Abstract: Gas is considered an important part of the European Union’s (EU) energy mix. Making up a quarter of the energy consumed in the EU, it is widely used by both households and industry. Gas supports the penetration of intermittent renewable electricity and is considered the cleanest of the fossil fuels but its combustion emits a considerable amount of greenhouse gases. In the fight against climate change, the EU has committed itself to the near-complete decarbonisation of the energy sector well before 2050. This will have a significant impact on the gas sector, especially in the EU, which has significant gas transportation and storage assets. This commentary examines two potential pathways that could enable the gas sector to contribute to the EU’s decarbonisation efforts while continuing to play a substantial role in the EU’s energy supply. The pathways include gas and electricity sector coupling and the substantial increase of renewable gas production. Those options, which are not mutually exclusive, provide an opportunity for the gas sector to thrive in a decarbonised energy future. In some cases, it could require changes in the EU’s gas legislation announced by the European Commission to be proposed in 2020.
Keywords: carbon capture use and storage; decarbonisation; energy; energy supply; European Union; gas; power-to-gas; renewable gas; sector coupling