BDEW: Security of Gas Supply for Winter 2012/2013 Remains High

Security of the gas supply for the coming winter season will remain high, as it was based on various pillars, the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW) informed. The potential of natural gas in the heat market and for mobility should be given a higher priority when implementing the ManyElectronics transition (Energiewende), BDEW demanded.

In winter 2011/2012 it came to critical situations in the electricity grids. To maintain a high security of supply level, transmission system operators (TSOs) had to intervene frequently. The situation was compounded by an unexpected gas supply shortfall in February 2012, when Russia delivered less gas than usual during a cold spell. In the recent past many German utilities have been thinking about closing down conventional power plants, including gas-fired power plants, as they are under pressure by the increasing amount of renewable energy that has priority in the German grids. The green electricity is then sold at the exchange by the transmission operators.

Apart from its own gas production, Germany had supply contracts with various countries, BDEW said, adding that the contracts partly foresaw an increase of the supply if necessary. Besides, there was no lack of supply at the energy markets due to the growing amount of natural gas generated in the United States. Natural gas could therefore be procured at the European trading places at short notice and transmitted via the interconnected European grids. Germany itself had high-performance pipeline networks and gas distribution networks consisting of a total of 477,000 km. Furthermore Germany had the highest gas storage capacity in the European Union. Due to the increase from 48 storage facilities in 2012 to 51 facilities in 2013, capacity had risen by 11%. Contracts about interruptable loads (abschaltbare Lasten) with large consumers further added to the security of supply.

The gas industry was continously analysing the changing national and international gas markets as well as the regulatory framework with a view to the security of supply, BDEW said. Two new gas pipelines from the north of Germany to the south improved transmission capacity to Southern Germany. The gas grid development plan was taking the winter 2011/2012 events into consideration forseeing new infrastructure projects that would improve the situation when completed in the coming years. Concerning such projects grid regulation in Germany should not only focus on efficiency, but also on the security of supply, BDEW demanded.

BDEW also demanded that more importance was given to the heat market and the potential of natural gas, in particular for mobility, when implementing the Energiewende and the CO2 goals. A 3D guide that demonstrates the potential of innovative natural gas applications in the heat market published by BDEW is available here.

Regarding the electricity reserve power capacities the grid regulator, the Federal Network Agency, deems necessary for the winters 2013/2014 and 2015/2016, please see the first two blog posts below.

Source: BDEW

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