“It’s not easy being green,” Kermit the Frog once said.
At the time, Kermit was actually decades ahead of his time. Kermit’s famous words were repeated by Morten Bæk, Director General of the Danish Energy Agency, on behalf of the Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Morten Helveg Petersen, during the large international gas conference, IGRC, hosted by Denmark in September 2014.
IGRC conference at Tivoli Congress Center. Photo: Anne Maabjerg Rasmussen.
About 750 participants from 45 countries visited Tivoli Congress Center, and the debate among the speakers and in the more informal environments around the conference revolved around three main topics, in particular: A greener gas system, security of supply amid the crisis in Ukraine and the potential of shale gas.
Focus on international cooperation
For all three topics, there was widespread agreement that the solution lies in even closer international cooperation. Torben Brabo, Senior Vice President, Gas Market, at Energinet.dk, agrees:
“Without international cooperation we cannot achieve anything. The solution for tomorrow’s energy system requires knowledge sharing and joint projects – also across borders. Some countries have characteristics, competencies or political wishes that lead them to refine or develop a given technology or mechanism, almost to best practice standards. Other countries should draw on this knowledge and we already do to a wide extent,” he says.
Torben Brabo, Senior Vice President, Gas Market. Photo: Per Dalsjø Schmidt.
The IGRC conference was not the only international hotbed of discussion of tomorrow’s gas system.
Earlier in the year, top executives from the gas transmission companies Energinet.dk (Denmark), Gasunie (Netherlands), Fluxys (Belgium), GRTgaz (France), Swedegas (Sweden) and Gaznat (Switzerland) met in Amsterdam for the annual Flame conference. The six countries are working on a strategy to support the green transformation by sharing and developing green solutions.
Danish security of supply is still high
Intense efforts are thus going into achieving the objectives of the green transformation in the long term. But we cannot ignore the short term, says Torben Brabo, now that we are in the midst of two major gas supply challenges, namely a declining gas production in the North Sea and the crisis in Ukraine. The two things could easily become a vicious circle, when Denmark becomes increasingly dependent on gas imports.
“The new connection to Germany which we invested in last year could replace supplies from the North Sea and, together with the two Danish gas-storage facilities, we still have a very high security of supply in Denmark,” explains Torben Brabo, which was confirmed by an EU stress test conducted in July 2014 among 38 countries.
“On the one hand, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has a negative effect on the EU because planned partnerships are given lower priority or postponed. On the other, the gas sector continues operating at normal levels, with gas flowing at a steady pace from Russia to the EU through Ukraine.”
Read more in ’Gas in Denmark 2015’ about, why the gas system is being challenged and developed.
What happened in 2014?
What is happening in 2014-2015?
Future challenges facing gas
Issues of current importance