In order to ensure that natural gas plays a decisive role in Germany’s future energy architecture, WINGAS is going on the offensive. In a letter written to the new Federal Environment Minister, Peter Altmaier, prior to the Energy Summit at the German Chancellery, WINGAS Chairman Gerhard König urgently warns against reducing the energy debate to the issue of electricity. According to König, natural gas must play a pivotal role in the Energy Concept, otherwise the energy turnaround is in danger of failing. At the same time, a nationwide letter writing campaign has also been launched, which is addressed at German politicians. “We need to demonstrate the future viability of gas today," says König in explaining the campaign.
WINGAS is sending a further developed WINGAS position paper, which is entitled ‘Natural gas is the trailblazer, gas is the future’, to policy makers from national and regional politics. With this position paper, WINGAS is demanding a reliable and affordable energy supply – including after the energy turnaround, and highlights the need to invest in the gas infrastructure. "The investments that we are making in gas storage reservoirs as well as in transport and distribution networks are correct and necessary – irrespective whether and to the extent that renewably generated gas replaces natural gas. Investments in the gas infrastructure enable future flexibility," it states in the paper.
The renewable energy age is still very much reliant on natural gas as a partner technology for the foreseeable future. "This is because the wind and the sun generate fluctuating amounts of energy. To ensure that blackouts do not occur on route to a green future, the renewables need a partner that can balance out these fluctuations both flexibly and decentrally. Modern gas-fired power plants show maximum energy efficiencies. Furthermore, in contrast to traditional nuclear and coal-fired power plants providing base loads, gas-fired power plants can be controlled decentrally and flexibly," argues WINGAS: "In short, gas is the ideal backup system on route to a green future."
With its new position paper, WINGAS also points out that gas networks can relieve the electricity networks as transport routes. "With its gas grid, Germany has an existing and accepted infrastructure for distributing energy regionally and on the spot. Gas and electricity networks must be considered as a single system," it states. The paper also offers an additional solution: the electricity grid is itself unable to store surplus energy and can only absorb as much electricity as is used at any one time by consumers. This is where gas provides another decisive advantage, since the gas network can store energy.