Archive

Resort: Security of Supply

Statement on the draft extension of the Federal Network Agency’s determination of volatile costs for various aspects of natural gas transportation

The transmission system operators (TSOs) thank you for the opportunity to comment on an extension of the determination of volatile costs for various aspects of natural gas transportation (“VOLKER” – Ref. Bund BK9-22/606-1).

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Statement of the FNB Gas on the draft determination “MARGIT 2025”

FNB Gas welcomes the opportunity to comment in the consultation launched on March 12, 2024 to determine the calculation of multipliers, discounts for interruptible capacities, discounts at LNG terminals and seasonal factors.

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Statement of the FNB Gas on the key points of the depreciation modalities for the gas network transformation

The transmission system operators welcome the fact that the BNetzA is now taking into account the challenges for the useful life of the network infrastructure with the KANU 2.0 specification.

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Brief statement by the FNB Gas on the BNetzA’s consultation on the further development of the regulatory framework for electricity and gas networks (NEST)

On 25.01. the Federal Network Agency published a key issues paper on the further development of the regulatory framework for electricity and gas network operators in the 5th regulatory period. As a result of the ECJ ruling and the recent amendments to the EnWG, the BNetzA has been given extended powers to lay down regulations. The title of the paper is “NEST: Networks, Efficient, Secure, Transformed”.

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Volume risk assessment report

Excerpt: Text for the overview pages

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Statement of the FNB Gas on the draft bill for a law to implement Directive (EU) 2022/2557 and to strengthen the resilience of operators of critical facilities

In principle, FNB Gas welcomes the draft bill of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Homeland for the implementation of Directive (EU) 2022/2557 and to strengthen the resilience of operators of critical facilities (KRITIS-DachG) of December 21, 2023 as an important step towards a uniform federal legal framework to increase the analogous protection and resilience of critical infrastructures.

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FNB Gas statement on the draft bill on implementing the CER Directive and strengthening the resilience of critical facilities

The past year and a half has brought to light that the protection of Critical Infrastructure (CIP), especially gas infrastructure, is essential for maintaining economic and social life as well as national security.

In principle, FNB Gas supports the proposal of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and for Home Affairs regarding the draft law on the implementation of the CER Directive and on strengthening the resilience of critical facilities (KRITIS-Dachgesetz – KRITIS-DachG).

In accordance with the requirements of Section 78 para. 1 No. 1 in conjunction with. § 79 para. 1 No. 1 TKG, transmission system operators (TSOs) are required to provide data on the telecommunications structure they operate to the Federal Network Agency’s (BNetzA) Central Information Service (CIS). This data is then published in the Infrastructure Atlas (ISA).

The TSO Gas considers it necessary to avoid the publication of sensitive infrastructure data, which exposes Germany’s critical infrastructure to unnecessary risks, or at least to be more sparing with the publication of such data, unless there is an overriding public interest in the publication of such data.

A corresponding provision could be made by exempting the aforementioned critical infrastructures from the publication requirement under the TKG by reference in the KRITIS-DachG.

The complete statement of the FNB Gas is available in the downloads.

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Comments on the draft bill to extend the provisions of Part 3a and to amend Section 49b (1) sentence 1 of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG)

The regulations of Part 3a of the EnWG with the requirements on gas storage levels are to be extended until April 2027. This is based in particular on the fact that the onshore LNG terminals are expected to come on stream in mid-2027, from which point a further easing of the supply situation can be expected. The transmission system operators expressly support this approach. It has been shown that the legal regulations are suitable for the safe filling of gas storage facilities in Germany.

