25 Feb 2021, 13:18
Julian Wettengel

Texas-like winter storm gas outage “extremely unlikely” in Germany – grid operators

Clean Energy Wire

Freezing gas infrastructure and subsequent supply outages happening in Texas during a recent winter storm are “extremely unlikely” in Germany, gas grid operators said. “The transmission grid runs underground, usually with an earth cover of at least one metre. This also protects against the weather,” said Inga Posch, managing director of grid operator association FNB Gas. She added that German operators made sure that all liquid is removed from the gas so that it cannot freeze. Germany experienced weeks of temperatures well below freezing in January and February, and the gas infrastructure had “passed the test with flying colours”, she said. With an increased need for heating, the daily sales of natural gas were more than 50 percent higher than in the February days of the last five years, said FNB Gas. Still, even the already low gas reserves did not negatively affect supply.

While gas demand surged in reaction to the cold spell bringing temperatures below minus 20°C, renewables output also remained high in Germany even during the coldest period of the winter so far during the first half of February, data provided by the website Energy Charts by research institute Fraunhofer ISE showed. Total renewables production ranged between 31 and 44 percent of net public power generation. Although solar power was severely depressed during the days of heavy snowfall, wind power turbines constantly provided a high share of the electricity production, ranging between a share of just under 20 percent and almost 33 percent during the coldest period.

Several U.S. politicians had blamed failing renewables for causing the disruptions to the Texas power grid. The state experienced severe winter weather, which led to failures of the power and gas infrastructure, leaving millions without supply. Record cold temperatures affecting generation and transportation across all fuel types (including, but not limited to, wind energy), and the inability of the state’s independent and isolated electricity grid to source supplies from elsewhere were the main reasons for blackouts, reported Reuters

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