In its 2021-27 Plan, Italgas has taken a substantial step forward in terms of commitment to the environment, having identified specific initiatives capable of reducing CO2 emissions by 30% and net energy consumption by 25% over the 2020-27 period, at constant perimeter. The Company has also made a commitment to keep its shareholders up to date on progress towards these targets, as demonstrated by the disclosure on the results for the first half of 2021.
Compared to the level recorded in 2020, Italgas aims to achieve a 30% reduction in Scope I and Scope II GHG emissions.
- The main driver will be the decrease in network leakages made possible also by an increasing use of Picarro technology.
- The know-how of Seaside (Energy Service Company of Italgas) will also allow a reduction in the consumption of civil and industrial gas.
- Lastly, at corporate level, Italgas will pursue an efficiency improvement of the corporate fleet of service vehicles.
In the first half of the year, emissions increased (+11.2%), mainly as a result of the increase in fugitive emissions (+13.8%), due to the sharp increase in the length of the network inspected: 35,193 km compared with 25,765 km in 2020 (+36.6%). At the same time, due to all the maintenance interventions carried out in recent years, there was a significant decrease in the quantity of emissions per km inspected, equal to 14.7%. More generally, fugitive emissions amounted to 0.064% of total gas distributed – a considerably low number when compared with other sectors. The increase in vehicle emissions is directly related to the increase in kilometres driven. In addition, thanks to the massive use of natural gas (at an operating level, 92% of kilometres were covered using methane), there was a significant reduction in other emissions in terms of grams per kilometre: NOX (-7.4%) and particulate matter (-33.4%).
Compared to the level recorded in 2020, Italgas’ net energy consumption is expected to drop by 25% by 2027.
- The entry into operations of cogeneration plants and turbo-expanders installed at the most important city gates of the distribution network will provide Italgas with self- produced energy.
- In the case of energy efficiency, the reduction is spread fairly evenly between internal consumption of electricity, civil and industrial uses and, finally, means of transport.
In the first half of 2021, the group’s net energy consumption increased slightly (+3.6%), mainly due to two factors: (i) the increase in industrial consumption of natural gas for the preheating process, equal to 0.6%, due to the growth in the volume of gas supplied. Following efficiency boosting measures, the specific overall consumption of the preheating process for the Group’s plants (natural gas consumed per preheating process/gas supplied per thousand) fell by 3.8%; (ii) a significant increase in the number of kilometres travelled by the vehicle fleet engaged in detecting network leaks and an increase in the number of interventions at the end-customer’s premises.
Italgas environmental sustainability objectives compare with the European Union’s 2030 targets, which call for a 55% reduction in Scope I and Scope II emissions and a 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency compared to 1990. Italgas is not able to determine with certainty the levels of its emissions in 1990, although it is certain to have implemented a significant reduction in the past decade. However, it is possible to affirm that, with the new environmental sustainability objectives for 2027, Italgas is aligned in making its contribution to the European Union’s policies: policies whose success depends on the effective and consistent commitment of all sectors of the economy.
Italgas contribution to the implementation of te energy transition
BIOMETANO An option that is already a reality
With the prospect of strong development over the current decade (2020-2030), Italgas is seeing in these months a continuous increase in the number of requests for new connections to the gas distribution network from operators of biomethane plants – a renewable gas that already has competitive costs.
From 2017 to date, Italgas has received a total of 38 requests, of which:
- 33 preliminary requests for feasibility assessments for connection to the Italgas network
- 5 formal requests for connection to the Italgas network.
GREEN HYDROGEN The Power-to-Gas project
The first objective is to test the entire value chain of green hydrogen, including the implications on equipment. The project involves collaboration with the Polytechnic of Turin and major research centres (Sardegna Ricerche – CRS4) and private operators.
The project includes the following assets
- A 1 MW renewable energy plant
- A 0.5 MW electrolyser
- A 200 kg/d refuelling station
It is unlikely that green hydrogen will be competitive before 2030, when the cost of production and particularly that of electrolysers will have fallen significantly, on the back of growing demand.
From now until 2030, therefore, biogas will be the driving “green” source.
All in all, the concept of energy transition takes shape precisely through gradual transitions from one scenario to another, through a rotation of new, less polluting energy sources that guarantee energy security at the same time.