The EU must classify gas as a “transitional fuel” to green energy if it wants to reduce coal use and meet its emissions targets, said the chief executive of the Czech energy group EP Infrastructure.
The bloc aims to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, and the European Commission will explain next month how it will classify natural gas and nuclear energy during the transition to a greener economy.
Gary Mazzotti, CEO of EP Infrastructure, which transports Russian gas to various European markets and is controlled by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky’s EPH, said that for Central Europe the only realistic way to get away from its historical dependence on coal , was via gas.
‘The longer you delay giving gas for the transition [status]”The longer you extend the use of coal,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times.
The Commission’s classification system will need the approval of a majority of EU Member States and the European Parliament. Countries like Poland have insisted that gas be recognized as a transitional fuel, while France like countries require nuclear technology to get this label. A group of 150 NGOs urged the commission not to award such a label to gas.
However, Mazzotti said there was no alternative for Central Europe to treat gas as a transitional fuel. “Ultimately, French nuclear power needs to be classified as sustainable, and this part of the region needs gas to be sustainable if you want to achieve carbon neutrality,” he said, adding that the block should also ensure adequate gas storage facilities and long-term contracts. .
The gas market in Europe has been in the spotlight for the past few months as prices, which fell last year when the pandemic hit, made spiral, forces some energy suppliers out of the marketand cause concern about the stock this winter.
Mazzotti said the rise in prices was driven by a range of factors, ranging from an increase in European demand as the pandemic eased, to a drop in European production and a lower delivery of LNG from the US.
Some market participants also believe this Russia contributed to the rise in prices by restricting additional sales to customers, in an effort to pressure EU regulators to allow its newly completed approval Nordstream 2 pipeline – which strongly opposed the USA and several countries in Central Europe.
Mazzotti said it could be a factor, but that high gas prices in the medium to long term did not help consumers or suppliers, and that it could also slow down the green transition.
“Low [gas] prices encourage too much transition [away from coal] too fast. And the high prices we currently have do not encourage a transition and actually promote the extension of the life of coal, ”he said.
‘So there is a. . . balance that I would expect to return to the market after the first quarter of next year. ”