Power-to-Gas (P2G) will play an increasingly important role in the future energy system, as it reduces temporary surpluses of renewable power by converting them into gases. P2G has considerable potential, as these gases can be used for different purposes such as transportation, domestic heating, feedstock for the chemical industry, and in power generation.
‘The establishment of the North Sea Power to Gas Platform is an important step in the transition towards a sustainable energy system,’ says Lukas Grond, P2G expert at DNV KEMA and secretary of the Platform. ‘I am pleased that this group of reputed companies has joined forces to bring this technology a step further into the global energy market.’
The Platform is an initiative of energy consulting and testing & certification company DNV KEMA, and includes Fluxys and Hydrogenics in Belgium; Energinet.dk and Maersk Oil in Denmark; Alliander, Gasunie and TenneT in the Netherlands; ITM Power and National Grid in the UK; and Open Grid Europe in Germany.
The share of electricity from renewable sources in the European electricity mix is increasing. As power generation from wind and solar fluctuates, the match between renewable power supply and demand is becoming more challenging. At the same time, there are additional challenges in transmitting the increasing amounts of renewable power from wind or solar farms to end-users.
The good news is that the gas infrastructure can accommodate large amounts of electricity converted into gas, in the case that the supply of renewable power is larger than the grid capacity or electricity demand. As a result, P2G enables the share of renewables in the energy mix to increase, making this innovation an important topic in achieving a carbon-neutral gas supply by 2050.
P2G is of particular interest for the North Sea region, since its onshore and offshore natural gas infrastructure is well developed. In addition, the combined generating capacity of offshore wind farms in the North Sea could reach around 100 GW by 2030. And the solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed in the countries surrounding the North Sea is expected to increase from 35 GW in 2012 to almost 60 GW in 2020.
The North Sea Power to Gas Platform is a joint body, based on an integrated network of stakeholders, that aims to further develop the concept of P2G in the countries surrounding the North Sea. The Platform is collaborating with the European Gas Research Group (GERG), the Mediterranean Power2Gas Platform (currently being established), as well as shipping companies, NGOs, utilities, energy technology providers, Transmission System Operators, and Distribution System Operators.
A year ago ITM Power announced the GridGas project, working with National Grid and others to investigate the feasibility of injecting hydrogen generated from electrolysis fed from excess renewables into the UK’s gas networks. And Hydrogenics is working with Enbridge in Canada to develop utility-scale energy storage via hydrogen in gas grids.