According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global demand for energy continues to increase as economies and populations expand. As a result of this, in order to strengthen their energy security, many countries have turned to the diversification of their energy mix.
However, the impact of the chosen energy sources on global emissions is also a key concern. Hence, over recent years, natural gas has slowly started to increase in popularity, growing its share of the energy mix. It has become a favoured fossil fuel choice over coal and oil due to its lower carbon emissions and higher fuel efficiency, but price still amounts to a key determining factor in regards to energy sources.
Laszlo Varro, Head of Gas, Coal & Power Division for the IEA commented: “In Europe, gas has been squeezed between cheap coal, rapid growth of renewables and overall macroeconomic weakness. It will take the rest of the decade to recover. However, both coal and nuclear, which today provide more than half of European electricity, face an uncertain future. Renewables alone will not be able to compensate for both, creating room for gas to recover and remain a major part of the energy mix for decades”.
Despite this, Varro said: “Renewables are booming in Asia, and several Asian countries have significant nuclear programs as well”.
Many argue that low emissions is not equivalent to no emissions and that renewables and nuclear could be more effective in reducing global emissions. Natural gas is usually used and transported in the form of LNG and Varro emphasises: “Properly managed upstream/LNG operations do deliver CO2 savings…[but it is] critically dependent on the methane leakage in the gas value chain”.
Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.
Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/02072014/gas_in_the_energy_mix_833/