National Grid Gas is the system operator and transmission owner of Great Britain’s National Transmission system for the delivery of natural gas around the nation. It oversees the transportation, supply and demand balancing, maintenance, regulatory compliance, and operations of a network that includes approximately 7,660 kilometres of pipeline. Each year, a the conclusion of its annual planning cycle, National Grid Gas publishes its Gas Ten Year Statement to provide customers, agencies, investors, and others within the industry with a better understanding of the future for the National Transmission System.
The 2019 National Grid Gas Ten Year Statement outlines the factors that will drive anticipated changes in how National Gas plans and operates the National Transmission System over the coming decade. It also sets out some of the key ways that National Gas will both respond to those changes and actively work to grow to address service needs, asset management, legislative changes, and the move towards true environmental sustainability.
Satisfying Changing Customer Needs
As the needs of its customers evolve, National Grid Gas is implementing a number of new initiatives to ensure that its planning and operations meet those needs effectively and efficiently. Those long and short term needs are developed more fully in the Gas Future Operability Planning documents. One of the initiatives undertaken to meet customers’ needs was the launching in January 2019 of an online gas connections portal to improve the facilitation of connection applications and reserve capacity applications. National Grid Gas is also developing a collection of standardised connections in order to make it faster, and more affordable, to provide gas service to customers. In addition, the National Transmission System is implementing a range of new connections for biomethane and compressed natural gas in order to provide service to an even wider range of customers. These initiatives, and others like them, are resulting in a notable growth in the number of National Transmission System customers from an increasingly diverse customer base. Finally, National Grid Gas has adopted the use of annual Future Energy Scenarios to identify and plan for changes in estimated consumer demand over a 30 year span. The 2019 Future Energy Scenario lays out four potential planning courses for the National Transmission System, in addition to a sensitivity analysis for the national goal of reaching the target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050.
Complying with Changes in Legislation
Keeping up with and adhering to changes in legislative and regulatory rules forms an essential part of how National Grid Gas plans, uses, and operates the assets of the National Transmission System. A number of improvements to the System’s compressor sites have been completed as part of National Grid Gas’s RIIO-2 (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs) business plan that it will be submitting to the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets for the 2021 to 2026 period. By 2023, all European countries must be in compliance with the mandatory minimum emission standards set by the Industrial Emissions Directive. Since 2018, National Grid Gas has undertaken the work necessary to ensure that the 22 of its compressor sites that fall under the Industrial Emissions Directive’s parameters are in compliance. Finally, National Grid Gas is itself taking a leadership role in helping to shape the nation’s regulatory agenda. As an active, contributing partner in the Institute for Gas and Engineering Management’s industry work group, National Grid Gas has taken a major role in reviewing Great Britain’s gas quality specifications. These specifications aim to bring into the nation’s gas network a diverse mix of supply sources.
Meeting Environmental Sustainability Goals
Ensuring the responsible curation of the planet’s natural resources forms a core part of National Grid Gas operations and planning. Whether used for electrical energy, gas engineering, transportation, or industry, natural gas plays an essential role in mitigating the risk and reducing the costly effects of climate change by facilitating the transition to carbon-free energy future. When, in June 2019, the government established a goal of reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by the year 2050, the National Transmission System launched several initiatives and updated its policies and practices in order to help the nation reach that target. Perhaps one of the important of these was the start of the Hydrogen in the National System programme, which works towards addressing the challenges of integrating hydrogen into the System. Finally, as the UK further transitions from self-sufficiency in the production of natural gas from the UK Continental Shelf, and draws more of its energy supplies from the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Europe, and the global market, National Grid Gas has undertaken a modeling plan to compare the different rates of production and consumption of natural gas by 2030 over four different scenarios. These scenarios are crucial to mapping out a path to a reliable, secure, and sustainable energy future for the nation and the planet.
Responsibly Managing System Assets
The National Transmission System continues to undertake maintenance and replacement of assets and equipment in order to comply with all applicable safety regulations and minimise risk to the network. Regularly attending to the upkeep of components, and upgrading ageing components, allows National Grid Gas to ensure reliable, safe, and efficient delivery of service to its growing customer base. One of the more exciting initiatives that National Grid Gas will be adopting in the future is the use of a new set of Methodology for Network Output Measures. These measures employ a monetised awareness to risk management, to ensure that investments in assets are strategically targeted and meet the investment outcomes set by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets and other stakeholders in 2018–2019.
These variables, along with other factors, provide National Grid Gas with the parameters for the Network Development Process that is outlined in the Gas Ten Year Statement. This Process is a formal, three-stage review that drives internal decision-making about the future of the National Transmission System, its objectives, and how it is operated. Factoring into this review are evaluations of drivers of change, which include the immediate and long-term needs of customers, changes in legislation, environmental goals, and asset management. In addition, however, the Network Development Process considers network capability over different time frames, system operator capability to develop non-asset solutions to challenges, and ongoing developments such as changes in technology.
Because the outline of operational and asset-based plans that is described in Gas Ten Year Plan is produced every year, National Grid Gas has adopted review, planning, and transparency principles to assist in the annual process of review and forecasting that goes into developing the document. These principles including seeking the views and opinions of customers and stakeholders, providing them multiple opportunities to engage in the annual process, and responding actively and comprehensively to feedback about the process. As National Grid Gas looks to the future needs of the nation and the planet, it understands that a rigorous, accurate, and flexible plan for that future is essential.