A cost-effective transition: Unlocking the benefits of sector coupling

The EU is committed to the transformation towards a low-carbon economy as detailed in the 2050 long-term strategy. Climate change risks require urgent action and the ultimate challenge is to carry out the required transition towards a greener future at affordable cost for EU citizens and businesses and in line with EU energy security perspectives.

To produce a carbon-neutral, affordable and secure energy mix, all energy vectors – electricity, gas, heating & cooling – will have to evolve. New technology is already giving more options to consumers (e.g. transport and residential heating now employ workable alternatives to petrol and gas, respectively) and is physically linking the energy vectors – Power-to-Gas and Gas-to-Power. ‘Sector coupling’, the integration of energy end-use and supply sectors, could potentially reduce the costs of decarbonisation and improve energy efficiency.

In order to enable the development of the full potential of sector coupling, the interlinkages between the electricity, gas and heating & cooling sectors should be appropriately considered at all levels of policy, eliminating undue barriers and ensuring coordination and consistency.
EURACTIV organised this high-level Forum to discuss the challenges ahead for enabling an efficient sector coupling.

Questions included:

  • How can efficient decarbonisation be achieved? What is the objective of sector coupling in the energy transition?
  • Does the current EU regulatory framework allow for efficient interaction between electricity and gas sectors?
  • What role for infrastructure in bringing the two sectors together?
  • What would be necessary to encourage the development of carbon-neutral technologies and infrastructure optimisation? – How to close the gaps preventing the efficient linking of the electricity and gas sectors?

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