The live webinar, moderated by Davor Matic, M.Sc., CGA’s Vice-President, covered current themes relevant to both the global gas industry and South East Europe in particular, such as power and gas sector convergence, gas contract and supply planning, stochastic gas storage valuation and co-optimisation of gas and power markets as a result of sector convergence and LNG perspective for Central and Eastern Europe.
Tracey Granger, Lead Energy Market Analyst for Energy Exemplar, outlined the power and gas arbitrage opportunities arising from sector convergence due to the expected growth of the hydrogen economy and the emergence of power-to-gas (P2G) technologies. According to Granger the unintended consequence of decarbonisation policies across Europe has been an increase in electricity demand and there is an increasing mismatch between demand and supply shapes. What to do with excess renewables is a real issue. Post COVID-19 electricity demand in Europe is projected to rise by 1% per year due to the electrification of transport and switch to heat pumps for electric heating. Granger noted that there is a growing push from the electricity market that is actually matched by a pull from the gas market because gas needs to decarbonise really fast and the main viable options now are those coming from linkages with hydrogen and the power market.
She focused on the importance of modelling power and gas markets together, co-optimised, to take advantage of the potential for storage and transport of electricity as a gas, demonstrating that this could reduce CO2 emissions and reduce power market price volatility.She believes that such modelling shows that in the 2030s surplus renewable generation can be utilised for increased P2G, which would depress electricity prices.
She emphasized that the ENTSO-E’s and ENTSOG’s scenarios show that power and gas can no longer be considered separately and that power-to-gas (P2G) is an essential part of their scenarios as it adds essential flexibility to the electricity market by converting surplus renewable electricity to gas and storing it as hydrogen and enables usage of the current gas infrastructure with limited additional investment or technological risk. Granger continued that ENTSOs’s central case scenario predicts 30 GW of P2G within 20 years which is more than the peak load of Poland. The distributed energy case has got 500 GW of P2G in the EU, that is 20% of the EU current gas import volume being generated internally.
Granger added that it is cheaper and more efficient to transport electricity as gas than power and she also explained it in numbers: „For a similiar capital cost the BBL pipeline, connecting the Netherlands and the United Kindgom, can transport 120 TWh per annum compared to BritNed (a 1,000 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine power cable between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands) transporting just 8TWh the same distance. Additionally, much more gas storage than electricity storage, a lot of which is short-term storage, is currently available.“
According to Dr Michael Thomadakis, Partner, Energy Sector for Grant Thornton, from 2022 onward market coupling will prevail in Europe, which means that there will be national dispatch but with regional impact. Interconnection capacity will become internal capacity in real-time and reserves will be treated regionally in real-time. Cross-border trade will intensify and more interconnections capacity will be available due to the PCIs. „TSOs and NRAs will have to take decisions cross-border and every national entity, whether market participant, producer or consumer, will have to also think and act regionally“, explained Thomadakis and he also stressed that in the long run gas wil be a bridge to support decarbonisation. „Gas markets and infrastructure may also provide a means for proxy-hedging for market participants“, said Thomadakis.
While the Greek power system is currently a mandatory pool, one of the few remaining in Europe, this will change as of September. Additionally 4,4 GW of lignite power generation capacity – almost 35% of the installed capacity in the Greek power system will be phased out by 2028, the majority of which by 2023.
He argued that with the operation of TAP at the end of 2020, the ongoing construction of IGB, the anticipated FID for FSRU Alexandroupolis and the forthcoming auctions for the capacity allocation of Revythoussa, currently the only EU operating LNG terminal in SEE, gas, and especially LNG, will have a very important role for the energy sector in Greece and its neighbouring countries.
Greece has also recently established auctions for renewables. Greek power exchange has been operational since last year, and it will operate a virtual trading point for gas as of the start of 2021, noted Thomadakis. Using his newly established regional gas and power market model in PLEXOS, Dr Thomadakis discussed Grant Thornton’s scenario analysis on the impact of decarbonization and climate policies of the countries in the region around Greece, in view of the implementation of the electricity Target Model in SEE and the Energy Community.
Thomadakis stressed that market simulation is a necessity, adding that the price of gas (including LNG) will shape the electricity market in the region for at least the next decade.
The Grant Thornton‘s market simulations for the regional market (Greece, Bulgaria and Italy) showed that Greek day-ahead power prices will become competitive with Italian and Bulgarian prices post-2025.
He also predicts that if Bulgaria will implement its obligations with regards to CO2 emissions and the related climate change policies, in the next five years there will be a reverse in the power flows from Greece to Bulgaria probably reflecting that it is cheaper to transport gas than electricity. Greece has an advantage over the neighbouring countries as it has abundant gas import capacity which is also reflected in the power market.
Thomadakis added that the income received by developers of renewables will probably be based on LNG prices in the future and that the developers of renewables will have to think in terms of gas, especially in countries such as Greece, and also Croatia when LNG will enter the energy mix.
