Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean



Natural gas – An ally in energy transition


Abdelmadjid Attar, vice-president of the AIG. Photo FDubessy
Abdelmadjid Attar, vice-president of the AIG. Photo FDubessy
"With gas, our energy transition will be a success. Without it, we will fail !" warns Abdelmajid Attar, vice-president of the Algerian Gas Industry Association (AIG). Natural gas, which featured at the 4th international conference organized by the MEDENER, does have a case. According to Attar, "Energy transition will be a boon for natural gas and renewable energies will demonstrate its worth. Natural gas will be the renewable energies' greatest ally in the years to come." It seems clear that the Mediterranean region will not be swapping hydrocarbon-based fuels for wind turbines and solar panels overnight. "Energy transition cannot be carried out in one go. We will do it in stages," underlines Dario Chello, head of the ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) office in Brussels.

Of course, in energy transition, there is the word 'transition'. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) has taken this into account by creating three hubs, including one for gas (see box).

The cleanest of non-renewable energy sources

Dario Chello, head of the ENEA office in Brussels. Photo FD
Dario Chello, head of the ENEA office in Brussels. Photo FD
In 2015 already, investment in renewable energies outstripped that in fossil fuels ($329bn against $321bn). "This trend will continue," assures the AIG vice-president. "Consumption of fuel oil will rise, but fossil fuels' share will stabilize due to the increasing use of renewable energies and, above all, energy saving schemes," he adds. By 2035, gas + oil + coal will each only represent 25% of primary energy production.

"Natural gas is the cleanest of the non-renewable energy sources," insists Abdelmajid Attar. "Gas can compete alongside renewable energies or be used to assist gradual energy transition over a period of several decades. We will not suddenly switch from 80% fossil fuels to a new nuclear or renewable energy model." For Abel Enriquez, EU regulatory affairs manager at ENAGAS (Spain), "Gas is a useful addition to both wind and solar energies, especially when compensating for a lack of wind or sun."

Moreover, gas pipelines can also be used to transport biogas. "A 48'' pipeline can carry as much energy as eight high-voltage power lines at less cost and with less visual impact on the environment," points out Enriquez.

Special issue : Medener-energy transition with ADEME

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Tuesday, July 19th 2016

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