Looking out to 2022 Usually, the EU bubble winter holiday season used to be relatively calm – but not this year. With the publication of the gas package a few days before Christmas and the taxonomy draft delegated act a few hours before New Year, for many of us, this year’s holidays were neither as long nor as restful as expected.
Both proposals touch essential topics and point in the right direction – but need improvement. Gas power generation and cogeneration will need to switch to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible. This requires big efforts on the supply-side and of course suitable power plants.
Gas engines since long can run on biogas and, with our hydrogen-readiness concept, we have shown that engine power plants are ready for the operation with hydrogen. The big bottleneck is now the availability of sufficient renewable gas – something that needs to be better addressed in the context of the gas decarbonization package. The year 2022 has started with a bang – let’s hope that it will not turn out to be a lot of hot air.
Gas Decarbonisation Package – a (modest) move in the right direction
The gas sector is an essential piece of a truly integrated energy system, and it needs to be decarbonised as soon as possible. The revision of the EU gas market rules, proposed by the European Commission in December 2021, is therefore an important milestone. We do still however wonder whether the proposal will be ambitious enough to quickly satisfy the urgent need for clean gases – also in the energy sector. What is missing are, especially, universal gas decarbonisation targets. You will find our first reaction to the package in the joint press release we published together with EUTurbines and also on our Twitter account.
Taxonomy stops short of recognising importance of system reliability services
The European Commission had promised a draft proposal for a taxonomy delegated act for nuclear and gas before the end of 2021, and it delivered – the proposal apparently landed in Member States’ inboxes only some hours before midnight on the 31st of December.
With this proposal, the taxonomy would finally recognise the important role of gas power generation in the transition to a climate-neutral energy system, and this is good news. The bad news is that this recognition still stops at the coal-to-gas switch, without recognizing the system reliability role that gas power plants provide. In addition, the renewable gas “co-firing” requirements in the draft are totally disconnected with the proposals in the gas package – the energy sector would already in 2026 require more renewable hydrogen than foreseen in the package. Read our detailed assessment and our Twitter thread.
State aid rules should recognise the capability of gas technology to run on renewable gas
At the end of last year, the European Commission published its new Guidelines on State aid for Climate, Environmental protection and Energy” (CEEAG). While we were pleased to see that the CEEAG recognizes the role of natural gas in the path to more renewables, we would also have liked to see a more explicit recognition of the fuel flexibility of gas-fired technology (ie hydrogen-readiness). This was also one of our asks in the input we delivered to the targeted review of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).
H2 Ready… When you are!
Our “H2-Ready… When you are!” online event, jointly organised with EUTurbines, that took place on the 16th of November was a great success. If you missed it, you can rewatch it here. If you do not have the full 2 hours, you can get a short summary of it on our webpage and on Twitter.
Did you know... …that you can, already today, buy an engine running on hydrogen?
If you still think that the hydrogen economy is a pipedream, our members will prove you wrong. As from 2022, you will be able to order and buy gas engines that can run on hydrogen. While, from a technical point of view, engines can run on any given hydrogen blend, most companies are adapting their product portfolios to the hydrogen shares defined in our EUGINE H2-Ready Definition (10%, 25% and 100%). If you want to know more and stay abreast of the latest developments, check our Twitter feed for regular updates.
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EUGINE European Engine Power Plants Association
President: Hermann Kröger Secretary General: Ralf Wezel