The electricity and gas network must be seen and developed as a system, WINGAS Chairman Gerhard König said ahead of the energy summit in Berlin. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting together with the state premiers on 23 May (Wednesday) to discuss the required network expansion. “Instead of focusing all our attention on electricity, we should be asking ourselves which energy carrier is best suited to which application. Energy is not just electricity, but also heating and mobility,” König said in Berlin. Natural gas would have to play a central role in the required overall concept, he said. The WINGAS chairman also warned against losing sight of the goal to reduce CO2 emissions. “The energy turnaround is not focused on one particular technology, but a goal: namely to reduce CO2 emissions.” In this endeavor, it is important to take the path that leads to this goal as efficiently and cost-efficiently as possible, he explained, and gas would play a central role here.
“It is natural gas that makes the energy turnaround socially acceptable,” König firmly believes. In the heating market, for example, natural gas offers not just the most environmentally friendly and most efficient solution, especially when combined with solar thermal power, but also the most economical. And natural gas mobility is already reality and the most eco-efficient way of getting from A to B, he said. “But natural gas not only paves the way to the renewables era, it also guarantees supply security,” König says. After all, surplus green electricity can be converted into gas and then be used to generate heat, converted back into electricity or as a fuel. “Investments in gas infrastructure are therefore flexible enough for the needs of the future – and they are necessary if we want supply security.”
The cold days this winter made it clear that the natural gas network also has to be expanded. In Austria near Salzburg, for example, the WINGAS Group has built a new natural gas storage facility with its partners and connected it to the German grid with its own pipeline. “But there are not enough transport capacities on the German side as a result of the worsening investment conditions. Otherwise we could have brought more natural gas over the border to Bavaria,” König explained.