EUGINE Event at PowerGenEurope, 13 Nov 2019
On 13 November EUGINE organised a conference at PowerGen in Paris, gathering engine experts, grid operators, EU decision-makers and interested stakeholders, all willing to discuss trends for both our technology and EU energy & climate policies.
Showcasing 2030 trends for engine power plants applications
Presenting the new trends of a quickly further developing industry was the objective of the first part of the EUGINE conference. The speakers, all of them EUGINE members, gave a very good overview of emerging technological solutions, from Tord Johnsson, Wärtsilä, talking about hybrid plants for islands, Michael Wagner, Rolls-Royce Power Systems, on micro-grids, Bjarne Bagner, EC Power, on micro-CHPs using green gas certificates to Norbert Hetebrüg, INNIO, speaking about gas engines running with high hydrogen content.
The view of EU decision-makers on tomorrow’s energy system
The second part of the conference was entitled “on the way to a climate-neutral future” and focused on the contribution of natural gas and how to develop green gases.
Maria Spyraki, Greek MEP, highlighted the advantages of gas power plants in terms of efficiency, flexibility and compatibility with renewable gases. In view of their specific features, she considered that such plants should further get financial support from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and be included in the EU’s taxonomy of sustainable economic activities.
Next speaker, Nicolas Kuen, representative of the European Commission’s DG energy, underlined that electrification is important, but not sufficient. He explained that Europe needs gas power plants for cost-efficiency reasons. The EU official confirmed that the European Commission sees a big potential in both sector integration & sector coupling and it is intensively working on it, in order to publish a dedicated legislative package in 2021 to be named “smart sector integration”.
Towards 100% green gas in Europe’s gas pipelines
As explained by Jean-Marie Gauthey, from the French gas distribution company GRDF, things are moving quickly in Europe: gas grid operators are intensively working on injecting growing amounts of green gases in their pipelines. As far as France is concerned, the legal target is 10% green gas by 2030 and gas operators aim at 100% green gas by 2050. Though this is an ambitious objective, they regard it as realistic.
Carmen Gimeno, Secretary General of the European association Geode, then provided the complementary view of Europe’s local energy distributors, underlining the fact that the gas grid and gas power plants belong to the same energy system and provide together the flexibility which an energy system based on wind & solar will require more and more in the future.
Panel discussion: gas as a prerequisite for a climate-neutral Europe
In the following panel all participants could agree on the absolute necessity of reaping the benefits of natural gas on the short term and green gases on the longer term, though each of them highlighted different aspects of the discussion. While Jean-Marie Gauthey promoted biogas and biomethane as a source of additional revenues for farmers, EUGINE President Hermann Kröger talked about gas engine’s fuel flexibility and EUGINE Vice-President Kari Hietanen explained the complementarity of gas engines and batteries in terms of flexibility.
The final word went to Nicolas Kuen who invited all participants to increase the pace of the decarbonisation process and to Ralf Wezel who recalled the importance of the European Commission’s upcoming legislative initiative on sector coupling and the decarbonisation of gas.