live them on a daily basis. Dogmas, ideas, trends are more than ever confronted with the reality, the reality of infrastructures and potentials, specific to each territory.
It is also about the skills and know-how, the human, economic and financial mobilization capacities of the territory's actors, and their ability to come together to serve the needs of everyday life. We are talking about living, eating and moving, but also about providing the industrial and economic tools that ensure the influence of the territories.
A successful territorial transition requires several assets: on the one hand resilience, on the other hand versatility to meet the long-term energy needs of the population despite a poorly understood and probably diversified energy future, and finally accessibility which will facilitate the implementation now of the necessary tools with the technologies available today in order to prepare a tomorrow not yet fully defined with what can be done now.
"Gas is a strategic ally that is as useful as it is discreet in the territories' energy transition. »
To do so, gas is a strategic ally that is as useful as it is discreet in the territories' energy transition: it enables cleaner mobility, including by upgrading the existing fleet of cars, ships and waterways; the existing network is efficient, agile and sustainable; it enables energy to be stored; and its combustion is clean. It is an efficient means of storing, producing heat, cold and electricity. It accelerates the concrete implementation of the circular economy, whether in urban or rural areas, on islands or isolated territories such as in megacities.
However, this vector for transporting energy is still too little known, even though it is widely operational throughout the world, and can incorporate many sources of gas, moving gradually from fossil gas to renewable gas.
How can we programmatically make gas an accelerator of the energy transition in the territories? This is the question that the members of the Green Cross think-and-do tank "energy, sustainable city and circular economy" asked themselves, in order to reconcile the visions of energy transition experts, community representatives, consumers and users in the territories, basing themselves in particular on examples that work either close to home or further afield, and looking for inspiration in existing solutions, both in the North and in the South.
They have thus identified four development priorities for maximum impact: mobility, buildings and industrial infrastructure, biomass, food and waste, and the ecological transition of the economy. With regard to mobility, it is a question of supplementing the existing development of electric power for private vehicles with a transfer to gas of existing fleets for the transport of goods, as well as buses, which can be gas or hybrid gas engines depending on the circumstances, but also of developing the transfer from oil to gas of passenger and goods transport vessels in a forcible manner.
The transition for buildings and industrial infrastructure is mainly a matter of thermal regulations and fiscal policies, but also involves the implementation of industrial Power-to-Gas demonstrators that allow the energy produced by renewables in excess of the necessary consumption to be stored, circulated in the gas grid and made available later.
It is also a formidable lever for integrating pilot initiatives related to industrial CO2 capture, the hydrogen economy and algoculture into an operational system. The transition for biomass, food and waste will enable the pooling and production of gas from biomass while respecting ecosystems, via 2nd and 3rd generation operational demonstrators, but also, where relevant, industrial pyrogasification demonstrators, including those based on CSR when all other recovery options have been undertaken.
All of this is possible now, but only becomes fully economically relevant if the economic framework limits subsidies to fuels and agrofuels with negative externalities, and if the climate-energy contribution base includes electricity and oil on the same level as other energies, and is accompanied by a carbon tax that is capable of transforming behaviour and encouraging energy efficiency.
It is therefore in particular these various points that will be presented at the European Energy Conference, with a view to enriching and sharing through a debate and the proposal of a precise note, a working version of which is available here.
Nicolas ImbertExecutive Director of Green Cross France and Territories


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