Customers and market
Optimising the value of our existing assets
Our gas transport and infrastructure activities are central to our strategy; we carry them out as efficiently as possible. Through our network operators, GTS and Gasunie Deutschland, we ensure the proper functioning and development of the gas transport network. We do this by means of guaranteed security of supply and by offering various services to our customers. Our guiding values in this are safety, reliability and operational excellence.
The year 2014 was relatively warm. This led, in the Netherlands, Germany and surrounding countries, to lower demand for natural gas than in the previous year. Part of the transported volume relates to the throughput of gas from and to other countries. In this respect, our network functions as an international hub.
In 2014, we transported 1,233 billion kWh (126 billion m3) of gas for our customers through our network for the benefit of end users in the Netherlands and other countries, of which 976 billion kWh (100 billion m3) flowed through our Dutch network and 257 billion kWh (26 billion m3) through our German network.
With the transport of gas and related services, we generated revenues of € 1,445 million: € 1,183 million in the Netherlands and € 262 million in Germany.
The new pipeline that was put into operation between Odiliapeel and Melick in the Netherlands and the first phase of the ExEll expansion project from North Germany to Denmark made a positive contribution to the revenues. Thanks to this expansion of our infrastructure, we sold more capacity.
In 2014, GTS’s revenues were higher than in 2013. This is mainly due to the expiry of the tariff settlement repayment obligation that was still in force in 2013. If the 2013 revenues are adjusted to take this into account, then the revenues achieved in 2014 were lower than the revised revenues in 2013. This can largely be explained by the lower tariffs in 2014 and by lower than expected sales. The latter will be settled in the tariffs in 2016.
Gasunie Deutschland’s tariffs rose in 2014 compared to 2013. This was caused by the steep decline in the number of capacity bookings in 2014 (particularly long-term bookings), and the investments made in the expansion of the transport capacity. Because the tariffs are calculated on the basis of the expected booking profile, we have adjusted this profile on the basis of experiences over the past few years.
Due to the lower demand for gas in 2014 in the Netherlands, less energy was used for the transport of gas, and transport costs were lower than in 2013. In Germany, the putting into operation of NEL (the connecting pipeline between Nord Stream and our German network) led to lower compression costs. Thanks to the NEL pipeline, North Germany can now receive gas via Nord Stream. In the past, more frequent use was made of the route from the North Sea, via Emden. In addition, because of the higher temperatures, less use was made of the gas stored in the gas storage installations in Germany in 2014, which meant less gas transport was needed to refill the storage.
A priority for us is to create a safe and healthy workplace and to minimise risk to the natural environment.
The safety of our employees and the environment in which we work is an important enabling factor for carrying out our activities. A priority for us is therefore to create a safe and healthy workplace and to minimise risk to the natural environment. Despite all our efforts in the field of safety, our safety results in 2014 were less positive than they were in 2013. The number of injuries resulting in absence doubled, not only in the case of our own employees (from 2 to 4), but also relating to our contractors’ employees (from 3 to 7). The number of reportables per one million hours worked also rose. This was mainly caused by personal behaviour. We therefore started a programme to improve safety awareness.
The Decree on the External Safety of Pipelines (Besluit Externe Veiligheid Buisleidingen (BEVB)) aims to ensure that pipelines are situated in safe locations. In 2014, we resolved the last bottlenecks in this regard.
High level of security of supply
In addition to safety, security of supply also has a high priority within our company. In 2014, the security of supply was at a very high level. With the exception of one very short interruption, we achieved full security of supply in the Netherlands and Germany. The interruption of the gas transport affected one company in the Netherlands. For a very short period of time, this company could not receive gas. We carried out research into the cause of this transport interruption and drew up improvement points to bring the risk of interruptions down to zero.
In 2014, the security of supply was at a very high level.
Expansion of infrastructure
In 2014, as part of our expansion activities, we put into operation two new pipeline routes in the Netherlands: Beverwijk–Wijngaarden and Westerschelde West–Cambron. Both routes were part of our ‘Integrated Open Season’, during which we asked customers about their long-term transport needs. Customers entered into contracts for additional transport capacity, and on that basis we expanded our transport capacity. In addition, we strengthened the capacity of our East–West route by expanding the Grijpskerk compressor station.
