The main value of gas storage has traditionally focused on security of supply, ensuring people can continue heating their homes in the event of a cold spell or a sudden supply cut. That is due to change in the coming years as energy companies compete for new ‘flexibility’ services in a hybrid energy system combining gas and electricity.
Departing from its usual supply security role, gas storage is vying for a central position in Europe’s vision of a hybrid energy system combining renewable electricity and low-carbon gases like hydrogen. But getting there won’t be a smooth run and regulators are watching closely.
European gas storage sites have much to offer in the energy transition, providing a readily available platform to carry new low-carbon gases like hydrogen. What’s not clear yet is whether those gases can be produced in sufficient quantity to significantly cut carbon emissions.
Boasting 1,200 terawatt hours (TWh) of existing capacity, gas storage sites can be a formidable asset for Europe in the transition to a low-carbon economy, providing much-needed flexibility to a future energy system where gas and electricity will be more closely integrated, says Ilaria Conti.