Energy transition crucial for GasTerra

15-09-2017

GasTerra wants to contribute towards achieving a climate-neutral energy supply in a meaningful way. Manager for Strategy and Market Research, Tjitske Brand, believes that natural gas, renewable gas and innovative gas applications can play an important role in the transition. 

It is no coincidence that the energy transition activities are managed within GasTerra's strategic department. ‘Energy transition is about the future’, explains Tjitske. ‘We're wondering about our role in tomorrow's energy supply. What will our market look like then? The energy transition will have a major impact on it.’ GasTerra also wants to take responsibility where the energy transition is concerned. ‘We find this very important and so do our stakeholders. When you're a major player on the gas market, you have to listen closely to what society wants.’

Natural gas is becoming less important, admits Tjitske. ‘We're aware of that and we support that; but our main concern is for the energy transition to be implemented in a meaningful way. Large-scale electrification, for example, entailing significant grid expansion, does not seem sensible to us. Gas can still make a contribution. We need to consider which energy form yields the greatest climate benefit in a given scenario, on a case by case basis: we call this 'Gas by Design' in the gas sector.

Hybrid heat pump

GasTerra is concentrating on renewable gas and innovative gas applications, such as the hybrid heat pump, as ways of giving substance to an intelligent energy transition. ‘We're supporting the installation of hybrid heat pumps on Ameland, for example. We're looking at how residents are finding the installed units and we're measuring energy performance.’ In Tjitske's opinion, this is a textbook example of intelligent sustainability. ‘You draw heat from the air, but that's no longer possible below a certain temperature. This is where a small gas-fired boiler cuts in: you don't need to reinforce the electricity grid or adapt the gas network. Your home system remains unchanged and yet you've made a sizeable commitment towards CO2 savings.’

Renewable gas

Renewable gas is another crucial theme, reveals Tjitske. ‘A green gas department within GasTerra trades in green gas; we support good ideas so that the technology gets the opportunity to prove itself. At EnTranCe, an energy test garden in Groningen, for example, we're supporting a high-pressure technology that achieves more efficient fermentation. We're also investigating whether it can be performed more effectively by adding hydrogen. We're seeing hydrogen becoming increasingly important in the renewable gas mix, alongside green gas and biogas. We're following the developments and are still considering our role in all this.’  

Accelerating innovation

Developing knowledge about the energy transition is very important for GasTerra; just think of EnTranCe and the Energy Academy. ‘We care about them and try to bring projects to EnTranCe. We also support the Energy Academy in its energy research. For us, EnTranCe and the Energy Academy are important vehicles for increasing knowledge and accelerating innovation.’