BNetzA Approves Scenario Framework for Gas Grid Development Plan

Yesterday, the Federal Network Agency approved the scenario framework for the national gas grid development plan (NEP Gas). The scenario framework has been drawn up by the gas transmission system operators as a basis for the national NEP Gas, which they have to present to BNetzA for the first time on 1 April 2012.

The gas transmission system operators announced to publish a draft of the NEP Gas 2013 to 2022 on their joint website on 21 February 2012.

The scenario framework has already undergone a consultation process. It contains not only assumptions on the development of the generation, the supply and the consumption of gas, it also takes into consideration planned investments in the gas grid infrastructure, e.g. gas-fired power plants and storage facilities, as well as the impact of possible supply disruptions, BNetzA points out.

The scenario framework comprises three main scenarios that differ in their assumptions regarding the consumption by end consumers and the amount of gas needed for electricity generation. The scenario framework has been discussed and coordinated between the gas and electricity transmission system operators and BNetzA in order to ensure that the basic assumptions regarding the fleet of gas-fired power plants in the gas scenario framework does not differ from the assumptions in the scenario framework for the electricity grid development, which BNetzA approved in December 2011.

The assumptions regarding the need for gas for the generation of electricity in the “low and medium gas need scenarios” are derived from the forecasts by the electricity transmission system operators concerning the installed gas power plant capacities in the future. Deviating from the electricity scenario framework, the  “high gas need scenario” for the gas transmission system assumes that a large number of new gas-fired power plants will be connected to the grid while at the same time many coal-fired power plants will be shut down after forty years of operation due to a lack of economic viability.

Estimates concerning the consumption of gas by end consumers in the three different scenarios range from 9 to 15 and 23%.

Despite the decrease in the need for gas in all three scenarios, it could not be concluded that there was no need for the expansion of the gas grids, BNetzA pointed out. There were considerable regional differences with respect to gas consumption arising from differing demographic and economic developments, the agency explained. Besides, the connection of new gas-fired power plants and storage facilities as well as a lasting shortage of capacities as a result of a merger of gas market areas could require an expansion. Reliable information if and where the gas grids needed to be expanded would be provided by grid simulations the gas transmission system operators would carry out as part of the gas grid development plan, BNetzA said.

The “low and medium gas need scenarios” expect a decreasing need for gas imports, whereas the “high need scenario” assumes a rising need for gas imports in view of an increasing depletion of national resources and the assumed rising need for gas for the electricity generation.

Source: Federal Network AgencyNetzentwicklungsplan-Gas

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