How and to which extent can the gas sector contribute to a climate-neutral European energy system? A qualitative approach.
Version 3 : Received: 10 March 2019 / Approved: 11 March 2019 / Online: 11 March 2019 (10:57:33 CET)
Version 4 : Received: 19 March 2019 / Approved: 19 March 2019 / Online: 19 March 2019 (10:30:53 CET)
How to cite: Lebelhuber, C.; Steinmüller, H. How and to which extent can the gas sector contribute to a climate-neutral European energy system? A qualitative approach.. Preprints 2018, 2018100533 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201810.0533.v3). Lebelhuber, C.; Steinmüller, H. How and to which extent can the gas sector contribute to a climate-neutral European energy system? A qualitative approach.. Preprints 2018, 2018100533 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201810.0533.v3).
Methods: We take a two-step approach: We begin with a review of studies from energy industry and academia to discuss potential gas sector contributions from a holistic energy system design point of view; this is followed by a comprehensive discussion of technical potentials, micro-economic conditions and societal implications of renewable gas. We then enrich our findings with the results of an empirical focus group process.
Results: The gas sector may not only contribute to balancing volatile renewable energy production but also enable the supply of renewable energy to end-users in gaseous form; based on existing infrastructure. This could reduce costs for society, increase public acceptance and ultimately speed up the energy system transformation. There is the technical potential to substitute major parts of natural gas with renewable gas of biogenic and synthetic nature. While this will require public support, we observe this requirement in a comparable magnitude also for renewable electricity.
Conclusion: Given the societal benefits and the competitiveness of renewable gas as compared to renewable alternatives, energy policymakers should incorporate renewable gas and the existing gas infrastructure in the overall energy system framework. The objective should be an optimized interplay of various energy vectors and its infrastructure along the entire energy supply chain. This requires a level playing field for different renewable technologies throughout different policy areas and a form of public support that strikes the balance between facilitating the gradual substitution of natural gas by renewable gas while maintaining public acceptance for this transformation despite realistically higher costs for end-users.
Copyright: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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