• Client: EC - DG Energy
  • Implementation period: 2018 - 2019 (Completed)
  • Geographic coverage: European Union

Can the injection of renewable gases into European gas networks support the energy transition, and what are the economic and technical implications?

The aim of this study was to obtain a better picture on the potential of biomethane and hydrogen to contribute to the decarbonisation of the EU energy system, the impacts this will have on gas infrastructure and the extent to which network operators and regulators are prepared to cope with these impacts. This will support the development of policies considering other developments in the European energy system, such as the coupling of the electricity and gas sectors and the electrification of energy demand.

The study leveraged a number of approaches to provide an integral view of the implications of biomethane or hydrogen injection into gas networks: desk research was combined with the modelling of the European energy system, the cost-benefit analysis of increased use of renewable gases and the simulation of gas network tariffs to 2050. The study also conducted a regulatory analysis of legislation at both the EU and Member State level on several topics, such as revenue regulation of network operators, system planning and operation (including network codes), gas quality, support mechanisms to renewable gas. Additionally, several methods were used to collect knowledge from subject-matter experts and analyse the perspectives of actors in the energy sector, including the interview of network operators & national regulators in several Member States, as well as expert workshops.

The project was led by Trinomics in collaboration with Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik (LBST) and E3 Modelling (E3M). The project ran from December 2018 to September 2019.

The key objectives of this study are:

  • We assessed the potential of biomethane and renewable hydrogen to contribute to the decarbonisation of specific end-use sectors;
  • We assessed the role that renewable gases and gas infrastructure can play in complementing electrifcation and making the energy transition as efficient as possible;
  • We analysed the impacts that increased use of biomethane and hydrogen will have on the gas transmission and distribution infrastructure;
  • We investigated the impact of different energy system storylines, developed in the previous study on Trans-European gas infrastructure in the light of the 2050 decarbonisation goals, on the utilisation of the gas infrastructure at Member State and regional level.