Gas Grids to support the REPowerEU Plan and strengthen Europe’s security of gas supply
The need to react and adapt quickly to an ever-changing energy landscape has never been more evident than during the last few months. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission (EC) published its REPowerEU Plan, to enable a secure energy supply by ending dependence on Russian gas and to accelerate the roll-out of renewable energy. The expedited legislative procedure to publish the Gas Storage Regulation, expected to enter into force in July 2022, aims to address current security of supply risks and gas markets volatility.
Immediate solutions and short-term measures for crisis management and EU supplies diversification
With respect to disruptions to supply or to infrastructure, ENTSOG continues to play an important and significant role in the context of cooperation between the gas transmission system operators (TSOs), to manage emergencies and minimise potential negative impacts. ENTSOG has established specific groups (Regional Coordination, or ReCo, Teams) which are groups of TSOs assigned to supply corridors, providing relevant information via ENTSOG to other stakeholders and EU bodies, such as EC, the Gas Coordination Group and the Member States. ENTSOG publishes the Summer and Winter Supply Outlooks and supports EC in risk assessment of a potential Russian gas supply disruption scenario, as well as undertaking short-term analysis of the preparedness of the gas infrastructure for the upcoming gas seasons. ENTSOG provides frequently updated data in its gas flow and seasonal outlook dashboards.
The REPowerEU Plan reinforces the need for gas TSOs’ preparedness and resilience, including the acceleration of technical measures to increase reverse flow capacities from west to east for the upcoming winter, and the consideration of technical requirements on gas composition.
Mid-to-longer term objectives: Gas Grids to decarbonise and enable transport of renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen
The TSOs will facilitate the REPowerEU ambitions by providing future-proof infrastructure. The REPowerEU Plan requires the diversification of gas pipeline routes, including a higher load factor on existing pipelines, in the short term. By 2027, it aims to adapt existing gas networks to biomethane and renewable hydrogen. In the longer term, Europe requires the development of pan-European hydrogen infrastructure, enabling integration of hydrogen supply and demand centres, to meet the target by 2030 of 10 million tonnes of imported hydrogen and 10 million tonnes of hydrogen produced in the EU. Therefore, the objectives of the ‘Fit for 55’ and Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Market Package is to step up the rollout of biomethane and hydrogen, leverage existing gas networks, encourage investment and enable the development of (re)dedicated infrastructure.
EC’s 36th European Gas Regulatory Forum, also known as the Madrid Forum, concluded in May 2022 that improvements should be made towards a more integrated infrastructure planning at national level, including the future hydrogen sector, and an alignment between the network planning procedures at European and national levels.
The Forum also noted the importance of using existing infrastructure by identifying and repurposing existing suitable networks for the transport of hydrogen.
Taking cognisance of the REPowerEU Plan objectives, the ENTSOG TYNDP 2022 will include new or repurposed infrastructure projects to transport hydrogen, projects for retrofitting infrastructure to further integrate hydrogen, and biomethane development projects. These developments to support the EU energy in meeting the Paris agreement and Green Deal objectives are regularly discussed at ENTSOG’s Advisory Panels for Future Gas Grids, with participation by CEOs of Brussels-based associations of gas, biomethane, hydrogen and electricity value chains. These Panels commenced in 2021 and the discussions continue into 2022 to provide a platform to exchange ideas on how to best repurpose and retrofit the gas grids by 2050.
Additionally, the technical challenges and feasibility to handle gas quality in fluctuating blends, as well as pure hydrogen grids in our future gas system are discussed by stakeholders in the Prime Movers’ Group on Gas Quality and Hydrogen Handling. ENTSOG also facilitates the roundtable on clean hydrogen transmission and distribution, as part of the EC’s European Clean Hydrogen Alliance.
Working together to make a better energy future
We joined ENTSOG as President and General Director in 2021 and 2022 respectively, both with the same goal – to maintain and further strengthen the association’s role to contribute to a secure, sustainable, and affordable energy future for all European citizens.
We recognise that transformation of gas networks can be successful only by working together with stakeholders along the whole gas value chain.
We, along with the gas TSOs, are ready to provide the practical solutions needed for short to medium term security of supply measures, whilst also addressing the longer-term goal of integrating hydrogen and biomethane at an industrial scale into our grids. ENTSOG will continue to be proactive, providing technical expertise on gas transmission related topics on a European level, as it has been demonstrated over the years. We invite you to visit the ENTSOG website and learn more about our current and planned activities.