The European Commission recently acknowledged that natural gas and nuclear are key in transitioning to a renewable-based future. In this opinion piece, the author believes if decarbonization is the goal, natural gas and nuclear energy must be a big part of the continent’s energy mix. In this article, the author compares and contrasts the current narratives discerning the incorporation of natural gas and nuclear energy towards decarbonization. To learn more read, The EU Finally Admits Natural Gas And Nuclear Are Key To Decarbonization.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The European Commission released a statement which said “There is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future.
  • The New York Times proposes gas and nuclear could be considered transitional sources to be used to bridge countries’ moves away from coal and carbon-emitting power toward clean energy technologies like wind and solar.
  • The International Energy Agency states that in Germany, “Connections to carry wind power from the north to the south are insufficient,” Public opposition remains an impediment to the siting of necessary infrastructure.
  • The author claims that natural gas and nuclear are not bridge fuels or transition fuels, but that they are the fuels of the future for their low or no-carbon, small footprints, affordability, and scalability.

Path to 100% Perspective:

While two thirds of the world’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels today, by 2050 two-thirds of electricity will be generated from zero-carbon sources, with almost half coming from renewables and the rest from hydroelectric and nuclear power. 

Whether gas and nuclear are a bridge or transition fuel, it is evident that we must decrease our reliance on fossil fuels as soon as possible in order to initiate the final 100% renewable system featuring carbon neutral or non-carbon emitting fuels in order to maintain a reliable, clean, affordable power system. Once 80% to 90% of electricity in a system is generated with renewable resources, utilities can convert flexible generation plants from burning natural gas to running on synthetic carbon-neutral or carbon-free fuels produced with excess renewable power. Sustainable fuels can be stored indefinitely and used on demand for long periods of time to produce power and provide balancing services to the grid. These sustainable fuels can help us reach our decarbonization goals.

Photo by Lukáš Lehotský on Unsplash