A recent study commissioned by Agora Verkehrswende and Agora Energiewende investigates the costs and potential uses of fuels synthesized from renewable electricity. As Germany’s climate change regulations become stricter – and the coalition agreement by the Social Democrats and the Christian conservatives makes sure they will – the country will need to phase out petroleum and natural gas and replace them in part with power-based synthetic fuels. A key step in achieving this is to decrease the costs of such fuels, which today are far more expensive than their fossil-based equivalents. Agora Energiewende and Agora Verkehrswende, two of Germany’s leading think tanks for clean-energy policy, believe that the challenge lies in the construction of new fuel production facilities with an installed capacity totalling 100 gigawatts globally. To this end, a “political consensus on the future of oil and gas” is necessary. Fuels generated from renewable electricity have two crucial long-term applications in climate-friendly energy systems. First, they can be reconverted into electricity on calm, cloudy days, when feed-in from wind and solar power is low. Second, they can be used as a supplement in areas of the transport, heating, and industrial sectors where direct electricity is impractical. Indeed, from standpoint of today’s technology, renewable synthetic fuels will play an indispensable role in the deep decarbonisation of these sectors.
Agora Energiewende 17th April 2018 read more »