Understanding the basis for EU fossil gas counting as sustainable in the EU taxonomy decision

Hi folks,

I’m not sure where to ask this - I hope I’ve asked in the right place - do please let me know if this isn’t the case.

I’m trying to make sense of this document here from this page Questions and Answers on the EU Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act covering certain nuclear and gas activities, where they make this claim:

The European Commission tabled its proposals based on robust evidence: the Fit for 55 Package rests on a common analytical base with energy system modelling at its core.

According to the scenarios in this modelling, natural gas will continue to play an important role in terms of consumption and generation until 2030, after which we expect a decline to 2050.

Throughout the transition of our energy system, the function of natural gas-fired electricity generation will change and will increasingly be a facilitator for the spread of renewable electricity and stable supply.

Source: Q&A: EU Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act by @EU_Commission

Are these models in the public domain and open to scrutiny in anyway? I’m aware of tools like PyPSA, and I’m wondering if there are any open models that support these claims.

Later here:

Each gas-related activity needs to meet either of the following emission thresholds:

  • lifecycle emissions are below 100gCO2e/kWh, or
  • until 2030 (date of approval of construction permit), and where renewables are not available at sufficient scale, direct emissions are below 270gCO2e/kWh or, for the activity of electricity generation, their annual direct GHG emissions must not exceed an average of 550kgCO2e/kW of the facility’s capacity over 20 years. In this case, the activity must meet a set of cumulative conditions: e.g. it replaces a facility using solid or liquid fossil fuels, the activity ensures a full switch to renewable or low-carbon gases by 2035, and a regular independent verification of compliance with the criteria is carried out.

Source: Q&A: EU Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act by @EU_Commission

Is there any gas generation that doesn’t already meet the second of these criteria?

I was under the impression that the direct emissions of 270gCO2e/kWh wasn’t all that low and would include loads of gas right now. I’m hardly the first person to think this seems a tad unambitious, but I’m not a professional energy modeller, and don’t know what data to cite to make an argument the other way.

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