Why Natural Gas?

Global Transition Fuel

Natural gas is a critical component of the energy transition – helping to meet increasing demand while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. It is one of the few energy sources that can be used across all sectors of the global economy. Natural gas is used to generate electricity, provide heat for essential industrial processes, heat homes and fuel the transport of people and goods.

Natural gas emits between 45% and 55% lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal when used to generate electricity, according to IEA data. Today, coal-fired power stations produce around 40% of the world’s electricity, which represents more than two-thirds of global CO2 emissions from electricity generation. Using natural gas instead of coal to generate electricity can significantly reduce air pollution. Compared to coal-fired power plants, modern natural gas-fired power plants emit less than one-tenth of the pollutants.

Despite the significant role of renewables, they cannot provide all the world’s energy needs today. Renewables chiefly power electricity, which only meets around a fifth of global energy demand. For renewables to have a bigger impact, electricity must play a larger part in other key sectors of the economy. As the role of electricity grows, the world will increasingly rely on the electricity supply being reliable and affordable, as well as sustainable.

Natural gas supports the integration of variable renewable electricity generation because it can quickly compensate for dips in solar or wind power supply and rapidly respond to sudden increases in demand. Natural gas is a good partner for hydropower, providing a secure electricity supply when there is insufficient rainfall.

Natural Gas: providing more and cleaner energy | Shell Global

Colombia's Energy Transition

In Colombia, the case for Natural Gas as a transition fuel has an underscore as the country aims to meet its Paris Agreement CO2 target of decreasing emissions by 51% by 2030. Even more so in Colombia than much of the developed world, the transition to renewable sources will be gradual due to the high cost and complex storage requirements. Currently, 100% renewable sources make up a very small portion of the energy matrix in Colombia which points to a long period of natural gas acting as a bridge fuel. Even as the country increases renewable energy consumption, the intermittent nature of these renewable sources will leave a lasting demand for natural gas. Natural gas supports the integration of variable renewable electricity generation as it can quickly compensate for dips in variable supply and rapidly respond to sudden increases in demand.

Natural gas is a good partner for hydropower, providing a secure electricity supply when there is insufficient rainfall. Colombia as a whole depends on hydropower for 65% of its electricity generation; however, a water drought has caused reservoir levels to fall to an average 32% of capacity. This drought forced power plant operators in northern Colombia to double liquefied natural gas imports in 2020 as the current domestic natural gas supply is currently outstripped by demand.(1) In addition, Empresas Paoblicas de Medella­n (EPM) has revealed the Ituango hydropower project in the Cauca River, which would be the largest hydropower plant in Colombia at 2,400 Mw, could face further changes to its construction schedule as it scrambles to meet electricity supply commitments.(2)

  1. Colombia LNG imports rise on drought-depleted hydropower reservoirs | S&P Global Platts (spglobal.com)
  2. EPM says schedule for 2.4-GW Ituango hydro development could be further delayed | Hydro Review

Natural Gas: providing more and cleaner energy | Shell Global 

EPM says schedule for 2.4-GW Ituango hydro development could be further delayed | Hydro Review

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