German gas grid conversion on track with about 1 million appliances so far – operators
Clean Energy Wire
The conversion of large parts of the German gas infrastructure to reflect changing supply is well underway, the country’s gas grid operators write in their implementation report for the network development plan 2020-2030. Almost one million appliances, mostly in western Germany, have been converted since 2015, and operators plan to convert a record number this year, with most of the system finished by 2030. Germany is currently pursuing an enormous infrastructure investment project in the country’s gas supply system – the switch from low calorific gas (L-gas) to high calorific gas (H-gas). These two types of natural gas must be transported in separate systems within defined limits for technical and calibration reasons. Domestic production and imports of L-gas from the Netherlands have declined steeply and will be largely phased out over the current decade, making a retrofit of the infrastructure in large parts of western Germany necessary. H-gas will be the dominant gas across Germany. It comes primarily from Norway and Russia or arrives in Germany via LNG facilities.
The gas industry considers its infrastructure an ideal instrument to implement the energy transition – first by transporting and storing fossil gas as a transition fuel to replace coal and oil, and later for gas generated from renewable sources. However, how much of the current infrastructure will be necessary to deal with what will almost certainly be a lot less gas consumed in the future is highly contested – as are the need for and costs of modernising it to be able to transport green hydrogen.