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Synergies between Gas and Renewable Energy


Carbon neutrality through synergies between gas and renewable energy
ECE Energy Series No. 70


The publication describes several trends, projections and scenarios that define the rapid growth of Electric Variable Renewable Energies (VRE). The trends are illustrated with four case studies (Italy, Germany, Spain, and the United States of America) of how natural gas could accelerate deployment of VRE. The publication ends with some 20 recommendations to ECE member States, energy industry, and other stakeholders on how to harness synergies between VRE and gas.

The text is developed in the context of the United Nations 2030 agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, namely SDG 7 that covers affordable and clean energy. Two of its targets are relevant for this research:

Target 7.2. - Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

Target 7.A. - …Facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology…

The publication explores the interplay between these two targets. It argues that a deep and genuine transformation of today’s energy system could be greatly facilitated by harnessing synergies between the traditional and emerging energy sectors – in this case natural gas and renewable energy. These synergies could be stated as:

a. The natural gas and natural gas infrastructure could accelerate the deployment of variable renewable energy (VRE) sources.

b. In a near future the new gases (renewable, low carbon and decarbonized gases) should become an important energy vector together with VRE.

The Committee on Sustainable Energy has requested the Group of Experts on Gas and the Group of Experts on Renewable Energy to support ECE member States in firstly assessing the synergies between renewable energy and gas. This work was done in response to the Committee’s request and is part of a multi-year activity in this area.