The intended amendment to Section 49b (1) Sentence 1 of the German Energy Industry Act (EnWG), which is intended to allow an extension of the temporary higher utilization of the electricity grid until the end of March 2027, is to be expressly welcomed as a measure that makes sense in terms of energy and the economy. Nevertheless, the temporary increase in capacity utilization associated with an acquiescence obligation represents a considerable expense for the TSO, which is not adequately taken into account by law. In the absence of concrete legal regulations, the contractual arrangements between the transmission system operator and the TSO are still subject to various uncertainties (e.g., the extent of the obligation to bear costs). In addition, the short-term approval of the necessary protection and safeguard measures also represents an additional burden for the TSO in the absence of legally manifested acceleration regulations. Therefore, the consequences for the affected operators of technical infrastructures must be given greater focus. The TSOs made concrete proposals for this in the course of the hearing with the associations.

The complete statement of the FNB Gas is available in the downloads.

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FNB Gas welcomes the German government’s initiative to create the conditions for the hydrogen core network with the amendment to the EnWG

As part of the adaptation of energy law to EU requirements, the BMWK also intends to make changes to the EnWG to supplement the regulatory regime for hydrogen as an energy carrier. The goal of the new regulations is to rapidly ramp up the hydrogen market to ensure decarbonization, particularly in the highest greenhouse gas emitting sectors of the economy where more energy and cost efficient alternatives to hydrogen are not available.

The TSOs welcome the German government’s initiative to now lay the regulatory, antitrust and network planning foundations for the development of an efficient and expandable hydrogen core network. The regulations are a key step in the development of a Germany-wide hydrogen infrastructure, which should provide market participants with planning and investment security.

The draft bill provides a clear political mandate for the TSOs to develop the supra-regional hydrogen core network, taking into account other infrastructure operators and other infrastructure suitable for transporting hydrogen (at the transmission level) safely. The TSOs have the necessary expertise and are guarantors for the fastest possible development of the German hydrogen network from mainly convertible lines and in the existing private-sector structures.

The German government’s amendment to the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) creates the conditions under antitrust law and planning law for planning the hydrogen core network. For their part, the FNB will do everything in its power to ensure that implementation can begin this year.

However, the draft bill leaves open and unresolved issues such as the financing of the hydrogen core network, which are crucial for the realization of the investments. The corresponding solutions must be developed promptly and introduced into the legislative process in order to ensure the necessary investment security.

The FNB sees a solution to the refinancing problem essentially based on the concept of advance financing of the hydrogen core network by the FNB combined with state risk insurance in the event of failure of the hydrogen ramp-up, which the German Energy Agency (Dena) had already proposed in the summer of 2022. In addition to the dena model, it would be possible to flank the mechanism with a levy or financial transfers from the natural gas system, as is also envisaged in the amendment to the EU gas market package currently being negotiated.

The complete statement of FNB Gas is available in the downloads.

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Effort and cooperation show effect: gas supply passes stress test

Excerpt: Text for the overview pages

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Statement of FNB Gas on the proposed amendments to the REMIT Regulation

The European Commission presented a reform of the European electricity market on March 14, 2023. As part of the reform, EU legislation such as the Electricity Regulation, the Electricity Directive and the REMIT Regulation are to be revised. In the interest of competitive markets and transparent pricing, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (the ACER) and national regulators should be able to better monitor the integrity and transparency of the energy market in the future. The proposed amendments to the REMIT Regulation are intended in particular to ensure greater data quality and to strengthen ACER’s ability to investigate potential market abuse in cross-border cases.

FNB Gas welcomes in principle the Commission’s intention to better protect consumers and industry from market abuse. In its statement on the proposed amendments to the REMIT Regulation, however, FNB Gas takes a critical view of the planned transfer of competences to the European level and calls for a clearer demarcation between the powers of ACER and the national regulatory authorities. In addition, more transparency in the establishment of new market rules through implementing acts of the European Commission and guidelines and recommendations of ACER is suggested. Market participants should be given the opportunity to participate in the adoption of the aforementioned legal acts through public consultations. Furthermore, for data protection reasons, the proposed expansion of the definition for inside information is critically questioned.

The complete statement of FNB Gas on the amendment of the REMIT Regulation in German and English version is available in the downloads.

