Gas distribution networks have grown and developed into its present structures over the last 40 to 50 years. At present, it is becoming increasingly apparent that these networks no longer comply in all respects with the demands of the users. This is not primarily a capacity related problem, as it has become clear that gas consumption, due to increasing energy efficiency and energy savings, is usually still relatively low compared to the possibilities offered by the network. The problems which arise are more related to how the network can be used, the flexibility of the network, and the product and service differentiation which can be offered to the end user. A preliminary study has been carried out in order to further explore and define these issues. The problem definition of the study can be summarized as follows: "From a technical, economic and regulative perspective, what changes can be expected in future regarding the requirements which the gas distribution networks will have to comply with, and how can these changes be implemented?" . The necessary information was mainly acquired via interactive brainstorming sessions with various stakeholders, such as staff personnel from power companies, other utilities, telecom and ICT companies, universities, R&D institutes, and engineers. During these brainstorming sessions, wide use was made of interactive ICT facilities . The first question which arose was: "What are the most important developments which will affect gas supplies in the coming decades, according to the parties involved?". Important issues which surfaced in this regard include the decreasing availability of gas, growing social concerns regarding the safety of the gas network, high expectations regarding the reliability of the gas system, and technological developments in the field of information technology. The participants in the sessions also formulated a range of requirements as to how gas distribution networks will need to function in future. The most important and urgent requirements mentioned were: decreased vulnerability to damage, increased economic efficiency, more 'intelligence' built into the networks in order, for example, to achieve optimum economic results for the end user, improved communication in order to increase public feelings of safety, demonstrable safety, and flexibility of the transport infrastructure with regard to the use of various gases. The complexity of the requirements was also investigated. As it turned out, the participants generally expected increased complexity in realizing the new requirements from a management/administrative perspective rather than from a technical perspective. Increasingly complex requirements from a management point of view included: equal access to market parties, active integration with other infrastructures, improving safety/terrorism related features, application of capacity related rates, and improved communication in order to increase the public perception of safety. This preliminary study will be used to define targeted follow-up studies, in which the technological, economic and regulativeaspects will be dealt integratively.
|Name||CSTM Studies and Reports|
|Publisher||CSTM, University of Twente|