Our strategy : promoting gas as a key element in the energy transition
Our aim is to build the gas distribution network of tomorrow. One of our main challenges is to be a major player in the energy transition in France, taking advantage of every opportunity to promote gas energy, establish new uses on tomorrow’s energy map and increase the share of renewable gas in overall gas consumption. Drawing on our experience, we develop and promote our knowledge and expertise in France and abroad.
Renewable gas: the 3rd revolution
The 1st gas revolution saw the spread of city gas, and for the 2nd it was the development of natural gas. At GRDF, we have four strong beliefs that shape our attitude towards the 3rd gas revolution, that of renewable gas :
- fossil energies are destined to disappear in due course;
- we need better control of our energy consumption;
- green gas is a vital part of the energy mix at a regional level;
- GRDF has the potential to meet this triple challenge.
To ensure the success of the 3rd revolution, GRDF is focusing its action on four areas in particular :
- maintaining a high level of industrial safety,
- leading the renewable gas development in France,
- building a Smart Gas Grid for an even more secure, sustainable and digital distribution network,
- encouraging the development of gas uses like gas mobility and new gas heating solutions.
Towards the 3rd gas revolution
A fundamental part of the energy mix
The four-year corporate project launched by GRDF in 2018 was specifically designed to support the energy transition, through upgrading the distribution network and ensuring that employees are committed to energy efficiency and to working towards the day when gas is 100% renewable. Why is gas such a crucial part of the energy transition? Because it is fundamental to the balance, stability and flexibility of our energy mix. Tomorrow it will allow the storage of renewable energies generated by wind and solar power plants.
Gas will make its biggest contribution to achieving the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050 when fossil gas is fully replaced by green gases, produced through such technologies as anaerobic digestion, pyro-gasification and Power-to-Gas (or P2G). Green gases have the same properties as their fossil equivalents and can be used for cooking, heating, industrial processes and mobility. As the industrial production of these gases is ramped up, net greenhouse gas emissions will fall sharply.
We have set a target of 12 TWh of renewable gas in the gas grid by 2023. We believe that the target of 10% renewable gas by 2030 is within easy reach (in fact, we would prefer to go even further). ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, has considers that it is possible to fully meet France's gas needs with green gas by 2050. This is an ambitious but realistic target.
Our vision for 2050
We have developed a scenario representing our vision for 2050 that complies with France’s key environmental objectives. This scenario has been put together in tandem with external experts from ADEME, RTE and green sectors. Among the highlights:
- a 40% reduction in industrial and agricultural energy consumption between 2010 and 2050;
- optimized industrial processes that are more productive while consuming less raw material;
- recovery of industrial waste to be used as renewable raw materials;
- lower carbon energies like gas replacing fuel oil and coal.
More appropriate modes of transport:
- a reduction in fuel consumption of around 50% between 2010 and 2050;
- greater diversification in propulsion technologies, according to vehicle usage, with electric power preferred for urban driving and NGV or BioNGV for longer distances and freight;
- development of urban transit systems and more carpooling leading to a decline in the number of vehicles on the road.
Local production of gas:
- maximizing the use of biomethane for injection into the distribution grid at regional level;
- production of gas through the anaerobic digestion of waste, pyro-gasification of biomass and energy production from micro-algae, representing 240 TWh of green gas by 2050;
- hydrogen produced from renewable electricity surpluses injected into the grid ready for use to supplement biomethane injections.
Making gas a key driver in the energy transition, the GRDF future scenario will help meet France’s commitment to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050.
The importance of Research & Development
In the context of a rapidly changing energy landscape, Research & Development (R&D) is essential to provide an efficient and quality service to customers, to develop the operating tools needed to manage the gas grid safely and to take a leading role in the decarbonization of gas.
Our R&D programs are geared to topics strategic for our development. GRDF R&D’s efforts will be focusing on the following research orientations: smart gas grids, renewable gases, grid safety and operational excellence, and the flexibility and safety of customers’ installations.
GRDF invested €43 million in R&D projects between 2016 and 2019. During the period 2020-2023, we intend to increase our R&D budget to approximately €63 million. We undertake some R&D projects alone, and others in partnership with R&D institutions. We also collaborate with other European gas companies in various national and international organizations.