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Bring grid on: GD4S promotes gas networks as a vehicle to a greener tomorrow

Tuesday, 08 June 2021

The Gas Distributors for Sustainability (GD4S) have released a white paper titled 'Gas grids: a key enabler of decarbonisation', recognising the key role which green gases (including biomethane) have in delivering European carbon neutrality and the role that grid infrastructure has in this context.

The paper represents a coordinated response from GD4S, a consortium of Distribution System Operators (DSOs) in France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Romania and Greece, and details the actions currently taken for sustainability as well as affirming 'commitment to delivery on carbon neutrality by 2050'.

The white paper is 40 pages, and is divided into four sections.

Section 1 - contains details on how to leverage the potential of renewable gases for climate neutrality. In particular the phase-out of fossil fuels in lieu of sustainable gases such as biomethane, renewable hydrogen and synthetic methane. The existing gas infrastructure can convey these new energy carriers, and with this confer their advantages.

Importantly, this section recognises the benefits of Anaerobic Digestion and associated biogas/biomethane, with the potential to result in a negative carbon footprint.

Section 2 - covers gas grids as an asset for decarbonisation and sector integration, particularly in the context of gas-electricity coupling. Neutrality to technology is promoted, with all options treated on an equal basis evaluated in terms of decarbonisation potential and costs.

Any integrated solution is expected to maximise utilisation of the current distribution grid, delivering decarbonised energy at low cost and disruption to consumers. Digitalisation of the grids is also promoted to optimise the usage of the gases and improve efficiency.

Section 3 - discusses the GD4S consortium commitment to decarbonisation via reduction in methane emissions. Ameliorating measures include improving data quality, digitalising, enhanced leak detection and increased uptake of renewable gases are also mentioned, along with policy and regulatory measures required to affect this.

Finally, Section 4 summarises key policy recommendations stemming from the areas covered in Sections 1-3. 

Links to the complete paper, as well as an executive summary are available here.