Today, about 83 to 84 percent of the world’s energy consumption is fossil fuel-based. It is obvious that we have to reduce this amount, even though the world population – along with its energy demand – is continuously increasing. That means we will need to rely on fossil fuel sources for energy for quite a while. And, regardless of whatever governance decisions may be made, no country can make the transition from one day to the next.
MET Group trades on the natural gas markets of almost thirty European countries while also playing an increasingly active role in renewable energy production. Today, Europe’s large energy companies are responsible for figuring out how to speed up the green transition whilst also ensuring its long-term sustainability, including with the use of natural gas.
According to MET Asset Management Holding CEO Balázs Gábor Lehőcz, everyone is aware that the green transition will restructure the European energy mix, though it is hard to tell what it will look like decades from now. “We don’t believe that the European gas market will grow, consumption rather tends to be dropping. We will be using electricity a hundred years from now, but it is not certain we will be using natural gas, which is why we call it a transition fuel,” explains the expert of Swiss-based MET Group energy company.
It is no mistake that in legislation enacted in 2022, the European Union labelled both natural gas and nuclear energy green, qualifying nuclear and natural gas projects as sustainable investments. We will need natural gas for a long time along the road to a carbon-neutral world.
The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow: renewable energy sources are weather-dependent. The situation is made even more complex by the fact that electricity consumption is not balanced either (for example, household consumption is higher in the mornings and evenings), and electricity production must exactly match to consumption.
“In the interest of preserving the delicate balance of power grids, we need so-called balancing energy, for which we mainly use natural gas today,” explains Balázs Gábor Lehőcz.
In light of the above, it comes as no surprise that the EU has qualified natural gas a green source of energy. Flexible power plants that can be quickly switched on and off are necessary to balance ever-increasing energy demands, and that is exactly what gas-fired power plants are. Of these the largest one is the Dunamenti Power Plant, under the majority ownership of MET Group.
MET Group has gained significant experience in the operation of green (renewable) and flexible (balancing) assets as well as in natural gas and electricity trading, which allows it to support the energy transition from more than one angle.
“Over time, the gas industry can be completely side-lined, but the question is at what cost we can do so. In this transitional period requiring great expertise, MET strives to play an increasingly active role in the installation of solar and wind power plants, and in the operation of balancing systems (gas-fired power plants and gas storages). We are able to operate natural gas-fired equipment more effectively than most players in the industry: in addition to the production of energy, this is another way we can contribute to the energy transition,” adds the CEO of MET Asset Management Holding.
In 2021, MET traded a total of 55bn cubic metres (BCM) of natural gas. To illustrate just how big this quantity is, it is enough to say that all of Europe uses approximately 450 BCM of gas a year.