For the first time, GRDF, GRTgaz, SPEGNN and TIGF are publishing a joint multiannual forward estimate for gas demand within France. Extending all the way to 2035, this forward vision fits into the framework of the law on the energy transition for green growth. From now on, managers of gas transmission and distribution networks will be responsible for producing this reference document on the prospects for the development of gas consumption and the production of renewable gas.
In 2015, gas consumption in France amounted to 461 TWh, 53% of which was used in residential and service sector buildings, 36% in industry and 11% in electricity production. In 2035, the operators estimate that the volume of gas consumed is likely to be between 336 TWh/year and 516 TWh/year, with a reference scenario of 385 TWh/year. Consistent with the objectives of the energy transition law, this predicted fall in consumption is primarily attributable to expected gains in energy efficiency and the deployment of ever more efficient and economical equipment.
However, the development of new uses for gas (conversions in industry, biomethane, LPG, etc.) is expected to counterbalance this trend. The economic and environmental benefits of gas (lower emissions of CO2 and particles) make it part of a future solution alongside renewable gases that will cover at least 10% of consumption by 2030. Gas infrastructure operators are therefore emphasising the need for a clear framework and tailored supporting measures in order to develop biomethane production facilities, support the gas sector’s mobility and encourage the development of new generations of renewable gases. The level of demand for gas will also depend on the development of the energy mix for the production of electricity, most notably the share of nuclear and of hydraulic dam activity.
These days, the gas distribution and transmission networks are becoming “smarter” and are being designed to accommodate new forms of decentralised energy production such as advanced equipment for micro-generation, gas heat pumps and fuel cells. These decentralised future solutions are driving the emergence of more dynamic network management, as part of the logic of the circular economy and of complementarity between gas and electric systems. By 2035, the number of homes heated by gas is likely to have risen by roughly 1.4 million, while the square meterage of service sector premises heated by gas is set to grow by 100 million over the same period.
The 2016 multiannual forward estimate constitutes a transparent solution designed to illuminate the dialogue on the strategic issues related to the energy systems of tomorrow.