Rebooting the economy with natural gas

Rebooting the economy with natural gas
Rebooting the economy with natural gas
Wintershall Dea/Thomas Rosenthal
  • Natural gas can revive the economy and the energy transition while protecting the climate
  • Gas coalition publishes new position paper on the role of gas post-crisis
  • Wintershall Dea welcomes investments in hydrogen as part of the economic recovery package

A so-called fuel switch has taken place in the German electricity sector in spring 2020: while the share of gas and renewable energies in the electricity mix rose to 70 percent by April, the proportion of coal fell to 12 percent according to figures from the BDEW, the German Association of Energy and Water Industries. In the middle of June, natural gas amongst all energy carriers even was responsible for the largest part of electricity generation in Germany with 1.39 tWh.

Wintershall Dea firmly believes that the role of natural gas will be even more important following the lockdown of the economy due to coronavirus: “Natural gas can make a vital contribution to economic recovery in Germany and Europe – without compromising climate protection targets,” explained Thilo Wieland, Member of the Executive Board of Wintershall Dea, at the publication of a new position paper by the gas coalition. In the paper, this informal alliance of gas industry companies underlines the important contribution this form of energy can make to the planned economic revival.

"Natural gas is clean and affordable energy that is reliably available. With natural gas, industrial and energy-intensive production can be successfully restarted in Germany as well as the energy transition achieved. Natural gas and climate protection belong together." In the recent months various new gas projects have already been created and local fuel switches from coal to natural gas have taken place – also for reasons of cost-efficiency. Evonik is building a new gas power plant in Marl, for instance. "Yet, in view of the growing gap in energy supply that is expected to result from the phasing out of nuclear power and coal, we need even more projects," Wieland said.

However, legislators need to improve the investment conditions for flexible gas power stations in order for natural gas to unleash its full potential: “Gas power stations provide an affordable and reliable supply of electricity in Germany. To preserve this advantage, we need CHP legislation (combined heat and power) with a long-term focus,” Wieland continued. "Natural gas and renewables complement each other well. They make a great tandem."

In future, natural gas in the form of hydrogen can play a major role in the energy mix in all sectors, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. That applies particularly to the regions where renewable electricity is not directly available or where its usage involves major technical and economic challenges. Wintershall Dea hence welcomes the fact that the German federal government’s economic stimulus package includes funds to develop the hydrogen industry.

The German federal government’s National Hydrogen Strategy also marks an important step in the right direction. At the same time Wintershall Dea advocates adopting a technology-neutral approach which enables and promotes the use of decarbonised hydrogen from natural gas alongside renewable hydrogen. Thanks to its significant price and volume advantages, decarbonised hydrogen from natural gas can make up for shortfalls in renewables capacities and accelerate the much-needed development and growth of the hydrogen market.

Note to editors: For more information on how natural gas can contribute to the economic recovery, please refer to the position paper of the gas coalition, which Wintershall Dea has published together with its partners from the industry. The paper “Emerging from the crisis with a powerful and sustainable energy transition and climate protection” is available here.

About Wintershall Dea
Wintershall Dea is Europe’s leading independent natural gas and oil company with more than 120 years of experience as an operator and project partner along the entire E&P value chain. The company with German roots and headquarters in Kassel and Hamburg explores for and produces gas and oil in 13 countries worldwide in an efficient and responsible manner. With activities in Europe, Russia, Latin America and the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa), Wintershall Dea has a global upstream portfolio and, with its participation in natural gas transport, is also active in the midstream business.

Wintershall Dea was formed from the merger of Wintershall Holding GmbH and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG, in 2019. Today, the company employs around 2,800 people worldwide from over 60 nations.

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