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Statement of the FNB Gas on the draft of the BMWK for the adaptation of the energy industry law to the requirements of EU law

The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection has published a draft bill to amend the Energy Industry Act. The reason for this is a ruling by the European Court of Justice in September 2021, according to which the Federal Republic of Germany, by enacting a series of more specific normative regulatory provisions, has violated, among other things, the requirements of Union law on the independence of the regulatory authority under EU law. At the same time, the Act is intended to make other necessary changes to energy law, such as adapting the regulations on the security and reliability of energy supply.

Despite the short consultation period, FNB Gas is pleased to comment on the proposed amendments to the Energy Industry Act. However, due to time constraints, our comments are limited to individually selected regulations that directly affect transmission system operators (TSOs). The FNB also agrees with the statement of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). This addresses other key points in the current bill where urgent changes are also needed. This relates in particular to the draft’s policy guidance on regulation and requirements for regulatory agency decisions.

The TSOs generally support the political objective of accelerating measures to increase the capacity utilization of the extra-high voltage grid (electricity). However, these new regulations must not be at the expense of other infrastructure operators, such as TSOs, and their protection and safeguarding measures. For this reason, the TSOs welcome the current draft bill on the adaptation of energy industry law to EU requirements, as it represents an important building block for ensuring environmentally compatible energy supply security and for restoring the best possible safety of operating personnel and third parties as quickly as possible. However, in the view of the FNB, the proposed new introduction of Section 49c, in particular the provision in Section 49c(6), is inadequate.

The complete statement is available in the downloads.

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Volume risk assessment report

Excerpt: Text for the overview pages

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Transmission capacities for LNG facilities help to ensure secure energy supplies

Transmission system operators (TSOs) today launch the consultation on the 2022-2032 gas network development plan (NEP Gas). The new LNGplus supply security variants take into account the profound changes in the energy supply situation. Measures to connect LNG plants and provide the necessary transport capacities are being implemented at full speed by the TSOs. The first grid connections for LNG plants will be completed by the end of 2022.

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FNB Gas statement on the draft law amending the Energy Assurance Act

The transmission system operators support the political efforts to secure energy supplies in Germany, particularly in the winter of 2022/2023 and the winter of 2023/2024, by making further changes to the energy industry framework.

From the point of view of the TSOs, there is still considerable need for improvement in some areas, especially with regard to the LNG Act. This involves the inclusion of further indirect LNG connection pipelines as well as further measures for the onward transmission of LNG volumes in the German transmission system. Without an inclusion of these measures in the scope of the LNG Act, the start of the realization of these measures is only possible with a considerable time delay.

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Statement by FNB Gas on the determination of imputed useful lives of natural gas pipeline structures (“KANU”)

FNB Gas expressly welcomes the fact that the Federal Network Agency intends to create the possibility of reducing the useful lives of gas network investments or making them more flexible by means of the “KANU” definition put out for consultation.

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FNB Gas statement on the German government’s concept for implementing the 65 percent target for renewable energies in the installation of new heating systems as of 2024

FNB Gas welcomes early stakeholder engagement to design the implementation of the 65 percent renewable energy target for the installation of new heating systems beginning in 2024. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, but also with a view to security of supply and ambitious climate protection targets, there is no time to lose now in driving forward the heat transition.

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National Hydrogen Council: Framework conditions for H2 transport and storage must be created this year

Since the publication of the National Hydrogen Strategy last year, the energy industry framework has changed fundamentally. This is what the National Hydrogen Council writes in a new key points paper. The existing high dependence of the German energy supply on fossil energy imports from Russia clearly shows the urgency of a sustainable diversification with regard to energy sources and suppliers. The importance of hydrogen has also increased once again as a result of the climate targets being brought forward.

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Special times require special measures

In recent weeks and months, the TSOs have been working flat out to provide initial answers to the new gas industry conditions resulting from Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine as part of the current gas network development plan.

