New modelling shows important roles for natural gas in 2050

New modelling released today shows an ongoing and important role for natural gas until 2050, especially to support renewable electricity in times of shortages.

The TIMES-NZ 2.0 modelling was prepared by the BusinessNZ Energy Council, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and the Switzerland-based Paul Scherrer Institute.

The two scenarios show fossil fuels still providing 22% and 33% of total energy demand by 2050, at the same time as energy emissions fall greatly.

“This bottom-up modelling is very useful and illustrates there are many different potential pathways to our energy future,” says Energy Resources Aotearoa chief executive John Carnegie.

“It shows there will be a substantial and crucial role for natural gas and oil in 2050 under both scenarios. There are some uses for which there are just no realistic alternatives on the horizon, such as air travel and shipping.

“It makes sense to use offsetting and international credits in these areas to reduce our net emissions. That’s how we can have a successful transition and balanced energy system – one that’s affordable and reliable, as well as sustainable.

“Both scenarios also see a crucial role for natural gas in 2050 as a back-up source of electricity generation for when renewable sources can’t keep up with demand.

“Interestingly, this modelling predicts nearly three times as much natural gas will be needed for electricity generation in 2050 than the Climate Change Commission does.

“It shows the value of having different contestable models, and the risks of overly relying on one source to inform policy.”