Natural Gas Storages – the Backbone of Energy Supply

Especially in cold weather during the winter season, natural gas storage facilities are gaining importance for the energy and heat supply.

The year of 2017 began with a rare cold winter weather. In Germany, Europe´s largest energy market, January temperatures were 4 degrees below the long-term average. So heaters were turned up – and natural gas was consumed. About 19 million homes in Germany are heated with natural gas, which makes this energy source rank first in heat generation.

Therefore, a reliable natural gas supply plays a vital role especially in the heat sector. “Our gas storages in Rehden and Jemgum as well as our facility in Haidach, Austria, which currently ensures gas flows into southern Germany, are well-used by our customers at the moment“, says Andreas Renner, managing director of astora. Presently (27 February), Germany´s natural gas storages are only 29-percent full. Mr Renner´s comment: “Again this winter shows how important natural gas storages are. But there is still need for a solution on how to adequately compensate storage operators for guaranteeing security of supplies. Instead of using the existing storage infrastructure to ensure the stability of the gas transmission network, today only network expansion is promoted“.

In addition to this, natural gas can serve as a complement to renewable energy to secure energy supply. When the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine, it is natural gas that balances out the fluctuations of renewable energies. Natural gas storage facilities combine stable availability and flexible use of this energy source.