The Green Deal is, for our industries, the single most ambitious transformation that our sector has been, is and will be undergoing for many decades, not to say a couple of centuries, and it is a huge challenge for all of us, said Eric Stab, president of ACUE Federation and CEO of ENGIE Romania, in the opening of the conference "The European Green Deal: How can CEE deliver?", organized on-line by Eurogas, with the support of ACUE.
"Despite the fact that the role of gas in this transformation is being questioned, I believe that many of us agree that natural gas is the transition energy of a sustainable energy transition, that Europe needs natural gas to displace other fuels whose carbon footprint is more problematic and that gas can, in the form of greener solutions such as biogas, biomethane or green hydrogen, also contribute significantly to our continent’s decarbonization strategy", declared Eric Stab.
He underlined: "The gas industry of Romania, a country that is the European Union’s second largest natural gas producer and an important provider of future security of energy supply with the significant gas resources discovered in the Black Sea, is, I believe and I am sure other speakers will confirm this, aware of its responsibilities in this respect. The way to get to carbon neutrality in a cost efficient manner, the associated timing as well as the financial support measures are however key for our sector to deliver. Certain countries, such as Romania and many other in the region, do also have a different starting point, especially compared to Western Europe. Romania legitimately wishes to enjoy the economic and social benefits of having notable gas resources and bringing them to shore. Romania also legitimately wishes to develop its gas infrastructure, both through better interconnections with neighboring countries and extension of its national transportation and distribution networks, to ensure that more consumers enjoy the thermal comfort of gas heating instead of having to use wood from the forest nearby. At the same time, it is equally crucial for Romania to make gradual but determined steps into the direction of further decarbonization of its energy production and development of green gas alternatives to natural gas. We believe that we should not oppose electrification and gasification. We should not oppose either gas and electricity infrastructure. Both enjoyed significant investments in the past and both will require major additional investments in the future. The cost of aiming, for instance, to fully electrify heating needs would be huge for the community, it is technically very very challenging and it would, de facto, through the socialization principles of infrastructure regulation, lead to a strong increase of both electricity and gas infrastructure tariffs, making energy less and less affordable for consumers".
European and national policy makers will, in the coming weeks, months and years, significantly shape the future of energy, the future of gas, and upcoming decisions such as the one on taxonomy or on allocation of EU funds to various types of projects will be closely watched to see whether we can reach our target in a cost effective, affordable and sustainable way.
In the end of his speech, the president of ACUE said: "Let me finish by quoting Confucius, who said ‘The path is the goal’, a quote also often attributed to Mikhail Gorbachev, while Steve Jobs said ‘The journey is the reward’. Well, let us agree that, now that we know the destination we are targeting, namely carbon neutrality, the path should be our goal and the journey our reward! Let’s embark all together on this trip!".
We invite you to see the recording of the conference here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1ZfUPWPwkk