3 The gas infrastructure: an efficient and reliable asset to decarbonise the energy system

3.1A well developed and efficient gas market

Since TYNDP 2018, progress has been made in terms of gas infrastructure projects enabling the EU to move towards the full achievement of the internal energy market with the implementation of 10 ­projects.

The TYNDP assessement show, looking at the 2020 situation, that the current infrastructure already achieves many of the aims of the internal energy market with some exceptions in specific areas. To investigate the investment needs on the longer term, TYNDP looks at what the FID and advanced projects1 will already allow to deliver in terms of ­security of supply, market integration and ­competition over the 20 next years, in all scenarios.

1 the majority of them is planned to be commissioned by 2020, see Figure 29

Figure 15: Projects commissioned since 2018

The European gas infrastructure can minimise or mitigate the dependence on all supply sources within the next 5 years

LNG supply

As the EU indigenous production of gas is declining and renewable gas generation will take some time to scale up, the overall dependence of the EU on gas imports increases in all scenarios in the next 5 years and starts decreasing as of 2030. However, this ­dependence only concerns the Russian supply and to a more limited extent the LNG supply.

Indeed, in all scenarios and over the whole time-­horizon, the existing gas infrastructure already ­allows for a fully effective cooperation towards LNG dependence, and in 2040, the EU shows no ­dependence at all on LNG. Furthermore, the ­assessment confirms that the EU is not dependent on any LNG specific supplier and can always find ­alternative supply, even to the largest LNG basin.

View Figure 16 - 18 on visualisation platform
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Figure 16: EU annual dependence to the LNG supply in 2025 and 2030 – existing infrastructure

Russian supply

Regarding the Russian supply, FID and advanced projects to be commissioned in the next 5 years prove to achieve an efficient cooperation between the different Member States so that all of the EU can limit the dependence on LNG to its minimum and spread it evenly among all regions of the EU2.

2 The Iberian Peninsula, Cyprus, Malta and the British isles show no dependence at all since they do not belong to any of the Eastern supply risk groups due to their geographical locations

Figure 17: EU annual dependence to the largest LNG ­basin between 2020 and 2040 – Existing infrastructure, all ­scenarios

Figure 18: Dependence to Russian supply in 2025 – Existing infrastructure (left) vs FID and Advanced projects ­commissioned by 2025 (right)

The gas infrastructure allows the EU to commercially access a wide variety of supply sources

Most of Europe can already commercially access 3 or more supply sources apart from regions that are located at the borders of the EU. However, with the decline of the indigenous conventional production, many countries face the risk to lose access to this supply source.

Nevertheless, the combination of the possible ­development of indigenous renewable sources and the commissioning of FID projects improves the situation over time, especially in both COP 21 scenarios where all countries can access more than 3 sources.

Figure 19: Commercial Supply Access – Global Ambition scenario, Existing infrastructure + FID projects

Furthermore, the assessment of different gas price configurations for the different sources shows that the gas infrastructure is capable of maximising or minimising the imports of some supply sources in order to benefit from cheap supply sources or to be protected from specific high prices.

Figure 20: Annual EU supply mix per price configuration – National Trends, 2030

The gas infrastructure, a key asset to ensure price ­convergence

The gas infrastructure is key to enable an efficient and competitive gas market. Gas prices generally observed in the EU confirm the efficiency of the ­European gas infrastructure to ensure price ­convergence.

However, the assessment of the different ­infrastructure levels confirm that FID and advanced projects can further enhance the gas price ­convergence throughout Europe up to 35 % in ­Distributed Energy in 2030. The PCI infrastructure projects can improve the convergence of the ­European gas prices too, however to a lesser extent than the Advanced infrastructure projects.

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Figure 21: Average marginal price deviation per Member State per infrastructure level (Existing, Low, Advanced) – National Trends 2030

Figure 22: Average price deviation in the EU (weighted by their respective demand)

3.2Energy systems integration potentials

Seasonal adequacy

The gas infrastructure can integrate significant volumes of intermittent renewables

The assessment confirms that the existing gas ­system can support the development of renewable gases and renewable electricity by integrating all the potential biomethane and renewable hydrogen as defined in the different scenarios, the necessary adaptations of the existing gas network are ­undertaken. The potential of the gas system ­combined with significant volumes of storage is perfectly adequate to cope with the intermittent ­renewable generation.

The gas system and its storage capacity are key to cope with the seasonality of the energy demand

On an annual basis the gas infrastructure generally offers the necessary flexibility to balance the ­seasonal inadequacy between the energy supply (rather stable over the year) and the energy ­demand (high in winter and low in summer). The ­assessment confirms that the existing gas system can store more than 30 % of the current and future winter demand. This is another key element for ­integrating very seasonal supply such as solar energy without having to curtail other forms of renewable energy generation.

In case of high demand situations under climatic stress, the role of gas storages in the gas system prove to be necessary for security of supply, since most of the gas supply delivered in peak demand situations comes from the gas storages (8,500 GWh/d to 15,500 GWh/d). In case of ­Dunkelflaute event, the share of the supply coming from the storages can go up to 40 % for 2 consecutive weeks, demonstrating the role of the gas infrastructure as a necessary infrastructure to support the development of intermittent renewables while ensuring security of energy supply for the EU.

Development of renewables bring flexibility on annual level but import ­capacities are needed to ensure security of supply in peak situations

The assessment of the gas infrastructure under Distributed Energy show that even with a significant share of indigenous renewable production, the ­storages need imports to be filled up in summer and additionally, imports are a key complement to storage withdrawals in winter.

