10.02.2015

Natural gas can help reach climate protection targets

WINGAS at E-world 2015 with the motto “Efficient climate protection with natural gas. Energy that doesn’t cost the world.”

Essen/Kassel. Less is sometimes more: Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are supposed to fall by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels – that is the key objective of Germany’s policy on climate protection and the Energiewende, the country’s transition to renewable energies. “However, forecasts currently indicate that the present-day measures will not be enough to achieve this target. Emissions in 2020 will probably barely manage a drop of more than 33 percent compared to the reference year 1990. Furthermore, this figure conceals the fact that CO2 emissions reductions have made almost no progress since 2010 despite all the efforts being made in the name of the energy transition,” said Ludwig Möhring, Managing Director of WINGAS GmbH responsible for sales, at the launch of the leading European trade fair on the energy and water industry, “E-world energy and water 2015” in Essen. If policy-makers wish to take their climate objectives seriously, they will have to make up a shortfall of about seven percent in the next few years, he explained. “The natural gas sector is ready and willing to help policy-makers achieve their climate protection targets and bridge this gap,” Möhring signalized at the energy trade fair. Möhring is also deputy chair of the advisory board of the industry initiative “Zukunft Erdgas”. WINGAS itself is one of the biggest natural gas suppliers in Germany.

“Natural gas in particular offers a wide range of possibilities for taking climate protection forward with measures that also make good economic sense. Natural gas is the most environmentally friendly of the traditional energy sources and can thus help to cut back CO2 emissions efficiently and cost-effectively,” the WINGAS Managing Director said explaining the advantages of the fuel. Notably, there would be a great deal more emphasis on CO2 mitigation costs in future, Möhring continued. “With the annual costs of Germany’s energy transition running into billions, any future climate protection measures will only be accepted if further reductions in emissions remain affordable. So what we need is an energy supply that quite literally doesn’t cost the earth – neither ecologically nor financially.”

The German natural gas industry sees enormous potential to prevent CO2 emissions in electricity generation and in the transport sector, but especially the heating market. “Natural gas applications offer huge potential for the heating sector since around a third of the greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are attributable to heat generation,” the WINGAS Managing Director in charge of sales said. Hence, a central lever of effective climate protection could be found in the existing stock of 18 million apartment buildings. As Möhring explained: “The simplest and most cost-effective solution for reducing CO2 quickly is often the installation of new natural-gas-based condensing boiler technology, which often pays off in just a few years. “Natural gas also offers considerable potential in the transport sector, for natural gas vehicles generate an average of 24 percent fewer emissions compared to comparable gasoline engines. “Especially in heavy duty transport, natural gas offers the possibility of reducing emissions quickly and significantly more simply than with any technical consumption optimization measures,” Möhring explained. “In China they recognized the potential a long time ago, and the share of LNG in heavy duty transport has risen substantially there in recent years.”

Study on energy generation presented: natural gas emits 50 percent less CO2 per kilowatt hour than coal

The advantages of an environmentally friendly energy source such as natural gas also apply to the electricity market. WINGAS presented the study entitled “Greenhouse gas emissions values for various fossil fuels and power station scenarios in Germany” by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu) at the energy trade fair. For their study researchers examined the entire value creation chain of energy generation including extraction, transport and combustion of the natural resources. The study revealed that natural gas emits about 50 percent less CO2 per kilowatt hour (kWh) than coal or lignite.

Natural gas outperformed the other fuels particularly when it came to combustion in power stations: it emits just 502 grams of CO2 per kWh of electricity, compared to 987 grams for coal and 1,170 grams for lignite. For extraction, transport and additives, an additional 13 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour are generated with lignite, and with natural gas 70 grams – because of the transport distances – and 155 grams for coal. “However, what matters is that all factors are considered, and when that is done, CO2 emissions for natural gas, at 572 grams of CO2, are half that of coal, which emits at least 1,142 grams per kilowatt hour,” Möhring explained. Despite the fact that natural gas is somewhat neglected for electricity generation at the moment owing to the market conditions and developments in prices, the industry firmly believes that in the medium and long term natural gas offers advantages for electricity generation.

“The study is particularly relevant against the backdrop of the German federal government’s “Action Program on Climate Protection”, which triggered a debate on how to make further reductions to CO2 in the electricity sector,” the WINGAS Managing Director explained. “The goal is to save an additional 22 million tons of CO2 a year – hence, the debate now required on how to make these CO2 savings in an economically efficient way cannot ignore the facts in the study.” A modern electricity supply geared towards sustainability should therefore be based on the low-carbon combination of natural gas and renewable energies, Möhring said. “This also applies to the amendment of the CHP law planned for 2015, which, in light of the goal to ensure supply security with a decentral electricity supply, must continue to have a strong focus not just on large CHP systems, but also medium-sized and small systems.”

WINGAS at E-world 2015: www.wingas.com/en

Your contact

Königstor 20
34117 Kassel
Phone: +49 (0) 561 99858-0
E-mail: presse[at]wingas.de

Your contact

Königstor 20
34117 Kassel
Phone: +49 (0) 561 99858-0
E-mail: presse[at]wingas.de