In Emden, Germany, lies one of the facilities receiving Norwegian gas. The deliveries through the gas pipeline Norpipe started in 1977. Photo: Gassco

"Without natural gas from Norway, Europe is unable to reach its climate targets set in Paris", says Hildegunn T. Blindheim.

As Director for Climate and the Environment at the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, Blindheim is referring to a conclusion in a new report on the role of gas in Europe.

“EU countries look at natural gas as a key in an energy system that will gradually shift to renewable energy sources. Gas is an ideal partner for renewable energy”, says Blindheim.

Renewable power generation is dependent on weather conditions, which are irregular and unpredictable. Awaiting the development of emission-free alternatives, power produced by gas plays an important role in ensuring adequate power generation, and a safe source for the flexibility and back-up capacity necessary in the power system.

“There are few good alternatives to gas”, states the report. The renewable industry agrees. In a joint letter from renewable organizations and EU politicians it is stressed that natural gas will play a big role in a modern and dynamic energy market that is looking for the best way to facilitate a massive introduction of renewable energy in Europe.

Says Elisabeth Aspaker, Minister of EEA and EU Affairs: “The report confirms the impression I got after my meetings with the EU, and talks with European partners, that natural gas is an important energy source in Europe today, and will be for a long time to come. Norway supplies more than 20 percent of this gas. Coal is still cheaper than gas in most countries in Europe. We must therefore maintain a close dialogue with the EU on the significance of gas in achieving common energy and climate goals”.

“Gas power plants are far more flexible than coal power plants, and more importantly, gas emits half the greenhouse gases than the best coal-fired power plants. Stable supply of Norwegian gas produced with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in the world is definitely preferable to coal”, says Blindheim.

Read more: “Natural gas is the cleanest of all fossil fuels and is the bridge between coal and renewables”