Furthermore, the analysis of the supply mixes ­under various price configurations confirms that the gas infrastructure allows for the market to make ­arbitration between cheap and expensive supply source to minimise the cost of gas supply for the EU, and eventually, the consumers. Additional ­infrastructure also proves to be giving access to ­alternative supply sources increasing the security of gas supply in some countries.

The assessment of Low and Advanced ­infrastructure levels generally bring more flexibility to the gas ­system.

Figure 23: Annual demand and supply in TYNDP scenarios in the EU in GWh/d.

Resilience to extreme climatic events

The gas infrastructure is resilient to extreme climatic events in most parts of Europe

In all scenarios, the assessment shows that the ­existing European gas system is well developed and, in most European countries, resilient to severe climatic conditions such as a 1-in-20 peak day, a 2-week cold spell or a 2-week cold spell during a dunkelflaute event.

The gas system can therefore ensure the European consumers to be supplied with the necessary amounts of gas for the next 20 years, even in case of extremely cold temperatures and limited intermittent renewable production.

FID and Advanced projects to be commissioned in the next 5 years
almost fully mitigate the remaining gaps

While the existing infrastructure is already resilient in most part of Europe, some specific areas require the commissioning of further FID or Advanced ­infrastructure to fully mitigate their exposure to ­demand curtailment in case of a 1-in-20 peak day. Only Sweden remains exposed in Global Ambition scenario in 2030.

Existing infrastructure

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With FID and Advanced projects (commissioned by 2025)

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Figure 24: Exposure to demand curtailment in case of a 1-in-20 peak day – 2025 and 2030

The gas system and renewable gases can support the development of ­intermittent ­electricity renewable generation while ensuring a high level of security of energy supply, even during a 2-week Dunkelflaute

The assessment confirms that with the ­development of intermittent renewable power generation, the gas system is generally resilient but is under an ­increasing stress. However, biomethane production is beneficial to security of supply on an annual basis and during climatic stress due to its continuous ­operation. Power-to-gas technologies are beneficial for the security of gas supply on an annual basis too.

With the significant penetration of power-to-gas in the different scenarios after 2030, especially ­Distributed Energy, the gas supply becomes more and more variable. However, during climatic stress situations, especially during Dunkelflaute events, ­hydrogen from power-to-gas can be produced at its minimum, and the electricity demand requires large amounts of gas for power generation. In such ­extreme climatic cases for the electricity and gas sectors, the gas system, including gas storages, is key to ensure the necessary energy supply for all ­sectors.

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Figure 25: Exposure to demand curtailment in case of a 2-week Dunkelflaute – Low infrastructure level, 2040

Resilience to supply disruptions

The resilience of the gas infrastructure has significantly ­improved since ­TYNDP 2018 and the SoS simulation report

Most of Europe is protected from a possible risk of demand curtailment in case of any major supply route disruption during high demand situations.

However, for some supply route disruptions, ­infrastructure limitations keep on preventing some regions from being fully protected from a risk of ­demand curtailment. Nonetheless, projects ­submitted to the TYNDP can provide the necessary additional infrastructure to fully mitigate the ­situation.

Additionally, in some exposed areas, the ­assessment of the different scenarios show that the development of renewable gases efficiently ­contributes to security of supply and reduces the risk of demand curtailment.

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Figure 26: Exposure to demand curtailment in case of supply route Disruption during a peak day – 2020, ­Existing ­infrastructure

FID and Advanced projects can achieve the resilience of the gas system to ­future supply route disruptions by 2025

Only Finland remains exposed to a certain extent in case of disruption of all imports to the Baltic States and Finland.

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Figure 27: Exposure to demand curtailment in case of supply route Disruption during a peak day – 2030, ­Advanced ­infrastructure

Resilience to the Single-Largest Infrastructure Disruption

The resilience of the gas infrastructure improves significantly over time with the commissioning of FID and advanced projects.

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Figure 28: Exposure to demand curtailment in case of Single-Largest Infrastructure Disruption during a peak day

3.3Infrastructure gaps can be addressed by 2025

Almost all infrastructure gaps can be addressed in the next 5 years by projects already initiated

Since TYNDP 2018, the commissioning of a number of projects has improved the resilience of the ­European gas system, however some infrastructure gaps remain in certain regions under certain ­scenarios.

TYNDP 2020 confirms that projects having already made their final investment decision (FID) and ­advanced projects to be commissioned in the next 5 years address efficiently most of the ­infrastructure needs to reach an effective level of cooperation ­between the different countries and allows the gas system to:

  • Reduce its dependence towards all supply sources to its minimum,
  • Provide access to minimum 3 supply sources to most of Europe by 2030 and to all countries by 2040,
  • Minimise/maximise the access to the different supply sources depending on their price,
  • Allow for an efficient price convergence throughout the EU,
  • Be resilient to all climatic events, including a 1-in-20 years peak day,
  • Be resilient to most of the supply route disruption including the Ukraine route, even in case of a peak day,
  • Be resilient to a 2-week Dunkelflaute, even in Distributed Energy scenario in 2040, confirming the ability of the gas system to support the development of intermittent renewables,
  • Be resilient to most Single-Largest Infrastructure disruptions.

However, a limited number of countries could still face some infrastructure limitations in some ­scenarios and in certain years:

  • Finland in case of disruption of all imports from Russia towards the Baltic States and Finland,
  • Sweden, in case of extreme climatic conditions in Global Ambition scenario in 2030 as of 2030.

The gas system proves to be resilient to cope with extreme temperatures and supply disruptions, while supporting intermittent renewables. These features of the gas system are key to achieve the European climate and energy objectives by ­supporting decarbonisation and energy system ­integration as set out by the European Green Deal.

Figure 29: Commissioning date of FID and Advanced projects