On Friday 15 February, transmission system operators (TSOs) TenneT and Gasunie presented their ‘Infrastructure Outlook 2050’ to Ed Nijpels, chairman of the Climate Council. The Infrastructure Outlook 2050 is a joint study into how the energy system in the Netherlands and Germany can continue to function properly in the future.
The Infrastructure Outlook 2050 shows the requirements and the restrictions relating to a future CO2-neutral energy system. It is part of the Dutch draft Climate Agreement, in which system integration plays an important role. The Paris climate targets (COP21) were used as the starting point.
The existing electricity and gas infrastructures will play a crucial role in the future energy system. Electricity and gas complement each other well. Transporting electricity directly to the sectors where electrification is feasible remains the best option. An option for the other sectors may be (sustainable) gases such as green hydrogen.
As 2050 approaches there will be even more opportunities for storing electricity. Seasonal storage is reliant on gas buffers alone due to far greater volumes involved. This could provide the answer to prolonged periods of cold weather (meaning high demand) and little electricity being produced from sun or wind.
Hydrogen may play a major role in the future energy system. Large quantities of hydrogen could be made from (surplus) solar and wind energy, also known as power-to-gas (P2G). It is important for P2G installations to be positioned close to sustainable electricity production facilities, thus avoiding the high costs associated with expanding the electricity network.
All the scenarios indicate a significant increase in the necessity for electricity transport, through electrification of the market and generating energy sustainably. This will ultimately lead to a considerable increase in the use of high-voltage grids. Expanding the electricity transport grids is vital in order to prevent overload.
Conditions for a successful energy transition
Political willingness to build new electricity grid connections to facilitate predicted growth in demand by end users as well as the creation of a clear, supportive, regulatory framework;
Creation of a clear, supportive, regulatory framework for the integration of P2G (hydrogen) installations into the system to add the necessary flexibility and to avoid unnecessary costs for grid expansions.
Gasunie and TenneT will work, with the help of distribution system operators, on an integrated infrastructure study 2030-2050. This integral infrastructure study 2030 – 2050 is also specified as one of the agreements in the draft Climate Agreement. This study is to be available by 2021 and will provide more clarity on the trends in demand for electricity and gases. The study will also include the findings from the Regional Energy Strategies (RES). Source: TenneT