Natural gas has played a key role in Germany's energy supply for decades. This is the result of a need-based transport infrastructure that contributes significantly to the security of supply. Natural gas also plays a key role in the energy transition towards a system of green energy.
An extensive and tight gas infrastructure
As a natural resource, natural gas is usually not available where it is most needed. So, it has to be moved from national and international production sites to regional centers by appropriate means of transport. Here, pipelines have proven to be the optimal mechanism. The German TSO´s operate a total of around 40,000 kilometers long-distance transmission network for trans-regional and cross-border gas transport. It enables connections to connected transport networks, large industrial customers, gas power plants and underground storage facilities. The transmission grid forms the backbone of the German gas transport system. Besides, Germany also has a regional and local distribution network for natural gas with a length of more than 470,000 kilometer. The entire German natural gas network is over 530,000 km long.
Pipelines with a diameter up to 140 cm transport large quantities of gas. At high pressure (up to 100 bar), natural gas reaches Germany from Russia, Norway and the Netherlands over long distances. Besides, Germany also enables the transit of natural gas to neighboring countries. Compressor stations with intervals between 100 and 200 kilometers ensure that the pressure remains stable over these long distances. The downstream networks of the approximately 700 distribution system operators ensure the supply of gas to end users in homes and businesses.
The highly flexible gas power plants - especially when considering the combination of electricity and heat - can play a very important role in generating power in the future. With their comparatively low investment costs, and up to 58% less emissions, these power plants have the best CO2 balance among fossil power plants.