Nov 03, 2021Clean Energy Future

How does natural gas support renewables?

We all want to do our part in taking care of the planet. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind are helping us to do that more effectively. But what happens when energy from renewables isn’t enough? That’s where natural gas comes in. Natural gas provides a low carbon alternative to traditional fossil fuels and is the best solution we have to lowering household emissions in a cost-effective way.

Energised by gas

As the world’s population grows and climate change becomes an increasingly real threat, cutting greenhouse gas emissions is a cause we all can and should support. Renewable energy sources are vital to a sustainable future our earth.

How are the lights kept on when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow? Brazil provides a great example of how to deal with this.

Energia renovável & gás natural

Brazil uses hydropower to provide up to 90% of its electricity when there’s sufficient rainfall. But it uses gas-fired power generation to support renewables during peak energy times and in cases of drought.

In 2015, Brazil suffered an extended drought which decreased the availability of hydro-powered energy by as much as 20%. Natural gas provided an important back-up and stabilised energy supply for the nation’s 200 million residents.

In Australia, existing infrastructure has the potential to use gas as a partner for renewable energy sources. This means that mass power outages – which happened in South Australia when the state didn’t receive consistent enough energy from wind generation – are less likely to happen. It also means that, in the short-term, renewables will be more affordable.

Natural gas is a cleaner energy source, around 50% cleaner than coal in energy generation. Australia has natural gas in abundance, which makes it a perfect fit to work with renewable energy uptake to decrease carbon emissions and combat the onset of climate change.

COP26: What does the gas industry have to do with climate action?

COP26 is the United Nations Climate Change Conference. COP has an almost 30-year legacy of uniting near to every nation on earth for a summit on global climate. The event tackles the many issues surrounding how the world goes about addressing climate change, both individually and collectively.

Natural gas has a vital role to play in helping with climate action. For example, natural gas provides almost half of Australia’s household energy but produces just 13% of household emissions.

It’s also a perfect partner for renewables. It works alongside renewables all over Australia for cleaner energy. Partnered with high-tech emissions reduction and removal projects nationwide, the industry is a genuine part of the conversation on climate action.

The impact goes beyond just Australia. Natural gas is replacing coal, dung and wood fires in Asia, meaning clearer skies for our regions and cleaner energy for our neighbours.

To read more about Brazil’s hydropower and natural gas partnership see Shell’s investigative report.