Co-operation between electricity and gas operators

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation



Planning and building the most efficient and cost-effective energy system requires a coherent approach across sectors. In particular, gas and electricity TSOs need to co-ordinate and synchronise their planning and timing as the hydrogen ecosystem develops. This will ensure the information in different plans is consistent and complementary. For example, hydrogen and electricity transport companies are potential competitors; careful planning must be done to achieve the most effective balance in transport investment decisions.


By leveraging new synergies between energy carriers and sectors, it is possible to provide reliable electricity and gas supply to consumers, especially during periods of peak demand. Much like the transmission infrastructure, electricity and gas storage are complementary. For example, existing gas networks and storage facilities can absorb large quantities of green hydrogen for longterm storage. Coupling electricity and gas grids can, therefore, help utilise existing gas storage facilities in renewable energy.

BOX 9.20 Examples of electricity and gas transmission system operator co-operation

A study published by transmission system operators (TSOs) TenneT (electricity) and Gasunie (gas) shows how the Netherlands and Germany can achieve the Paris climate targets using a more integrated energy system. The study emphasises the need for close collaboration between the gas and electricity infrastructure to guarantee the reliability of the energy system and integrate increasing shares of variable solar and wind energy. The study highlighted two requirements for a successful energy transition: (1) political willingness to build new electricity grid connections and create a clear, supportive regulatory framework; and (2) creation of a regulatory framework specifically for the integration of power-to-gas (hydrogen) installations into the system in order to add flexibility and avoid unnecessary grid expansion costs for grid expansions (Gasunie, 2019).

Similarly, ENTSO-E and ENTSOG jointly published their Scenario Report Ten-Year Network Development Plans 2022. For the first time, the plans use new sector-coupling methodologies and dedicated modelling tools to optimise overall system efficiency and flexibility of use, as well as better capture the interactions among end-use sectors at different geographical scales and with other carriers. It is also the first time that the scenarios have modelled hydrogen and electrolysis at a pan-European scale (ENTSO-E, 2021).

In another example, the TSO in Denmark, Energinet, has combined the operations of its electricity and gas systems into a joint system operator subsidiary. The expectation is that joint operations will make it easier for Denmark to reach its very ambitious climate targets (ENERGINET, 2021).