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Blog post: Snam will be “Net Zero” in 2040

The company has taken a precise commitment and laid out a roadmap to reach the goal in advance compared to its sector

 

Reaching net zero "Scope 1" and "Scope 2" emissions in 2040 is the objective that Snam has publicly announced to combat climate change and ensure the sustainable development in its activities. Climate change is one of the most important challenges of this century and it is essential to achieve the goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement, to contain global warming to within 1.5°C to avoid irreparable damages to our planet. For this reason, Snam has set 2040 as its target, in advance compared to that of its sector and within the framework of the commitments of the European Union. As the CEO, Marco Alverà, comments, the target outlined in the company’s 2020-2024 strategic plan "opens a new phase in the history of Snam, which in the climate challenge is ideally positioned to play a role of enabler of the energy transition, promoting decarbonisation with a long-term vision consistent with its purpose and Italian and European objectives”. The Green Deal plan aims to make Europe the first continent, by 2050, to remove at least as much CO2 from the atmosphere as it produces. A target that it also shares with Canada, Japan, South Korea, and which is once again the same for the United States of President Joe Biden. China has set the goal for 2060.

 

For Snam, the first significant step for cutting emissions in 2030 - Commitments in ESG

 

To reach "net zero" by 2040, the group has raised the CO2 eq. emissions reduction target (Scope 1 and Scope 2) to 50% by 2030 (based on 2018 emissions), while previously aiming at 40% compared to 2016. Snam has also committed to reduce indirect "Scope 3" emissions by strengthening collaboration with its subsidiaries and its supply chain. In addition to climate-related initiatives, the company also monitors all ESG factors (Environment, Social, Governance) through a Scorecard which aims for the achievement of 22 quantitative targets in 13 areas.

Less emissions, greater efficiency and innovative solutions: the role of natural gasSnam is aware of its role as a facilitator of the country's energy transition towards a decarbonised economy. For this reason, in addition to the continuous strengthening of its core business, there have been more and more investments and efforts directed towards the development of green gases, and the introduction of new business sectors such as sustainable mobility and energy efficiency. In fact, the company envisages the development of activities and projects for the energy transition, key in the 2020-2024 strategic plan, that focus both on biomethane and  hydrogen, for which the gas infrastructure network can be adapted competitively, contributing to the country's decarbonisation process.

 

New businesses for the energy transition

Sustainable mobility

 

The development of green mobility in Italy can benefit from the distribution of natural gas and biomethane, which represent an immediate solution to decarbonise transport. Italy is leader in Europe for cars running on CNG (compressed natural gas), a technology that abates particulate matter and nitrogen oxides and significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions compared to traditional fuels such as diesel and gasoline. Biomethane, obtained from the organic fraction of urban waste or from agricultural and agri-food waste, is a particularly effective solution because it emits almost no levels of fine dust (as does conventional natural gas) and further reduces CO2. The emissions of a biomethane vehicle are comparable to those of an electric vehicle powered by green energy. To power the trucks with liquefied biomethane, Snam is developing a project that involves the construction of a micro-liquefaction plant on the Italian territory, capable of supporting both the increase in the circulating fleet of natural gas trucks - from the current one thousand up to 15,000 units - that the development of activities to support the marine market and the first LNG trains.

 

Energy efficiency

 

The European Union has identified energy efficiency as one of the three pillars of its Clean Energy for all Europeans strategy, with a goal of improving efficiency by 2030 by 32.5%, compared to 1990 levels. In 2018, Snam decided to enter this sector as part of its efforts to promote decarbonisation and a better use of energy in the areas where it operates.

In Europe, the heating and cooling of buildings is responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. The efficiency measures make it possible to use energy in a more rational way, reducing consumption and therefore energy and environmental costs for citizens, businesses and public entities. The energy upgrading of an apartment building, for example, allows to reduce energy consumption by up to 50%, CO2 emissions and fine dust in the air.

To this end, Snam, together with CDP Equity, launched Renovit, the Italian platform to promote further growth in the sector and contribute to the country's sustainable development and energy transition. Specifically, Renovit intervenes on condominiums, companies and public administration, contributing to the achievement of the national energy efficiency targets by 2030 and to the decarbonisation of the economic system. In fact, through its activities, it allows to reduce energy consumption up to 70%, CO2 emissions and fine dust in the air.

 

Hydrogen, the key element for decarbonization

 

Hydrogen can represent the key element for  decarbonisation. Hydrogen, which is estimated to become competitive with fossil fuels in various applications within a few years, is not only the most abundant element on earth, but when produced from water via electrolysis (green hydrogen) it does not generate greenhouse gas emissions , nor emissions harmful to humans and the environment.

Suitable for being transported in existing gas pipelines, to act as an efficient and economic means for energy storage and to promote the decarbonisation of various industrial sectors and heavy transport, hydrogen is establishing itself as a pillar of global environmental and energy strategies.

Low-carbon hydrogen can be used for industrial applications in steel, petrochemical and food sectors, and thanks to the support it enjoys, it is also starting to in mobility. Hydrogen can also be used in fuel cells to produce electricity.

In 2019, first in Europe, Snam experimented with the introduction of a blend of 10% hydrogen and natural gas into its network. The experiment, which successfully took place in Contursi Terme, in the province of Salerno, allowed to power, for over a month, a pasta factory in the area, producing what Bloomberg has named "the first hydrogen-powered pasta".

Currently, approximately 70% of Snam's pipeline network is compatible with the transport of hydrogen and half of the 7.4 billion euros of investments envisaged in the 2020-2024 strategic plan will be aimed at making all the infrastructure capable of transporting increasing quantities of hydrogen, with a  view to making Italy a European "hub" for the transport of the green molecule.

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31 March 2021 - 15:26 CEST