The International Gas Union (IGU) has welcomed forecasts by the International Energy Agency (IEA) with regards to the outlook for natural gas worldwide, Kallanish Energy reports.
The trade body said the IEA’s World Energy Outlook (WEO) demonstrates “the vital economic and environmental role natural gas will play in a sustainable energy future.”
Being the “cleanest” of the fossil fuels, natural gas offers global energy systems the possibility of immediate change, while also remaining the best cost-effective fuel in certain situations.
IGU’s President Joe Kang defended the gas industry has a critical role to play. “Switching to gas from dirtier fuels, like coal, oil, or conventional biomass is possible now and can be achieved quickly, with immediate benefits of cleaner air, safer environment, cut emissions, and solid path to the integration of clean technologies for continued reductions in emissions,” he said.
Under the so-called Stated Policies Scenarios, which is based on existing policies, the WEO estimates that gas demand will grow by 25% by 2040. Under a more aggressive climate-friendly approach, in Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), gas retains the 23% share in the energy mix.
The report said there is a “robust” long-term case for gases in the energy system. “In the SDS, there are services that gases provide that it would be difficult to provide cost effectively using other sources: these include high temperature heat for industry, winter heat for buildings and seasonal flexibility for power systems,” according to the WEO.
Even in a Delayed Recovery Scenario, gas demand recovers to the pre-pandemic level in 2024, and climbs 24% by 2040. The IEA estimates gas demand to decline by 3% this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, compared to losses of 8% in oil and 7% in gas consumption.
Declines in commercial gas demand are being offset by increased residential use, while drops in industrial demand have been mitigated by fuel switching.
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