We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
On 16 February the Commission adopted a package on the security of supply, including a legislative proposal, a strategy for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas storage, as well as a strategy on heating and cooling. The package supports the first pillar of the Energy Union, which focuses on energy security, solidarity and trust among Member States. The JRC carried out extensive analyses and modelling for the impact assessment accompanying the regulation and two strategies; it also provided background information.
The JRC revised the proposed security of gas supply regulation, the strategy for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas storage, and the heating and cooling strategy. Regarding the new regulation on security of gas supply, the JRC contributed to the design of the new infrastructure standard, to the design of templates to perform risk assessments, preventive action plans and emergency plans, and to the design of EU gas regions. All this support was possible thanks to the experience acquired over the last five years reviewing national risk assessments and plans, gathering information and analysing the improvements made in the EU gas transport infrastructure, and backing up the assessment of the stress tests carried out in 2014 in view of the EU Energy Security Strategy.
JRC estimates and models were used for the assessment of the impact of LNG and underground gas storage to the gas supply system. Particularly, the analysis of LNG potential to cope with gas crises showed the clear improvement when cooperation among countries takes place, and specific projects of common interest are deployed. Regarding the heating and cooling strategy, the JRC contributed in particular to the review of the national practices for heat planning.
Analysis and modelling results
To support the new legislative proposal, the JRC scientists analysed the improvements made in the EU gas transport infrastructure between 2009 and 2014, outlining a description of the changes in the EU infrastructure by focusing on LNG terminals, underground gas storage facilities and cross-border interconnection points. Results show that Regulation 994/2010 on security of gas supply has been one of the main drivers of the increased ability of Europe to cope with gas crises.
The JRC has also analysed different crisis scenarios to assess the improved performance of the EU transmission grid. In particular, eight scenarios were analysed: the partial cut of supply from Russia through Ukraine and the total cut of gas from Russia during a period of 30 and 90 days, in 2009 and in 2014. The results show that in all cases the overall amount of unserved gas in 2014 decreased at EU level as well as at the Member State level. The already deployed new infrastructures in the EU would better support shortages of supply from Eastern Europe pipeline routes. However, the impact of the simulated gas crises could still be severe for some isolated countries or for those dependent on a single supply source, such as Bulgaria, Finland or the Baltic region. For the Baltics and Poland the situation will certainly improve because of the new LNG facilities in Klapédia (Lithuania), operational since January 2015, and in Świnoujście (Poland), operational by 2016.
Modelling tools supporting energy security analyses
On the modelling side, the JRC's applied simulation tool GEMFLOW, was used. This tool is under continued development to better integrate into the simulation time-dependent parameters, fuel switching capabilities of the gas-fired power plants, and protected customers, who are particularly vulnerable in case of gas disruption, such as households that use gas for heating purposes.
Furthermore, the JRC is continuously upgrading the "EU gas assessment tool" (EUGas), a full hydraulic model of the transmission and transit grids of the EU describing the geography, topology and properties of each relevant component of the national systems (i.e., production sites, storage facilities, LNG terminals, compressor stations, cross-border points and consumption off-takes), also allowing to assess the behaviour of the grid under different demand situations and disruption scenarios. These models can be used to frame a sectorial analysis, such as the EU gas infrastructure, in order to understand how competition among energy sources could perform.