European Gas TSOs 'Hold Key to Green Energy': GIE
Gas infrastructure will be needed to transport molecules to meet energy demand when the wind is insufficient, said Europe's gas transmission group Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) November 19.
GIE also said the cost and flexibility of the energy system needed to deliver Europe's goal of a net-zero carbon world by 2050 would be important: converting power to molecules in form of hydrogen through electrolysis helps balance electricity demand and supply.
"The retrofitted and repurposed gas infrastructure will take over hydrogen and will bring it where it is needed. This avoids overinvestments in electricity cables; and it not only it helps making the best use of renewable offshore generation, but also accelerates it," it said.
GIE was commenting on a report November 19 by the European Commission (EC) warning that Europe needs 25 times more offshore wind by 2050 to achieve its net zero carbon objective. The EC has been more openly supportive of green hydrogen than blue, which is a by-product of steam methane reformation that uses natural gas as feedstock.
"To make the best out of this green energy, the right infrastructure will need to be in place. The gas infrastructure will play its part in transporting large volumes of renewable hydrogen and ensure seasonal storage of hydrogen for the times when wind is not blowing," GIE said.
Pipelines can transport hydrogen over long distances across Europe at least cost and Europe can strengthen its global leadership in hydrogen by combining hydrogen storage capacities and renewable energy available in Europe. Import terminals can connect Europe to global hydrogen markets and will enable hydrogen and hydrogen carriers shipment within Europe, GIE said.
“We need co-ordination in the energy sector and amongst infrastructure operators handling different energy carriers. In general, looking at the European Commission’s ambition of 230-450 GW offshore before 2050, Power-to-X and hydrogen infrastructure will be a prerequisite for an optimized utilization of the resources. The uncertainty in terms of future supply and demand of hydrogen, adds a premium financial risk, which can be mitigated through right policy measures at the EU and national level,” GIE added.