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Statement of the FNB Gas on the storage levy

The so-called Gas Storage Act (Act on the Introduction of Level Requirements for Gas Storage Facilities), which came into force on April 30, 2022, provides for minimum levels for German gas storage facilities based on reporting dates. In the future, unused storage capacities must be made available by the operator of the gas storage facility to the market area manager Trading Hub Europe (THE) if storage customers do not use them in accordance with the fill level specifications. In this context, extensive obligations were imposed on THE to take measures to ensure sufficient filling of the gas storage facilities. To cover the costs associated with the new obligations, the Act introduced a new storage levy. The levy is to be settled by THE vis-à-vis the balancing group manager and will be levied for the first time on 01.10.2022. THE had submitted a concept with a proposed methodology for structuring the storage levy to the Federal Network Agency for approval on May 30, 2022. The TSOs commented on this methodology as part of the BNetzA’s consultation process.

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FNB Gas Winter Review 2021/2022 – Historic caesura in natural gas supply

Excerpt: Text for the overview pages

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New stamp fee as of 01.01.2023 for the market area Trading Hub Europe (THE)

Excerpt: Text for the overview pages

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FNB Gas statement on the draft law to accelerate the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG Act)

The transmission system operators expressly welcome the efforts of the legislator to enable the integration of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the existing gas supply network in Germany as quickly as possible.

Accelerating the procedures for constructing and commissioning the LNG terminals will be crucial to ensuring that LNG can make a key contribution to reducing dependency on Russian natural gas in the near future and thus secure gas supplies in Germany.

TSOs point out that not only the construction of the LNG terminals and the direct connection pipeline may fall within the scope of the law. Rather, to enable effective integration into the existing gas supply network, pipelines, associated facilities, compressor station expansions, and gas pressure regulating and metering stations (GDRMs) that directly serve to transport the injected LNG volumes in the German gas supply network must also be included in the scope of the law. Otherwise, LNG volumes cannot be made available throughout Germany and the accelerated expansion will not achieve its goal of ensuring security of supply.

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FNB Gas Statement LNG Act
PDF / 197 kB

FNB Gas statement on the draft law amending the Energy Security Act 1975 and other laws (EnSiG amendment)

The amendment of the Energy Security Act is absolutely necessary against the background of the current crisis situation in the energy sector.

Transmission system operators (TSOs) welcome the introduction of the digital platform for natural gas to better manage gas reduction at companies. The platform is a central and exclusive instrument of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) to manage gas supply according to economic and other political criteria in the event of a gas shortage. Against this backdrop, the amount of the compensation payable pursuant to Sec. 15 para. 2 EnSiG, limited to up to 25,000 euros or up to 10,000 euros, should be reconsidered. It seems questionable, given the current market situation and the economic impact of reductions in gas volumes for energy-intensive industries under discussion, whether this sum is a motive for large companies to comply with the authority’s instructions and acts as a deterrent.

The TSOs consider the unclear demarcation or interplay between the TSOs’ grid stabilization measures pursuant to Section 16 (1) to be a key shortcoming of the draft law. 2 EnWG and the measures taken by the federal load dispatcher under the EnSiG to reduce gas purchases. The TSOs point out that the regulations pursuant to Section 16 para. 2 EnWG were not introduced to cope with a prolonged gas shortage situation, but were given to the transmission system operators exclusively to maintain system and network stability.

In the event of such a gas shortage situation having a supraregional or even nationwide impact, situations are not unlikely in which the TSOs have already taken network stabilization measures pursuant to Section 16 para. 2 EnWG must apply, but the BNetzA does not yet necessarily act as a federal load dispatcher. At this point, the TSOs are responsible and, in the event of a supraregional gas shortage, can only make non-discriminatory cuts on a “pro-rata” basis. The TSOs believe it is urgently necessary to anchor the legally secure, swift transfer of responsibility to the Federal Network Agency as the federal load distributor, and thus also of liability, in the current draft legislation. Early instruction by the TSO to reduce gas purchases from connected end users by the BNetzA can ensure a consistent transition to the federal load dispatcher and help close a liability gap for TSOs until the federal load dispatcher is in place.

