In western France (Brittany and Pays de la Loire), West Grid Synergy aims to design and experiment smart grid solutions to maximize biomethane injection into the transmission and distribution systems.
What is biomethane?
A renewable gas produced locally out of agricultural, industrial and household waste. The biomethane has similar technical properties as natural gas used in the industrial, residential and tertiary sectors.
Why West Grid Synergy ?
Greenhouse gas reduction, local waste-to-energy production, energy self-sufficiency, additional income… Renewable gas is a strong lever for the energy transition.
However, the rise in biomethane injections does have an impact on the gas grid. Indeed, the increasing number of injection unit projects can locally overtake injection capacity in the distribution system, in particular during summer when local gas consumption decreases significantly.
To allow more consumers to benefit from the increase in renewable and local gas production, the transmission and distribution systems need to be adapted thanks to innovative and digital solutions.
Gas grid operators allow consumers to benefit from renewable and local energy by making biomethane injection into the grid a reality.
Project partners are committed to the energy transition with Pontivy, Les Mauges, and Pouzauges territories.
GRTgaz services and develops the natural gas transmission network that covers most of France.
GRDF is a natural gas company that designs, builds, operates, maintains and develops its distribution network in more than 9,541 French municipalities.
Soregies is a local distribution system opérator.
Morbihan Energies, the SyDEV and the SIéML are local energy agencies who supports renewable energy development and new uses as gas mobility.
Solutions already implemented
Network meshing allows more consumers to benefit from local and renewable gas
Biomethane production projects often take place in rural areas. To make the projects sustainable, production has to meet consumption. This can be done by connecting a major consumer to the grid or by interconnecting consumption areas
In the West Grid Synergy territories, different meshing infrastructures have been implemented: a 43 km gas pipeline has connected a manufacturer to the grid and some connections have allowed formerly independent distribution systems to be merged. These meshing operations allow biomethane production projects to be conducted in those territories since their production is now locally absorbed.
The reverse flow unit to export surplus amount of biomethane to neighboring territories
The reverse flow unit is a facility that allows gas transfer from the distribution system to the transmission system thanks to a gas compression mechanism. Thus, it enables an increase in local storage capacity for biomethane injection into the distribution system.
In 2019, in Pontivy and Pouzauges, GRTgaz has designed and settled the first two French reverse flow units. The objective is now to assess how they operate under real conditions to optimize infrastructure settings.
Ongoing smart grid studies
Flexible solutions through biomethane storage features
Storage is a good option when the grid is facing congestion (i.e. consumption is locally and intermittently lower than production).
Gas “Smart delivery” unit to prioritize biomethane injection over conventional gas delivery
Adjusting pressure reference at a transmission/distribution interface point allows transmission network operators to finely adapt the volume of conventional gas delivered to the distribution network. Therefore, conventional gas delivered complements the biomethane delivery.
Communicating sensors and smart meters
Communicating sensors give frequent data at many points of the grid. For instance the pressure level reflects the balance between consumption and production. Data is also key for implementing predictive maintenance solutions. Smart meters are key enablers for smart grids. They also help consumers to reduce their gas consumption. Designing smart grids solutions requires a gas system modeling fuelled by a comprehensive set of data.