The Open Season 2019 that was started by GTS in 2013 was completed in 2014. This time, the bi-annual process did not lead to additional capacity bookings. However, several parties offered secondary capacity. Customers indicate that, due to developments such as the transition to auction mechanisms that follow from European legislation and regulations, the market is more interested in short-term bundled capacity than the long-term Open Season capacity.
Expansion towards the north
Various developments have led to an increased demand for extra transport capacity through Germany, towards the north. For example, domestic gas production in Denmark is in decline, and there is more demand for natural gas in Schleswig-Holstein and the Hamburg region as a consequence of the German Energiewende. We have therefore initiated an expansion project called Exit Ellund (ExEll). The first phase was delivered in 2014 on time and within budget. The second phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2015. Completion of the entire project is planned for mid-2016.
Deepening the Elbe culvert
Deepening and widening the River Elbe requires an adjustment to be made to what is known as the ‘Elbe Culvert’. This culvert will otherwise no longer be sufficiently deep, as a result of which it will no longer comply with the permits. Gasunie Deutschland is co-owner of the culvert, together with OGE, Telekom and WSV. The Elbe culvert is of major importance for gas transport to Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark and Sweden. It is also important for the Scandinavian telecom market. The shareholders have agreed that Gasunie will take on both the commercial and the technical management of this project, including the permit procedure.
Execution of this project was started at the beginning of 2014 and completed in December. The new culvert has a length of 1.5 kilometres and a diameter of 2.6 metres. In April 2015, it will be connected to the existing infrastructure and put into operation. Subsequently, the old pipeline parts will be removed.
The province of Groningen has been confronted with an increasing number of earthquakes caused by gas extraction. Moreover, the strength of these earthquakes is also increasing. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has informed GTS that, for the time being, the maximum force of earthquakes is assumed to be 5.0 on the Richter scale. When the gas transport system was constructed, however, no account was taken of earthquakes of that magnitude. For this reason, GTS commissioned studies into possible measures it can take to ensure that its infrastructure can withstand these forces.
On the basis of these studies, it was concluded that a large majority of the pipelines can withstand earthquakes of the maximum magnitude expected over the coming years. However, for approximately 4% (about 80 kilometres) of GTS’s regional grid in the earthquake zone this cannot be guaranteed. This concerns pipelines constructed before 1964, which were taken over by Gasunie when it was founded. Research shows that gas transport through these pipelines under current circumstances is not at risk, but if the maximum strength of the earthquakes increases to 5.0 on the Richter scale in the future, it may be at risk. It has been decided to make preventive adjustments to this part of the pipeline network. These adjustments will partly involve replacements, but gas transport via other routes will also be considered. On the basis of studies, the Minister of Economic Affairs has indicated that, although the chances of earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale are increasing, they will still be very small and almost negligible in the next five years. That is why GTS has set up a programme to implement all necessary measures in the coming years, starting with installations and pipelines that are most at risk. The programme is due for completion no later than 2020.
In addition to pipeline measures, GTS is also taking construction measures at stations and installations. At a number of places, preventive reinforcements are being installed to prevent risks for gas transport and to ensure that our employees can keep working safely at our locations. This involves, for example, reinforcing floors and ceilings, and reinforcing supports for pipeline parts above the ground. These construction measures are expected to be completed for all installations and stations by the end of 2016.
Developments in regulation
In 2013, the regulator ACM determined the regulatory method for 2014–2016. GTS filed an appeal against this. In the method decision, ACM determines the regulatory framework for the five statutory duties of transport, balancing, quality conversion, existing connections and new connections. The main reasons for appeal relate to the determination of the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) and the determination of the productivity improvement that is used to calculate the annual reduction of permitted costs. An intermediate ruling by the Court of Appeal (CBb) on 5 March 2015 has not yet had any consequences for the status of the method decision, and gives ACM an opportunity to repair its failure to state reasons in the method decision. The Court of Appeal will not make a final judgement in this appeal against the method decision before the end of 2015.
Besides this appeal, a number of other regulatory cases were relevant in 2014. For example, ACM upheld most of GTS’s objections regarding the tariff decision 2013. As a result of this, the 2014 and 2015 tariffs have been corrected. The reasons for this are a faulty calculation of the construction period interest in the 2013 tariffs and the fact that the investment project Nitrogen Buffer Heiligerlee was judged to be more efficient (after appeal, the efficiency of that project was determined at 99.4%).
