Bridging the Gap: Can Natural Gas Help Us Cross Over to Renewables?

Bridging the Gap: Can Natural Gas Help Us Cross Over to Renewables?

For many years, natural gas has been heavily promoted as a useful bridge to renewable energy instead of coal. The idea is that natural gas can replace “dirtier” petroleum products like coal and, in certain situations, oil, as solar power plants and turbines for wind energy are constructed.

Since natural gas possesses a smaller carbon footprint than coal yet calls for similar centralized infrastructure and can be built in a short period of time, it has been widely marketed as a transition fuel for nations that rely on coal for their electricity needs. Gas was listed as a link for cleaner energy in the European Commission’s environmentally friendly investment handbook previously, which infuriated environmental activists prior to the Russian attack on Ukraine.

General Overview

For nations ranging from Ghana, Senegal, and Mozambique to Algeria and Egypt, natural gas is an abundant and priceless asset. In order to accelerate the energy transition, an amalgamation of renewable energy sources along with less polluting fuels, like natural gas, is crucial, based on a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. African society has historically relied on biomass, coal, and oil.

In a previous publication this past year, the G20 noted that natural gas provides endurance and supply security in the midst of unfavorable weather and uncertain markets, accounting for a significant portion of seasonal energy demand in many countries. Together with this immediate function, the group proposed that natural gas could align with a net-zero route in the years to come through a broad implementation of CCUS technology and hydrogen production.

Consequently, considering the scope and pressure of the decarbonization obstacle, expanding up CCUS will be essential for both energy production and heating. It is not probable that natural gas will be eliminated anytime soon, but it will still be utilized to generate hydrogen and speed up the deployment of CCUS until hydrogen generated from nuclear or renewable energy sources can be used profitably as a fuel for heating.

It additionally reflects an opportunity for swift triumph for lowering emissions, given the length of time it takes to carry out enhancements to energy efficiency and ramp up new renewables. If the corresponding costs and laws support the potential, moving from coal to currently operating gas-fired plants could reduce CO2 emissions in the power industry by up to 1.2 gigatonnes. By doing this, CO2 emissions from the energy sector would be reduced globally by 10% and overall by 4%; an opportunity not to be missed.

Renewable Energy Cross-Over

By leveraging their unique qualities, natural gas and renewable energy sources can form a successful alliance. Now let’s examine the advantages of integrating these two power resources.

With that, high levels of efficiency enable natural gas power plants to react swiftly to changes in the demand for electricity. In order to balance the sporadic nature of alternative power sources, they may rapidly increase up or down their output. When renewable energy sources lack the capacity to produce electricity, natural gas’s adaptability guarantees a steady supply of power, stabilizing the grid and offering dependability.

Natural gas produces a lot less greenhouse gas than coal and oil, even though it is still a fossil fuel. We can drastically cut carbon emissions in the power industry by combining natural gas with renewable energy sources.

Additionally, Natural gas is a plentiful and reasonably priced energy source. Because of this cost effectiveness as well as the declining costs of renewable energy sources like solar and wind, investors and consumers have a greater number of choices. The combination of the two energy sources can provide financial benefits that will quicken the world’s shift to renewable energy sources.

Moreover, the variability in renewable energy sources’ generation patterns may pose challenges to the grid’s dependability. Natural gas power plants and renewable energy sources can be combined to ensure a stable and dependable electrical grid. Natural gas plants provide a backup option in the event that renewable energy sources are unable to provide all of the required power. This reduces the likelihood of disruptions and enables efficient power conveyance to clients.

Thus, a poor bridge would result from a protracted or sluggish move away from other fossil fuels and from high gas infrastructure expenditure. With advantages for the environment and air quality, natural gas has already supplanted coal as the preferred fuel for the generation of electricity in numerous nations. In an increasing number of places, renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and other renewable technologies are becoming even more cost-effective alternatives to gas. Since gas boilers can be turned on immediately, whereas coal-fired power plants take a long time to get started, gas has an important role in the energy transition as a reserve to renewable-based power systems.

 

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