31 May 2013 – A coalition of companies in Europe are part of the recently established North Sea Power to Gas Platform which is aimed at further developing the concept of power to gas; the conversion of renewable power into gas. Power to gas is expected to play an increasingly important role in future energy systems, as it reduces temporal surpluses of renewable power by converting these surpluses into gases. As these gases can be used for different purposes such as transportation, domestic heating, as feedstock for the chemical industry, and power generation, the potential value of power to gas is considerable.

“The establishment of the North Sea Power to Gas Platform is an important step in the transition towards a sustainable energy system,” says Lukas Grond, power to gas expert at DNV KEMA and secretary of the platform.  The platform is an initiative of energy consulting and testing & certification company, DNV KEMA, and includes Fluxys Belgium and Hydrogenics (Belgium); Energinet.dk and Maersk Oil (Denmark); Alliander, Gasunie and TenneT (Netherlands); ITM Power and National Grid (UK); and Open Grid Europe (Germany).

The share of electricity from renewable sources in the European electricity mix is increasing. As the power generation from wind and solar fluctuates, the match between renewable power supply and demand is becoming more challenging. At the same time, there are additional challenges to transmit the increasing volumes of renewable power from wind or solar farms to end users. The gas infrastructure can accommodate large volumes of electricity converted into gas in case that the supply of renewable power is larger than the grid capacity or than the electricity demand. As a result, power to gas enables the share of renewables in the energy mix to increase, making this innovation an important topic in achieving a carbon-neutral gas supply in 2050.

Power to Gas

Power to gas is of particular interest for the North Sea area as its on- and off-shore natural gas infrastructure is well developed. In addition, the combined generating capacity of offshore wind farms on the North Sea could reach around 100 GW by 2030, while the photovoltaic capacity installed in the countries surrounding the North Sea is expected to increase from 35 GW in 2012 to almost 60 GW in 2020.