BNetzA Approves Scenario Framework for National Gas Grid Development Plan 2014

The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has approved the scenario framework drawn up by the gas transmission system operators (TSOs) as a basis for the national gas grid development plan 2014 (NEP Gas 2014).

1. Legal Background

Section 15 a para. 1 EnWG (German Energy Act) stipulates that the German gas transmission system operators (TSOs) have to draw up a joint national gas grid development plan (NEP Gas) every year and submit it to BNetzA. NEP Gas has to contain all the measures and steps for an optimisation, enhancement and expansion of the gas grids that meet the demand and ensure the security of supply over the next ten years and are necessary for a safe and reliable operation of the grids. In particular, NEP Gas has to list all the gas grid expansion measures deemed necessary to be carried out within the next three years and a timetable for the execution of all grid expansion measures. In preparation for NEP Gas a so-called scenario framework has to be developed and approved by BNetzA.

2. NEP Gas 2013

Based on the scenario framework for NEP Gas 2013, which BNetzA approved in October 2012, the seventeen German TSOs drafted NEP Gas 2013. BNetzA launched a consultation on NEP Gas 2013 and is currently in the process of reviewing the comments.

3. Scenario Framework for NEP Gas 2014

Parallel to the NEP Gas 2013 procedure, the TSOs have developed the scenario framework for NEP Gas 2014. They point out that the scenario framework 2014 has much in common with the two previous scenario frameworks for NEPs Gas 2012 and 2013, as there were no major energy-related developments that required a completely new approach. The scenario framework, however, extends the outlook to 2024 and includes new information and findings gleaned from the consultations.

As in the last two years, the scenario framework 2014 comprises three scenarios, which describe the development of the gas demand in Germany over a ten-year period, a high, medium and low gas demand scenario. The medium gas demand scenario is again considered the most likely one by the gas TSOs. The scenarios work with assumptions regarding the ongoing and planned investments in the grid infrastructure, production plants and storage facilities as well as capacity at interconnection points with neighbouring countries.

On request of BNetzA and in view of suggestions made in the consultation process the scenario framework contains several alternatives for modelling gas demand for  2014. The TSOs point out that the modelling alternatives are based on the three scenarios, however, can depart from the scenarios in order to answer specific questions. In a letter to BNetzA the TSOs remarked that certain modelling alternatives conflict with the assumption of a declining gas demand in Germany and the assumption of biogas input.

“Compared with the scenario framework for NEP Gas 2013 the framework for NEP Gas 2014 focuses on a secure supply of the gas distribution system operators”, Jochen Homann, President of BNetzA commented. “In the previous winters gas capacities were low, in particular in Southern Germany”, he said, demanding a grid expansion, which in the long-run ensured  a gas supply at any time.

4. Next Steps

Based on the approved NEP Gas 2014 scenario framework the TSOs will determine the need for grid expansion until 2024. They have until 1 April 2014 to submit a draft NEP Gas 2014 to BNetzA. This will be preceded by a first consultation of the draft by the TSOs.

Source: Federal Network Agency

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