Gas Networks Ireland’s Managing Director meets EU Energy Commissioner

Gas networks key to meeting EU’s decarbonisation ambition

10 September 2020 – Gas Networks Ireland’s Managing Director, Denis O’Sullivan, together with CEOs from six other leading EU gas distributors, who are members of Gas for Sustainability (GD4S), met (virtually) this morning with EU Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson, to highlight the critical role of gas distribution networks in integrating renewable energies and advancing sector coupling to achieve EU decarbonisation goals.

Among the topics discussed at the meeting were the important role of gas distribution networks and energy system integration in facilitating achievement of our EU ambition towards climate neutrality.

Mr O'Sullivan, Paolo Gallo, GD4S President and CEO of Italgas (Italy), Dan Pantilie, CEO of Distrigaz Sud Retele (Romania), Leonidas Bakouras, General Manager of EDAThess (Greece), Gabriel Sousa, CEO of Galp Gás Natural Distribuição (Portugal), Edouard Sauvage, CEO of GRDF (France) and Narciso De Carreras, CEO of Nedgia (Spain) all gathered as part of their joint membership of GD4S, to outline to the European Commission how natural and renewable gases can contribute to decarbonising the European economy. This first meeting with Commissioner Simson also afforded GD4S an opportunity to hear from the Commissioner on energy proposals and to share GD4S’ perspectives on the European Green Deal and future gas market design. 

During the meeting, the CEOs presented GD4S's views on how the gas networks can be leveraged to help the EU achieve climate neutrality, highlighting the role of renewable gases, including biomethane and hydrogen, in the context of Green Deal legislative proposals and the upcoming revision of gas market legislation. GD4S reiterated its commitment to helping the EU fulfil its climate change and emissions reduction targets.

The representatives of GD4S welcomed the commitment of the European Commission to work closely with all energy stakeholders, and specifically with gas distribution system operators (DSOs), to promote the development of optimum renewable energy solutions in the context of the Green Deal. In this context, they affirmed to Commissioner Simson their determination to ensure the decarbonisation of the natural gas sector, and to support the cost effective and fair development of renewable and decarbonised gases. To this end, they stressed the need to establish European renewable gas targets at EU and Member State levels in order to facilitate the development and deployment of renewable gases. In addition, the CEOs highlighted the importance of ensuring that evaluations of key technologies are subject to full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) across all sectors, to allow for fair comparisons of different energy transition technologies. Furthermore, they emphasised their call for the creation of an EU gas DSO entity to improve coordination among DSOs concerning operational, planning and technical issues.

Speaking in advance of this morning’s meeting, Mr O’Sullivan, said: “This meeting with Commissioner Simson presents GD4S with a significant opportunity to relay our messages about the potential of renewable gases; to reiterate our commitment to collaborating with the European Commission to support the Green Deal and meet our decarbonisation challenges; and to highlight the integral role of gas networks within the EU energy system in ensuring a clean energy future in the least cost, least disruptive way, by using existing infrastructure to transport renewable gases.”