Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse answered a question from the Scottish Green Party’s Ross Greer on 5 July on whether the proportion of energy generated in Scotland from liquefied natural gas (LNG) is compatible with a climate emergency.
Wheelhouse explained that production of natural gas from the North Sea is declining but remains important for energy system security and flexibility.
Currently, 79% of Scottish households use mains gas as their primary heating fuel. Moreover, LNG plays a crucial role in Scottish Independent Undertakings located in Oban, Campbeltown, Wick, Thurso and Stornoway. Gas networks in these areas not connected by pipeline to the rest of the Scottish gas network.
Looking to the future he explained that, in a ‘hydrogen future’ scenario as set out in a scenario in the Scottish Energy Strategy, increased gas demand would be met from a variety of sources by 2050. Although hydrogen can be produced from electrolysing water, it can also be produced from LNG in a process called steam methane reformation. This process is more cost-effective and can be carbon neutral if combined with carbon capture technologies.
Wheelhouse also alluded to the fact that innovative ways of using hydrocarbons are emerging and can be derived from bio sources.