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Brussels, 3rd June 2021 – The potential of renewable gases, the strategic role of gas distribution networks and the commitment of Distribution System Operators (DSOs) to meeting shared climate ambitions, form the basis of ‘Gas grids - a key enabler of decarbonisation’, a White Paper published today by Gas Distributors for Sustainabiltiy (GD4S), the EU's European gas association in which participate the seven major DSOs from seven countries.

Using illustrative case study examples, this comprehensive position paper demonstrates gas DSO decarbonisation in action and affirms GD4S' commitment to delivering on carbon neutrality by 2050.

Delivered in three sections and with 26 policy recommendations for the consideration of EU policy makers, the paper offers an overview of how gas grids will enable the achievement of decarbonisation targets aligned with the Green Deal.

- Section 1 details how the potential of renewable gases may be leveraged to reach climate neutrality - Biomethane, green hydrogen and synthetic methane to become essential to the energy transition process as carbon intensive fuels are phased out.

- Section 2 describes how gas grids deliver is an asset for decarbonisation and sector integration - Flexible and expansive gas distribution networks are crucial in the decarbonisation process and vital in the context of sector coupling between gas and electricity. Their capability to transport and store energy and offer flexibility for electricity production from renewable sources is also explored.

- Section 3 outlines GD4S' commitment to decarbonisation through methane emissions’ mitigation - The Association’s commitment is highlighted through an approach based on innovation in leak detection, digitalisation of the networks, measurement of emissions through real data and promotion of the use of renewable gases.

In presenting its position paper now, GD4S seeks to have its specific recommendations incorporated, as appropriate, in current and forthcoming legislative reviews, including the review of the gas legislative framework, the RED II and Energy Efficiency Directive reviews, the TEN-E Regulation, the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive, and the envisaged obligations around methane emissions’ reduction.

Commenting on the significance of today’s release, Paolo Gallo, President of GD4S, said: "This White Paper allows us present in a single document positions that we, as an Association,have long been advocating and which have been affirmed in recent statements from the European Commission. Gas networks will play a key role in both the energy transition and after 2050 when decarbonisation is achieved.”

Mr. Gallo continues: “Thanks to their extensive reach, new, digital smart grids will soon be able to transport renewable gases, such as biomethane, green hydrogen and synthetic methane, accelerating the achievement of the net-zero targets. DSOs need a clear regulatory framework supporting innovation and investments in upgrading existing networks over the long term. GD4S and its members are committed in building a carbon-neutral economy and in cooperating with policymakers and stakeholders to help achieve EU climate and energy targets”.

The paper, available to view full https://gd4s.eu/white-paper has been signed by Paolo Gallo, CEO, Italgas (Italy) and President of GD4S; Dan Pantilie, CEO, Distrigaz Sud Retele (Romania); Denis O'Sullivan, Managing Director, Gas Networks Ireland (Ireland); Narcís de Carreras, CEO, Nedgia (Spain); Laurence Poirier-Dietz, Managing Director, GRDF (France); Gabriel Sousa, CEO, Galp Gás Natural Distribuição (Portugal) and Leonidas Bakouras, General Manager, Eda Thess (Greece). A summary of the key points of the position paper, together with its recommendations, is also available to view.

Later this year, GD4S will present its first ‘Sustainability Charter’, which will detail the Association's long-term sustainability commitments across Social, Environmental and Governance pillars, aligned to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

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Italgas - White Paper PDF.

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