EnergyStock, a subsidiary of Gasunie, will invest in the underground gas storage at Zuidwending in order to better meet increasing demand for flexibility in gas supply. Adjustments will be made to the existing installation and an extra cavern will be taken into use. This will not only result in more storage volume, but also in optimised use of the fast injection and withdrawal capacity of the underground gas storage.
Important role in daily gas supply
Underground gas storage Zuidwending plays an important role in the daily supply of gas to homes, other buildings and power plants. Whenever extra gas is needed – which is particularly in the morning and evening – EnergyStock can respond quickly by supplying gas from the underground gas storage. During the hours with low demand, gas can be injected into the storage.
Less flexibility from Groningen and more sustainable energy
EnergyStock expects that the underground gas storage will need to make a larger contribution to the flexible, affordable and reliable energy supply in the future, specifically in the next fifteen to twenty years. “We can help solve various bottlenecks that may arise,” says Henk Abbing, Managing Director of EnergyStock. “Now that less gas is supplied from the Groningen field, the flexible role this field used to have in the supply of gas is decreasing. Our fast cycle gas storage facility at Zuidwending can help gas suppliers to balance out peaks and troughs in demand, even within a day. In addition, the underground gas storage can step in when electricity needs to be generated by gas-fired power stations at moments when the supply of renewable energy from wind and solar is insufficient. Gas-fired power stations can produce electricity very flexibly. They are better able to adjust their electricity production to strongly fluctuating demand and a strongly fluctuating supply of renewable energy than other types of power stations. This means they can keep electricity supply stable. Underground gas storage Zuidwending specifically supports this role of gas-fired power stations.”
Start of work
Work on the cavern will commence in December. This will involve installing a second drilling hole to the cavern and completing the leaching of the cavern. The second drilling hole should be complete by 1 June 2018, so that Akzo Nobel, partner in the project, can continue to leach the cavern to the desired volume. Subsequently, the brine present in the cavern will be replaced by natural gas. The cavern is expected to be able to start contributing to the flexible supply of gas to energy suppliers for domestic and business markets as of mid 2020.