05 November 2016, Houston — Technological improvements are required if gas is to serve as a long-term fuel, according to an International Energy Agency report released in time for the official launch of the Paris Agreement reached at COP21 in December 2015.
The agreement aims to limit global warming to ‘well below 2 degrees celsius’ by phasing out inefficient and emission-heavy fuel sources. Due to its relatively clean nature, gas has been touted as a fuel that can help the eventual transition to renewable energy sources.
“Given its flexibility, gas currently plays a critical role in balancing intraday fluctuations in power demand, and has an important role in the 2DS as a complement to variable renewables,” said the IEA report.
The IEA states that gas-fired power generation in the 2DS plan will increase through the 2030s, and will rise rapidly in China and India from 2015 to 2040. This form of power is scheduled to gradually decline to 2050 though unless technological advancements can be made.
These improvements include the application of CCS (carbon capture and storage), which reduces the carbon intensity of generation and would allow gas to remain a low-carbon choice relative to the increasingly stringent requirements of the 2DS well beyond 2040, the IEA said.
In an emailed statement to Rigzone, Wood Mackenzie stated that its latest analysis and preliminary outlook on energy demand shows the emissions goal implied by the current version of the Paris Agreement is likely to be missed.
According to Wood Mackenzie’s study, developed countries have committed to emissions cuts they will be unable to make without additional efforts to decarbonize their economies.
“Hydrocarbon fuel consumption is in the firing line, and energy sector impacts are being felt already, despite Paris Agreement targets not kicking in until the end of the decade,” said Paul McConnell, research director for global trends at Wood Mackenzie.
“Judging the pace of transition from old to new is among the big difficulties facing companies as they survey this emerging energy landscape. Companies will need to change, beginning with understanding their own carbon footprint, then developing strategies to adapt,” he added.
*Andreas Exarheas – Rigzone