Power Supply and GHG

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Natural Gas production has increased by about 2.5 % annually since 1980 (Statistical Review of World Energy 2021, BP.com).
For many decades natural gas has been the "clean fuel" replacing oil and coal in industrial processes and electricity generating markets. Particular growth areas have been in direct-firing applications in industy and, in association with gas market reforms in the UK and EU, as fuel to CCGT power stations.
LNG shipping and natural gas pipeline routes have serviced CCGT power generation projects globally.

Natural gas has made a significant contribution to lowering the GHG emissions in the electricity generating sector. Although primarily as displacement of coal-fired and oil-fired generation, natural gas fired power generation has also been used to meet increased electricity demand.
In some countries renewable energy projects (Wind, Solar, etc.) have made large contributions to the national energy supply, the global energy demand, however, continues to rely on fossil fuel supplies albeit that IFI support is on the basis of natural gas being used as a transition fuel.

Global energy demand has grown inexorably with increasing economic activity. The matching energy supply trajectory has been furnished predominantly from fossil fuels with reductions only noticeable for periods of economic recession. Reducing energy use will reduce fossil fuel emissions but have consequences for societal wellbeing. The challenge is therefore to reduce emissions while maintaining economic improvement.(See "The development dilemma")

Graph reference: IEA

 

The lower emissions intensity of natural gas and the development of large scale renewables projects have contributed to lowering the CO2 production from the electricity sector. This has had only a small impact on the index of CO2 intensity for the total fossil fuel mix.

In addition to the electricity market, hydrocarbons provide the feedstock to the fertiliser, plastics, and fuels to transport and other sectors. For the overall emission intensity is to be addressed in all sectors a suitable environmental pricing mechanism is required in the economic evaluation. To counter the GHG emissions from the growth in energy demand a carbon reversal mechanism is essential, whether by means of carbon-offset projects or carbon capture technologies.

Analyses of climate impact issues in energy projects, whether in developing or mature economies, suggest that consideration of carbon capture and storage (CCS) should be included in development plans to mitigate the GHG impact of the projects.

Graph reference: IEA

As a transition fuel, natural gas can contribute to emission reduction strategies through its use as a replacement for liquid fuels such as diesel. Whether in distributed small-scale power generation or in the transport sector where compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles are replacing diesel engined trucks and buses.

Graph reference: The Royal Society