The long-term future of energy lies predominantly in solar, wind and hydro. Very few people would disagree with that statement. However, an immediate issue is the technology required to fully harness these renewable forms of energy and the money it costs to do so.
Therefore what happens when, you have no renewable energy infrastructure; you suffer from a lack of infrastructure investment funding; the sun doesn’t shine; and the wind doesn’t blow? One or more of these issues will affect the two billion+ people who are projected to enjoy access to electricity over the next 20 years. Granted – climate change is a global issue, but is it really fair to expect poorer countries to consume electricity from renewables when they lack the financial resources; industrial base; and technical capability to make it a realistic aspiration?
Whilst one eye must remain firmly on the prize that is renewable energy, perhaps we ought not to shut the other eye to the cleaner solution that is natural gas. One eye must surely remain on a proven energy source that, whilst not perfect, can have a far less damaging effect upon the environment as compared to the more traditional fossil fuels that are oil and coal.
Whilst the G20 might be able to invest in novel technologies in the renewable energy space, the worse-off just require basic light, heat and power for their growing populations. Gas can help fill that current and shorter-term void.
I can’t sum it up any more succinctly than the SVP and future (2025) President of the International Gas Union: Andrea Stegher, so I quote him directly:
“Gas is not in competition with renewables… Gas is the catalyst for and foundation of enhanced renewable capacity.”
Just as natural gas has competed with coal as the prime fuel for electricity in the last decades, renewables are putting pressure on the blue, clean-burning source of energy. The competition is fierce and will likely get worse. Yet, it is still too early to discount gas.