Also, the provisions set forth in § 16 para. 2 EnWG for a storage instruction are still not sufficiently specifically regulated against the background of the new Gas Storage Act. Here, within the framework of the legislation, it is essential to consider the interaction with the Act on the Introduction of Level Requirements for Gas Storage Facilities and the minimum storage levels and processes for the release of storage quantities by Trading Hub Europe GmbH (THE) provided for therein, on the one hand, and the authority of the transmission system operators to issue instructions to storage operators or storage customers pursuant to Section 16 para.2 EnWG, on the other hand, should be clarified.

In addition to the additional statutory tasks for the market area manager (THE) already provided for in the recently adopted Storage Act, the proposed legislation on the EnSiG (pursuant to section 2a (2) and section 2b (1) EnSiG-E) provides for further new tasks. The FNB considers this task performance by THE to be sensible and purposeful. With the imposition of these new statutory tasks, however, it must be equally ensured by law that THE, as a privately organized company (GmbH), is remunerated at market rates for the tasks to be assumed and that the costs of setting up and operating the platform, as well as its own expenses for procuring the quantities pursuant to Section 2 EnSiG, can be apportioned. However, there is no statutory provision to this effect, so that appropriate and required adequate remuneration is not ensured.

The TSOs welcome the fact that, in future, decommissioning of gas storage facilities will have to be notified and approved by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) (Section 35h EnWG). However, it remains unclear whether the regulation also covers conversions of gas storage facilities from L-gas to H-gas. Against the backdrop of the new storage law, the TSOs see a risk that, due to the legally defined minimum filling level, L-gas storage operators may decide early on to switch to H-gas due to higher yield expectations for H-gas storage. To secure the supply of L-gas, there must be no distortions here. Therefore, a conversion of storage facilities from L- to H-gas should also have to be approved by the BNetzA.

In addition, the regulation so far only applies to gas storage facilities connected to the transmission system, but the handling of storage facilities in the DSO network should also be addressed, as these can also contribute to relieving the load on the TSO network. For gas storage facilities connected to the DSO network, a notification requirement would appear to make sense.

Further notes:

Regarding § 3 para. 6 No. 3 EnSiG-E:

The new provision in § 3 para. 6 No. 3 EnSiG-E lacks a responsibility provision for anyone who determines that fulfillment of the obligations cannot be achieved by market-based measures, cannot be achieved in a timely manner, or can only be achieved by disproportionate means.

Regarding § 14 para. 1 No. 2 and No. 3 EnSiG-E:

§ 14 para. 1 No. 2 EnSiG-E is, in the opinion of the FNB, too broad, as the large number of media – without, for example, concrete naming of the exact references – means that there is an obligation to review that goes beyond the normal scope for the companies that may be affected. It would be advisable here to limit the announcement channels in such a way that a review is still possible in the course of normal business operations.

The possibility of dispensing with a written confirmation of an orally communicated administrative act pursuant to Art. § 14 para. 1 No. 3 EnSiG-E appears critical in order to maintain legal certainty. It is questionable whether this option will be used at all, since the authority bears the risk of having to prove the content of the orally communicated administrative act.

Downloads

FNB Gas Statement LNG Act
PDF / 197 kB

FNB Gas Statement on the introduction of level specifications for gas storage facilities

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Transformation of transmission networks: arteries of the climate-neutral future

“Gaseous CO2-free or CO2-neutral energy sources are an integral part of the energy transition.” This is the conclusion reached by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as a result of the “Dialogue Process Gas 2030”. energate spoke with Håvard Nymoen, Managing Director of Nymoen Strategieberatung, about what the commitment means for the gas industry and what steps will result from it.

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Volume risk assessment report

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Transmission system operators can guarantee transport despite tight market situation

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