Fossil fuels will continue to need to be used in the future.
That’s the suggestion from Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of Uniper SE, who spoke to future Net Zero Founder Sumit Bose about the issue of decarbonisation – he said fossil fuels “have to have a future” because renewables such as wind and solar are not enough to keep the lights on and meet demand on their own.
He noted 75% of Germany’s carbon dioxide footprint comes from buildings, industry and transportation, areas that cannot be easily decarbonised with renewables.
Mr Schierenbeck told ELN that transitioning from lignite and coal to gas is the right way to reduce the environmental footprint of the energy sector, suggesting that nuclear is ‘out of the question in Germany’ and hydropower infrastructure cannot be expanded as much as is needed.
He said: “To balance the network we need gas units for that and to make sure this is a sustainable thing, I think we have to think what is coming after natural gas and hydrogen is a possible and very elegant way out of that.”
The Uniper boss added it is easier to focus on “clean and green gas” than finding ways to clean up coal emissions and predicted the best ways to do this would be mixing in hydrogen from renewable sources and capturing carbon emissions before they can enter the atmosphere.