Model for the future

Many factors must be taken into account for power-to-gas plants to combine the gas and electricity systems expediently in future. Operation depends on the actual feed-in of renewable energy sources, the electrical load, the current flows in the electrical system, the gas flows in the transmission system and the filling levels of gas storage tanks. Amprion and Open Grid Europe are particularly well positioned to perform this crucial coordination task – because the project partners are already responsible for controlling energy flows via their lines and operating stable systems.

The energy transported via the gas and electricity lines is never owned by the “forwarders”, the network operators. They make their infrastructure available to all market participants on a non-discriminatory basis and are remunerated for their transport services via a regulated network charge. This important feature of the liberalised energy market is called third party access. It can and must continue to be in place when the electricity and gas infrastructures are coupled at system level.

Sector coupling at system level involves transformation between two regulated areas – the electricity transmission network and the gas transmission network. It is planned that the transmission system operators will be responsible for the planning, construction and operation of the sector transformer, i.e. the power-to-gas plant. This will be financed through network charges and means that no state support system, allocation system or similar will be needed for these new network elements.

As the “bridging capacity” between the systems is limited, the network operators plan to auction it off to traders or direct customers. The revenues from the auctions are offset against the costs by the network operators and reduce the network charges. This principle has been applied for years in the electricity system for cross-border interconnectors and cross-border gas transport capacities.