When it comes to supporting the reduction of GHG emissions, Shell believes that renewables are the best way forward, which is why we are actively developing projects in this sector and transitioning our portfolio to cleaner energy. Across the world, renewables are playing a larger role in electricity generation, and reducing emissions as we go through the energy transition. As the availability of renewable power grows, so will its share of the market. While renewables continue to build capacity to manage demand, however, for now, they need a partner fuel to ensure reliability. Natural gas is an enabling partner for renewables, and offers significant advantages when used to produce electricity alongside them.
Gas should form a critical component of South Africa’s energy transition
Despite the significant role of renewable energy sources, they cannot provide all the world’s energy needs at the moment. Renewables generate electricity, and electricity only meets around 18% of global energy demand. For renewables to have a bigger impact, electricity must play a larger role in other key sectors of the economy.
For this reason, natural gas will be a critical component of South Africa’s energy transition — helping to meet energy demand, ensuring security of supply, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. It is highly flexible, responsive to demand, and has a high peak-capacity value.
Natural gas works in partnership with renewables, offering flexibility and reliability to the grid. Gas-powered turbines can ramp up and down quickly, taking less than a third of the time a modern coal plant needs to reach full operation, quickly compensating for dips in solar or wind supply, or surges in demand.
Perhaps gas’s greatest contribution to the energy transition in South Africa will be its ability to provide a lower carbon backup during peak energy usage times, rather than playing a traditional 24/7 baseload role, providing reliability, and helping to balance and support renewables, rather than over-shadowing them.
Renewables and gas expected to replace coal in the energy mix
Rapid growth in energy demand over the past decade and the corresponding rise in greenhouse gas emissions have created the need for more and cleaner energy options. New policies, the need for more cost-effective energy sources, and the potential for partnership with renewables is driving the momentum for coal-to-gas switching.
Gas has a key role to play in a decarbonising world. Natural gas can help lower overall emissions, whether in partnership with renewables to deliver a reliable energy choice, or to power hard-to-electrify sectors. Across the globe, for example, gas is enabling the reduction of industrial emissions, and the iron and steel sector benefitting from coal-to-gas switching. Looking to the future 80% of energy demand growth is expected to be met by renewables and gas.
Committed to contributing to the transformation of South Africa’s energy mix
Gas is needed across the global economy and can act as a partner for intermittent renewable sources to offer reliable, flexible, and cost-effective access to more and cleaner energy. Its flexibility will be key as renewables come online, and natural gas is very well suited to this as it can be brought in on demand from diverse supply sources around the world. Gas has the ability to play a critical role in helping South Africa transition its power sector. As a world leader in natural gas, we at Shell, are looking forward to contributing our expertise and playing our part in building South Africa’s energy solution.
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