Power and gas ‘coupling’ seen as key to EU’s zero-carbon quest

(EurActiv, 28 Nov 2019) As Europe moves towards net-zero emissions, policymakers are looking at all available sources of energy, including new low-carbon gases like hydrogen, to decarbonise at least cost. But direct electrification – of transport, industry and buildings – remains the top priority for the European Commission.

The EU’s aspiration to reach climate neutrality by 2050 means “increased ambition” to cut emissions in the short term, said Paula Abreu Marques, a senior official at the European Commission’s energy department.

That means making the most of all available sources of energy in order to reduce emissions as quickly as possible across all sectors of the economy.

Scientists have warned that time is running short to contain global warming “well below 2°C” and as close as possible to 1.5°C, the main objective of the Paris Agreement. And getting there implies peaking global emissions as early as possible in the 2020s, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN body.

“More and more we see sector coupling and sector integration at the core of this debate,” Marques told a EURACTIV event earlier this month, saying the new Commission headed by Ursula von der Leyen “will do a lot about it in the next five years.”

Sector coupling has become a buzzword in Brussels. Simply put, it means linking together electricity and gas networks in order to decarbonise at least cost energy-hungry sectors such as transport, buildings, industry and even agriculture.

Speaking at the EURACTIV event, Marques clarified what the Commission means by sector coupling and sector integration.

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EurActiv, 28 Nov 2019: Power and gas ‘coupling’ seen as key to EU’s zero-carbon quest