The share of gas in the global energy mix is projected to rise to 26% of total primary energy demand in 2040; an estimate by the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) has shown.
“As a result of environmental concerns and policy shifts toward low-carbon energy sources, natural gas is expected to not only become the world’s fastest-growing fossil fuel, but also fastest-growing source of energy, after renewables,” said GECF secretary general Dr Yury Sentyurin.
“We believe that fossil fuels will remain an integral part of the global energy mix in the foreseeable future,” Sentyurin said in an interview with Gulf Times.
However, in order to realise some of the global agendas, particularly the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and pertaining to sustainable energy transition and meeting emission targets, a fundamental shift in the energy structure towards fuels that are reliable and with “less or no emissions” is necessary.
The “credentials of natural gas, being abundant, affordable, clean and environmentally-friendly, versatile and flexible,” make it a key fuel for sustainable energy transition ahead of other fuels, including the much talk about renewables, he noted.
Sentyurin said, “No doubt, renewable energy sources are growing, but their share in the energy mix is meager and could remain so even in the future. Furthermore, the fact that the key sources of renewable energy, solar and wind, are intermittent by nature, relying on sun shining and wind blowing respectively, means that they need complementary source of energy to fast track their uptake."
In this context, he said, the “flexibility and cleanliness of natural gas makes it a practical fuel” suited to complement the use of solar-based and wind renewable energy sources.
Therefore, the role of natural gas in meeting energy needs, as part of Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), is indispensable and it will remain an integral part of energy mix in the foreseeable future.
However, for natural gas to play a crucial role in achieving the SDGs is the need to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership, the GECF secretary general said.
“Considering the fact that, the assertive development of renewable energies supported by subsidies and privileged regimes in power supply, has negatively affected natural gas in power generation, we think, the robust partnership between renewables and natural gas is essential for the transition to a low carbon future,” Sentyurin said.
Gas can improve the flexibility of energy systems, which is increasingly required by renewables as gas supply chain offers further flexibility through gas storage, LNG, or also through the operational flexibility of gas pipelines.
Moreover, despite the progress of renewable energies, there are limits to the deployment of intermittent renewables. The security of power supplies, the stability of power systems, and the affordability of electricity prices can be strongly affected, especially if no viable and cost-efficient renewable integration options are implemented, Sentyurin added.
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