In 2014, ACM’s intention to determine GTS’s efficiency by means of a cost benchmark also played a role. ACM wishes to compare GTS’s total costs, i.e., both operating costs and historical capital costs, with those of the German network operators. ACM is considering including the results of this benchmark in the revenue regulation for GTS as of 2017.
When GTS discussed ACM’s intention with ACM in 2014, GTS expressed its objections to ACM’s approach. It pointed out that the significant differences between Dutch and German network operators play an important role, which means a simplified comparison of the total costs of German network operators and those of GTS is not feasible. For example, there are differences in terms of legal tasks relating to security of supply and quality conversion, as well as differences in terms of the structure and organisation of the gas and gas transport market. In addition, ACM uses a small comparison group of 12 network operators. Using such a small data set, GTS believes it is impossible to make robust and validated links between costs and output.
In 2015, ACM will start preparing the regulatory period as of 2017. It will then become clear if ACM will go ahead with its intention to implement this benchmark.
Legislation and access conditions
Due to internationalisation and the increasing variety in the composition of gas, the Minister of Economic Affairs has decided to assign a new legal task to GTS. By means of a change in legislation, GTS has been given the task, if necessary, of adjusting not only the Wobbe index but also other characteristics of gas. The requirements for gas have been laid down in a Ministerial Regulation on gas quality (“MR Gaskwaliteit”), which came into force on 1 October 2014. This regulation ensures that all market parties and households will continue to be able make safe use of natural gas.
In May, BNetzA took a definitive decision with regard to the permitted revenues for the regulatory period of 2013 up to and including 2017, for which the efficiency of Gasunie Deutschland Transport Services GmbH was determined at 100%.
In April, BNetzA started a consultation process to map the requirements with regard to the tariffs for short-term bookings, interruptible capacity, and entry and exit points of gas storage installations. BNetzA is prepared to change its tariff system in order to make long-term bookings more attractive than short-term bookings. This could stabilise the number of bookings, which is currently very volatile and difficult to predict. This change is expected to be implemented on 1 January 2016.
In 2014, BNetzA evaluated the effects of revenue regulation. The report on this was sent to the German government in 2015. The adjustments are expected to be implemented in the next regulatory period (as of 2018). It is not yet clear how this will actually affect Gasunie Deutschland.
Changing gas composition
As a result of the internationalisation of gas flows in Europe, the composition of the gas in our network is becoming more varied. In addition, the production of natural gas in north-west Europe, including production from the Dutch gas fields, will decline. This has consequences for the end-user. In the Netherlands, we have two separate gas transport networks, one for low-calorific and one for high-calorific gas. The settings of domestic appliances and much of the industrial equipment in the Netherlands are geared to the relatively constant composition of the low-calorific Groningen gas (G gas). In the long term, these appliances will also need to be able to use gas of a different composition.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs has asked a number of parties in the market to take steps to give the end-users of gas sufficient time to adjust their equipment, if necessary. For the G gas market, there will be a transitional period that will run to 2030 at least. During this period, GTS will ensure that the market in the Netherlands will receive gas with a composition similar to that of G gas.
In the Netherlands, approximately 80 companies use H gas, while all other companies and households use G gas. The Ministry of Economic Affairs had also made a transitional arrangement for users of the high-calorific H gas to adjust their equipment, if necessary, to the increasing variety in the composition of gas. That arrangement ended on 1 October 2014. In the meantime, all these companies have taken measures to ensure that they can continue to make safe use of H gas.
The forthcoming dwindling production of Groningen gas has given rise to a study into the required amount of quality conversion means and nitrogen production. In the process of quality conversion, GTS adds nitrogen to high-calorific gas (H gas), in order to give the gas a quality that makes it suitable for the Dutch market (G gas). Because of the declining production at the Groningen field, nitrogen will need to be used much more frequently in order to provide users with low-calorific gas at times of great demand. The study showed that, probably around 2020, the peaks in demand will no longer be able to be met by existing and currently planned means. At the request of the Minister of Economic Affairs, GTS has started preparing the expansion of its quality conversion facilities, which it is expecting to put into operation at the end of 2019, in order to safeguard security of supply for customers as of 2020.
