Balancing Focus Area

The Balancing Focus Area will explore how the rules that incentivise balancing supply and demand may need to evolve as the gas landscape continues to change.

Natural gas arrives in GB from many sources, such as offshore gas fields in the North Sea, direct pipelines from countries such as Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, and large liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers. The companies that use this gas and transport it through our pipeline network are called gas shippers. Similarly, there are many industries, businesses and homes that consume this gas. Shippers are incentivised so that every day they put as much gas into the system as their customers take out. This is called balancing. 

Growing variability in where and how gas is brought on and off the network has led to an increase in within-day linepack swings and balancing related operational actions. National Grid’s GFOP work predicted that this would continue. Given the network was originally designed for flows at a constant rate (1/24th), there is a case to look at various aspects of balancing: shipper incentives to balance, the role of linepack in operational balancing, commercial services that could be offered by operators of flexibility etc. 

National Grid Gas Transmission in collaboration with industry, decision makers and stakeholders are working together on the Balancing Gas Markets Plan (GMaP). Through this engagement it was agreed to expand the project definition as to also incorporate Transmission Capacity Access arrangements due to the intertwined nature of both the Balancing and Capacity Regimes to ensure the gas system and markets continue to deliver consumer value throughout the UK’s transition to a net-zero future.  

Balancing & Transmission Capacity Access GMaP objective

The Balancing & Transmission Capacity Access GMaP objective is to assess 4 of the largest likely physical transformations to the energy system over the coming decade, and their impacts upon the Balancing & Transmission Capacity Access regimes, as to identify key actions/potential solutions the market could undertake/implement, given specific trigger events, as to facilitate and support these changes whilst maintaining market robustness & consumer value.  

The Balancing and Transmission Capacity Access GMaP launched in August 2020 and is at the first of three defined stages.  

  1. Generation and agreement on the 4 largest likely physical transformations to the energy system over the coming decade that include a range of upstream, midstream and downstream variables for consideration facilitated through extensive industry engagement.  
  2. Through further industry engagement we will look to identify issues and market actions that may be required to facilitate these transformations over the coming decade, considering the needs of the full industry value chain.  
  3. The final stage we will look to output a body of work that details potential market solutions to the transformations and their trigger events indicating when change actions are required as well as indicating where further analysis needs to be undertaken by industry and what no-regrets actions can be taken today.  

Project outputs will be published on this page, please subscribe to our distribution list to receive an email notification when these are published.

Balancing & Transmission Capacity Access GMaP – Update

The Balancing & Transmission Capacity Access GMaP has now concluded the second phase of the project and is moving into phase three. 

A working group of industry experts has been convened with broad representation from across the industry value chain and this group have met several times throughout Q4 2020. These meetings have allowed the group to discuss and debate transformations over the coming decade and their potential impacts upon the Balancing & Capacity Regimes as well as how these impacts could be mitigated. 

As a result of the meetings, several options have been identified where further research and engagement activities will take place as to understand the requirements of each option further. This activity will be taken forward for the remainder of 2020 and the start of 2021 before reconvening the group as to discuss the details of each option and how best they could be taken forwards.