Gas Package needs to support the decarbonisation of power plants

04 June 2022

The European power plant industry, represented by EUTurbines and EUGINE, supports the full and quick decarbonisation of Europe’s gas infrastructure and the uptake of the hydrogen economy as intended by the gas market package.

The texts presented by the European Commission focus on the supply and network aspects, but unfortunately neglect the needs of major end-user segments.

In 2021, the European gas power plant industry presented its “H2-Ready” concept, aimed at making the technology ready for hydrogen and other low-carbon gases. Now, those technical efforts need to be followed by the provision of renewable and low carbon gases, including biogas, biomethane and hydrogen. The decarbonisation of the power sector will only be successful when gas power plants are included in the plans too.

Supporting the power plant sector in meeting the EU expectations regarding a climate-neutral and reliable electricity and heat supply requires the following improvements in the gas package:

  • Inclusion of an explicit, ambitious gas decarbonisation target

An EU-wide binding GHG emission reduction target for gas would send a clear signal and support the fast and bold decarbonisation of gas markets and provide predictability to investors.

  • Recognition of the role of hydrogen in ensuring long-term electricity system flexibility

Large-scale hydrogen storage and re-electrification in power plants are the only available climate-neutral solution providing long-term flexibility for the electricity system. This must be recognised as an essential application for hydrogen.

  • Access rights to hydrogen infrastructure for all relevant end-users

Power plant operators are already making their plants hydrogen ready, but the plants’ access to hydrogen is not ensured. The third-party access right, as proposed, neglects the needs of end-users that are under pressure to decarbonise.

  • Recognition of the key role of distribution grids

In a more decentral energy system, gas distribution grids have an important role to play. The access to climate-neutral gases needs to be ensured for the many decentral power and cogeneration plants.

  • Recognition of hydrogen blending as an interim step for a fast decarbonisation

Hydrogen blending as an interim step supports the achievement of the EU climate targets in networks where fully decarbonised gas or hydrogen is not yet available.

  • Improved Integrated Network Planning

The connection points between networks, where energy is exchanged between different energy carriers, must be integrated. Especially the needs of existing power plants, connecting gas, hydrogen, electricity and heat grids, should be included.

  • Regular information about the Hydrogen-Readiness of networks and large end-users

The possibility to inject hydrogen or repurpose a grid to hydrogen operation depends on the capacity of its users to operate with hydrogen. At the same time, the hydrogen-readiness of the network will determine investments in end-use equipment. Regular information provision binds together network operators and users working towards decarbonisation.  

  • Enable consumers to choose electricity produced from renewable and low-carbon gases

Consumers shall be enabled to knowingly choose electricity generated from gas power plants using renewable and low-carbon gases. “Renewable energy” should also be identified with power from gas plants using renewable gases.

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