Gas Balancing and Line-pack Flexibility. Concepts and Methodologies for Organizing and Regulating Gas Balancing in Liberalized and Integrated EU Gas Markets. (Gasbalancering en netwerkflexibiliteit. Concepten en methodologieën voor de organisatie en regulering van gasbalancering in vrijgemaakte en geïntegreerde EU gasmarkten.)
Gas Balancing and Line-pack Flexibility. Concepts and Methodologies for Organizing and Regulating Gas Balancing in Liberalized and Integrated EU Gas Markets.
The liberalization and unbundling of the gas industry in Europe creates new challenges for the operation of the gas system. In particular the short-term coordination of shippers and the gas-transmission-system operator becomes difficult as information and responsibilities are distributed between them. The balancing mechanism establishes the main interface between these two gas-market actors and thus its design is important. The industry has been reflecting on the proper organization of gas balancing, but no consensus design could be agreed on yet. At the same time, the interest in this topic by academia has been limited, even though independent research into the gas-balancing problem can further advance the debate. In this thesis, therefore, the organization of balancing is properly discussed by taking both the shippers viewpoint and that of the TSO into account in a number of essays focusing on specific balancing problems and challenges. Moreover, this work presents quantitative methodologies on a conceptual level that can be applied to other, practical problems by other researchers and the industry.The first part of this work provides a thorough, but concise overview of what balancing is and how it is organized and how it can be organized drawing lessons from other sectors like the US gas market and the EU electricity sector. The second part presents essays on the challenges of balancing in a national context without cross-border interactions. First, current regulation of line-pack flexibility is found to be inefficient and actually gas-market distorting. Second, rising unpredictability of the gas demand, transferred from RES intermittency, creates challenges for gas-system balancing with respect to the balancing design. Both market-based and non-market-based designs are imperfect and policy makers have to be made aware of that problem. In a third part of this work, methodologies are developed to study the effects of cross-border balancing in a multi-region gas market. Efficiency gains are shown to be possible for hypothetical gas systems if the settlement designs provide correct incentives. If wrong incentives are provided, on the other hand, the overall efficiency can reduce because imbalances are moved to regions that are less efficient in balancing. In a market-based balancing mechanism, TSOs can also cooperate with regard to the procurement of flexible gas or the exchange of line-pack flexibility. This kind of cooperation is shown to improve efficiency for hypothetical cases, but researchers who have access to real data can apply the conceptual methodology to calculate the efficiency gains of cooperating across a particular border.