- No particular tension in sight for gas network
- Fleet of gas-fired power plants ready to support the electricity network
- Fluidity of gas network reinforced by roll-out of new capacities and new infrastructures, as well as by balancing mechanisms
Thierry Trouvé, GRTgaz Chief Executive Officer, and Dominique Mockly, CEO of TIGF, today presented the “Winter Outlook 2016 / 2017”, which has for the first time been jointly produced by France’s two gas transmission network operators. Based on their provisional operating conditions and factoring in the network entry capacities and storage fill levels at the end of the injection campaign, the network operators are not anticipating any particular tension over the coming winter. In the event of a cold spell, the existing gas infrastructure should enable the suppliers to cover French consumption with an excess of 680 GWh/d, equivalent to an average daily output of 28 GW.
Since the start of November 2016, record levels of demand have been placed upon the gas-fired power plants (combined cycle and cogeneration plants) to support the electricity network (power in excess of 6.5 GW regularly required, with peaks in excess of 8.5 GW, and a level of 514 GWh of daily consumption on 7th November specifically). As we approach a tricky winter for the electricity network, the gas network is demonstrating its key role in the security and continuity of France’s energy supply. On the one hand, it contributes to electricity production in order to meet requirements in periods of high demand, and on the other, it supplies gas heating networks which, by their very nature, do not increase the demand for electricity at peak times. This situation illustrates the key role of gas heating solutions (condensing boilers, gas micro-cogeneration, etc.) in reducing the climate sensitivity of the electrical network and thereby contributing to its balancing over the winter period.
GRTgaz and TIGF stress that the optimum functioning of the gas network in winter is also dependent on optimised and diversified management of supplies by the gas suppliers, primarily in order to maintain sufficient withdrawal capacities throughout the winter.
France can also rely on the increased fluidity of the gas network resulting from a policy of sustained investment over the past decade, with the aim of reinforcing security of supply and the gas sector’s competitiveness (over 7 billion euros have been invested respectively by the operators since 2005). The introduction on 1 October 2015 of the European network balancing code of the gas network has also encouraged the market’s actors to take greater responsibility.