In order to ensure that gas supplies are secure and to achieve a high level of capacity availability, Section 14(1)(7) read with Section 63 of the Gas Act requires the market area manager (MAM)(1) to prepare an annual coordinated network development plan in accordance with the objectives set out in Section 63(4) of the Gas Act.
Network development plans must:
- provide market participants with information on the key infrastructure to be built or developed in the next 10 years;
- list all agreed on investments and identify new investments to be carried out over the next 10 years; and
- set a timetable for all investment projects.
These goals are set out in order to:
- meet capacity demands to supply final consumers with energy (taking into account any emergency scenarios);
- achieve a high level of capacity availability;
- ensure that gas supplies are secure;
- meet transport needs; and
- comply with the relevant market's infrastructure standards pursuant to Article 6 of the EU Gas Supply Standard Regulation.
Coordinated network development plans considers:
- technical and economic expediency;
- the interests of all market participants; and
- consistency with the EU network development plan and long-term planning.
Transmission system operators (TSOs) receive capacity requirements from users throughout the year. Based on these capacity requirements, and in coordination with the Austrian regulatory authority E-Control, the MAM and the TSOs must create a capacity scenario. On the basis of this capacity scenario, the TSOs must then develop projects that can meet the capacity requirements and submit the network development plan for their own network to the MAM. Finally, the MAM and TSOs will meet to coordinate the interfaces and coherence of the projects with the capacity scenario. The projects submitted by the TSOs must be formally harmonised. After further revision with E-Control, a final coordinated network development plan will be submitted to E-Control for consultation. E-Control will issue an official decision approving the network development plan. The prerequisite for approval is proof of the technical necessity, appropriateness and cost effectiveness of the TSOs' investment suggestions. E-Control may make its approval contingent on certain conditions and impose further requirements to the extent necessary to achieve the objectives set out in the Gas Act.
Due to the nomination by TSOs Gas Connect Austria GmbH (GCA) and Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH (TAGG), and E-Control's subsequent approval, Austrian Gas Grid Management AG (AGGM) has served as the MAM as of 1 June 2017. AGGM is responsible for preparing the network development plan. AGGM's plan focuses on the Austrian pipeline transmission networks located in the eastern market area; as such, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, which have no transmission pipelines, are not considered in the plan.
Coordinated network development plan 2018
The draft of the 2018 network development plan was submitted by the MAM to E-Control at the end of November 2018. The development of the projects set out in the 2018 plan was carried out in accordance with the European planning instruments and in coordination with domestic and foreign TSOs.
The 2018 plan ensures that the following conditions are met:
- Alongside the current network, the plan ensures that the supply of gas to end consumers is protected.
- In relation to new projects, the plan factors in the available line capacity.
- The plan ensures that transport requirements are met.
- The infrastructure standard set out in Article 5 of the Gas Regulation has been reached.
The TSOs have provided information regarding which projects must be established during the 2019 through 2028 planning period in order to provide the newly introduced capacity requirements. Both the GCA and TAGG have submitted one new project for the provision of new capacities and a total of 12 new placement investment projects. The newly submitted projects are Uberackern - Oberkappel (GCA) and Murfeld Exit Capacity Increase (TAGG), both with an estimated project implementation duration of four-and-a-half years.
The entire network development plan can be downloaded on E-Control's website (www.e-control.at).
(1) Pursuant to Section 13 of the Gas Act, the MAM is responsible for coordinating tasks regarding the transmission network and management and infrastructure planning in cooperation with the market participants. It must fulfil all of the duties set out in Section 14 of the Gas Act.
This article first appeared on International Law Office.
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