A new Gas for Climate analysis prepared by Navigant, a Guidehouse company, shows that scaling up renewable gases in the European Union (EU) can create 1.7 million to 2.4 million jobs by 2050, of which 600 000 to 850 000 would be direct jobs. Full decarbonisation of the EU gas sector is expected to be an important contribution to the goals of the EU Green Deal and the upcoming decarbonisation package.
Initiated mid-2017, the Gas for Climate group consists of seven leading European gas transmission companies; Enagás, Fluxys Belgium, Gasunie, GRTgaz, Open Grid Europe, Snam, and Teréga and two renewable gas industry associations, the European Biogas Association (EBA) and Consorzio Italiano Biogas (CIB).
Gas for Climate is committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU by 2050 and the group commissioned Navigant, a Guidehouse company, to prepare a study into how scaling up renewable gas production in Europe would bring additional employment opportunities and strengthen employment throughout the EU economy.
Renewable and low-carbon gases, combined with large quantities of renewable electricity, are essential to achieving a climate-neutral EU energy system. Production of renewable gases and low-carbon gases is already creating jobs today.
Renewable gas is all gas produced from renewable sources. This includes biomethane in the form of upgraded biogas produced by anaerobic digestion of agricultural biomass and organic wastes, biomethane produced from thermal gasification of woody residues, hydrogen produced from renewable electricity, and synthetic methane produced from renewable hydrogen.
Significant employment opportunities
According to the Gas for Climate analysis “Job creation by scaling up renewable gas in Europe”, this renewable energy system will have significant benefits in creating employment opportunities, especially in rural areas where employment opportunities are often scarce.
The study explores the possible employment effects of an EU-wide scale-up of renewable gas. It focuses on the employment effect from the supply of biomethane through anaerobic digestion and thermal gasification, and the supply of hydrogen by electrolysis using renewable electricity. Each of the renewable gases has its own distinct production pathway with specific employment effects.
High-skilled technical jobs are expected to emerge in sectors related to manufacturing, installation, and the operation of biomethane and green hydrogen plants, as well as in the renewable electricity generation sector to produce hydrogen.
The study follows the Gas for Climate study “Gas for Climate: The optimal role for gas in a net-zero emissions energy systems” published in March 2019. This study showed that fully decarbonising Europe at the lowest costs requires 2 900 TWh of biomethane and green hydrogen.
The study also showed that using this gas in existing gas infrastructure could lead to nearly EUR 217 billion in annual societal cost savings compared to achieving climate neutrality without a role for gas.