The Impact of Wind Power on European Natural Gas Markets

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Due to its clean burning properties, low investment costs and flexibility in production, natural gas is often put forward as the ideal partner fuel for wind power and other renewable sources of electricity generation with strongly variable output. This working paper examines three vital questions associated with this premise: 1) Is natural gas indeed the best partner fuel for wind power? 2) If so, to what extent will an increasing market share of wind power in European electricity generation affect demand for natural gas in the power sector? and 3) Considering the existing European natural gas markets, is natural gas capable of fulfilling this role of partner for renewable sources of electricity?