Julian Wettengel, Clean Energy Wire
Does the energy transition seal the fate of natural gas in Germany? Europe's biggest economy will have to virtually phase out all fossil fuels to fully decarbonise by 2050. But the industry says flexible gas-fired electricity generation is the perfect partner for fluctuating renewables. With campaigns like "Greener than you think", it presents gas as a clean alternative to oil and coal, even though it causes more than a fifth of German emissions. Gas could indeed help to reduce emissions in heating, power production, industry and transport. But critics warn that betting on gas for short-term CO2 cuts will perpetuate its use, and make it harder and more expensive to reach carbon-neutrality further down the road. In the longer term, experts are looking to power-to-gas technology, which uses renewable electricity to make synthetic gas that can be stored on a large scale and used on days with little wind or sun.