Submitted by Black & Veatch
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, along with ensuing decisions to ban or reduce demand for Russian oil and gas exports, have caused significant shifts in the global oil and gas market and reminded citizens and governments worldwide of the need for stability of domestic oil and gas costs. To insulate domestic prices from the unpredictability of the global market, the United States and Europe are placing greater focus on achieving energy independence, explain Black & Veatch’s Carina Winters and Bryan Mandelbaum in a recent article for Pipeline Technology Quarterly’s Gas 2022 Issue.
To many, the solution may seem simple: build out more renewable and clean energy generation assets. In reality, the path forward is more complex, as renewable development will rely on natural gas both as a back-up and for growth and development of new technologies.
While the long-term goal is, of course, to operate at net-zero carbon emissions, pairing natural gas with clean energy technologies will ensure society can maintain its current energy intensity throughout the transition, making it “the only realistic pathway to a decarbonized world,” explain Winters and Mandelbaum.
The integrated solution will deploy a range of decarbonized and low-carbon technologies, many supported in their own ways by natural gas. Wind, solar, hydropower and more can be paired with gas-powered quick-start engines to increase reliability. Natural gas may be used for blue hydrogen production to stimulate end-use application growth in the hydrogen market, which will in turn promote green hydrogen adoption.
Though each country’s response to the current disarray of the global oil and gas market will vary, the overarching answer will be to increase reliance on renewables while accepting the role natural gas plays in a successful transition.
“The core of energy independence plans should balance investment in renewable energy resources with considerations on how to build resiliency and security into the natural gas supply,” write Winters and Mandelbaum. “Focusing solely on clean energy without incorporating plans for the continued use of natural gas would be short-sighted, as natural gas offers a support, both financially and technologically, to the clean energy transition.”
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2018 were US$3.5 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and in social media.
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