Ioannis Christodoulou, Senior Energy Market Analyst for Energy Exemplar, presented how Energy Exemplar’s PLEXOS model can model gas storage optimisation and uncertainty. He discussed how real-world problems are often characterized by the fact that the decision makers may take actions only at specific points in time where profits, costs and security of supply and other system conditions occur and include uncertainty. Ioannis demonstrated how PLEXOS can deal with such problems and uncertainty, leveraging the Monte Carlo and stochastic optimization capabilities of the tool.
Dr. Andrzej Szikora, Chairman of the Board for Energy Studies, Institytut Studiow Energetycznych, provided an LNG perspective for Central and Eastern Europe. He discussed that a rise in global LNG supply due to sluggish demand in Asia, two warm winters and reduced industrial demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, have resulted in unusually high European Gas stocks and oversupply in Europe. In the context of LNG prices at the lowest point in history, with LNG infrastructure in Eastern Europe underutilized, Dr. Szikora discussed how LNG is a game-changing fuel in Europe. He also announced that Poland’s PGNIG decided to increase its regasification capacities at the Svinoujscie LNG terminal to 6.2 bcm from 5 bcm currently in 2022 when its long-term supply deal with Russian Gazprom expires and to 8.3 bcm by 2023 by 2023 in response to increasing demand. He also stressed that demand forecasts for CEE show the increase in consumption of 15% to 92 – 95 bcm/yr in 2035 (from 80 bcm /yr in 2018). Dr. Szikora believes that Russian LNG is becoming a global force since Novatek is following the global trend and Russia has the potential to stay the 4th or 5th largest market player in LNG.
In the interesting panel discussion panelists where asked how they see the role of natural gas infrastructure following the European Commission’s draft hydrogen strategy that confirmed the EU’s “priority focus” on clean hydrogen produced from renewable electricity. Since the hydrogen produced from natural gas will be considered “low-carbon” only if the associated emissions are offset using CCS technology additional question was also whether competitive hydrogen economy is possible without production of hydrogen from “low-carbon” natural gas.
Dr. Szikora replied that cost-competitive hydrogen economy is not possible without support of production of hydrogen from “low-carbon” natural gas because today there is no efficient technology for hydrogen as hydrogen from electrolysis seems to be expensive. Dr. Szikora is convinced that with the support of EU European countries will find very efficient solution for hydrogen storage, preparation and utilization. In Europe today the gas infrastructure is not prepared for hydrogen transportation and new investments are needed. According to Dr. Szikora infrastructure preparation has already started – for example in USA there are 800 km of hydrogen pipelines connecting refineries and in Europe 40 – 60 km in Antwerp.
Dr. Thomadakis added that investments in hydrogen are going to require a lot of supporting material and also funding requests to European Commission. That means that a lot of cost-benefit analysis is lying ahead which means that a lot of market simulation will be required. For those who are really going to invest it is also matter of the value of their investments. All this requires very sophisticated decision making support tools. Ioannis Christodoulou agreed that the good planning is very important and that we need to take the curtailed energy in order to produce hydrogen as it is not economically feasible to produce hydrogen from the power from the grid.
Panelists were also asked how they see the future role of LNG (also in this region with respect of the LNG Terminal on the Island of Krk) in terms of EU decarbonization targets and also on the impact of Krk LNG on gas prices in Croatia and in the region, possible market changes or the emergence of a new gas hub.
Dr. Thomadakis stated that LNG will be in a short run and maybe in 5 to 7 next years at low prices and that it will be sufficient surplus and it will have a very important role to play in the whole region. Krk LNG terminal is very important for the region because it can bring gas to a lot of countries but this countries have to be convinced that they can use it. The key issue and one of the obstacles for using LNG right now is the competition between projects at this stage, not only LNG terminals but pipeline projects as well. Krk Terminal needs to find a way to Baumgarten somehow so Hungarian and Croatian tariffs are important and also it is very important to see how the issue on the connection that is missing between Serbia and Croatia develops in the future. If this happens Croatia will be very prominent and important importer of LNG in the region. LNG will have very important role in the region especially if we manage, with the support of European Commission, to harmonize the access rules to cross-border infrastructure in the region. Open market approach from all countries in the region is also very important.
Dr. Szikora added that now we have oversupply of commodity (LNG), low prices and the proper infrastructure and it is a very good situation for the market. Third factor is that the region is very close to the old infrastructure to Russian supply it means that there will be a possibility to agree low prices as kind of arbitrage between those two elements. Swap possibilities are also there. When somebody has additional LNG in the tanker then we can swap transactions with those who have pipeline gas. “We are opening new possibilities – LNG is a game changer”, stressed dr. Szikora.
These interesting topics will continue as this webinar was just an introduction to the Energy Exemplar workshop titled “Introduction to Fundamental Gas Modeling with PLEXOS – Overview of PLEXOS” which will be held on the jubilee 35th International Scientific & Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals in Opatija, Croatia (21 – 23 October, 2020, Opatija, Croatia).
In case you have missed out on the webinar you are welcome to watch the recording on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9rCGwADoyY .