Gas is the second most consumed grid energy in France. Currently, almost all other countries are importing it. In the future, given the potential sources of renewable gas that are available to us, by 2050 we can make France self-sufficient. How are we going to meet this challenge?
Achieving total self-sufficiency in gas production and consumption by 2050 means that France will no longer have to buy this energy from other countries. Local production of renewable gas would be sufficient to cover our consumption, according to a study published by the Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME) in January 2018. Two of the major factors that make this scenario possible are reduced energy needs and the development of the various sectors of French production.
Reduced consumption is just around the corner.
To achieve self-sufficiency in gas, it is still necessary to have enough resources to meet the expected consumption. It is estimated that gas demand in 2050 will be between 276 and 361 TWh, bearing in mind that consumption in 2019 amounted to 451 TWh. This decrease of around 20% is explained in particular by current and future progress in energy efficiency: building insulation, prevalence of energy-saving equipment, not forgetting the gradual adoption of good practices.
The potential for renewable gas is there!
In theory, the resources available in 2050 would make it possible to produce up to 460 TWh of injectable renewable gas for the network, which would therefore largely cover the estimated future needs. This potential depends on three major production sectors :
- Anaerobic digestion : by converting inputs, from agriculture, biowaste and algae residues, it would have a capacity of 140 TWh, i.e. 30% of production,
- Pyrogasification : wood and its derivatives, solid recovered fuels (SRF) and a small fraction of agricultural residues, would provide 180 TWh, i.e. 40% of production,
- Power-to-Gas : This would cover 30% of demand, i.e. 140 TWh, in the context of a 100% renewable electricity mix aimed at maximising the production of synthetic gas.
The gas network and the electricity network work hand in hand
In order to ensure a constant energy supply and to cope with the unpredictability of consumption, interaction between the gas network and the electricity network is a major asset. Following this approach, the Power-to-Gas sector will play an essential role by enabling surplus electricity to be transformed and stored in the form of methane.
Because they are produced close to where they are consumed and they enable optimal use of local resources, renewable gases are a major asset to helping France gain its energy independence!