Besides the falling production of gas in the Netherlands, German production is also rapidly decreasing. It is expected that the export capacity from the Netherlands to Germany will decrease as of 2020, and will be reduced to zero in 2029. In the German Netzentwicklungsplan (NEP) 2013, the technical measures required have already been laid down, which means that the German market will be completely converted from low-calorific gas to high-calorific gas. The aim is to have a fully converted market by 2030.
Gasunie Deutschland has taken on a leading role in developing the conditions under which the conversion process will need to take place. These conditions will be laid down in the Kooperationsvereinbarung (KoV) between the German TSOs.
Together with neighbouring network operator Stadtwerke Schneverdingen, Gasunie Deutschland has entered into a conversion agreement to carry out a pilot project in 2015. In this project, the neighbouring regional network will be converted into a network for high-calorific gas. The experience gained in this pilot will be used for new projects with other regional networks, which are planned for 2016, in conformity with the Netzentwicklungsplan.
What else happened in 2014?
- We scaled up our multi-year replacement programme in the Netherlands. This programme consists of renovating and partly replacing valve stations, metering and regulating stations and gas receiving stations. The replacement programme has an expected duration of between 15 and 20 years.
- In December 2014, it was established that GTS meets the requirements for certification in conformity with NTA 8120. This Dutch technological agreement sets out the requirements that the asset management system must meet, defining in more detail the specific requirements of safety, quality and capacity management.
- As of 1 January 2014, Gasunie transferred the ownership of the gas transport network in the Netherlands and the associated assets, liabilities and activities to GTS. The transfer was part of GTS’s certification as an independent network operator.
- As an extension of the transfer of assets from Gasunie to GTS, as of 1 January 2014, the assets and activities relating to the Peakshaver installations on the Maasvlakte transferred to a separate company, Gasunie Peakshaver BV.
- Because parties in the market are booking capacity at increasingly shorter notice and for shorter durations, GTS has less insight into the demand for capacity in the longer term. In 2014, in anticipation of the STROOM change in legislation in 2015, GTS started setting up a network development plan (NDP). This plan illustrates possible developments affecting GTS’s gas transport network on the basis of a series of plausible energy scenarios. For the NDP, the parties in the market will also be consulted. This consultation phase will take place in mid-2015. The NDP replaces the former Open Seasons.
Strengthening our leading position as a cross-border gas infrastructure company
Energy users benefit from strong international gas connections and a liquid gas market, as these are good for the availability and affordability of gas. In an energy world that is becoming increasingly international, we want to keep making optimum use of our infrastructure, and maintain or even grow its value. It is therefore important that market players prefer our infrastructure for their gas transport. We analyse their needs and develop services that fit in with these needs, where possible at European level. In addition, we will continue to look for opportunities for cooperating more intensively with other gas infrastructure companies in order to further expand and strengthen the gas roundabout.
Growing gas trading points promote market liquidity
A well-functioning gas market is an important part of the gas roundabout, because it attracts gas flows and increases competition in supply and demand. We want to expand the current leading position of the TTF gas trading point, the most liquid and authoritative hub in continental Europe. We do this by optimising existing services and developing new ones.
TTF is the Dutch virtual trading point where gas can be traded. Over the past few years, TTF has grown into one of the most prominent liquid gas hubs in Europe, alongside the English National Balancing Point (NBP). Despite the declining demand for gas in north-west Europe, in 2014 much more volume was traded on TTF than ever before. The bilateral Over-The-Counter (OTC) trade showed particularly strong growth, which meant that TTF succeeded in taking over the No. 1 position from NBP, which had led the European OTC market for years. TTF products were also traded more via gas exchanges than in previous years. A well-functioning TTF strengthens the security of supply, and also ensures that supply and demand function properly in a transparent and liquid market. To further enhance market forces, as of 1 June 2014, GTS offers the use of the trading point to shippers free of charge.
A well-functioning TTF strengthens the security of supply, and also ensures that supply and demand function properly.
In 2014, a total of 13,216 billion kWh of gas was traded via TTF, compared to 8,287 kWh in 2013. The physical volume flowing through TTF (the net TTF volume) was 430 billion kWh in 2014, compared to 447 billion kWh in 2013. This means that, just as in the two previous years, the physical TTF volume is larger than the domestic gas consumption in the Netherlands. Both the Netherlands and other countries use TTF to meet their demand for gas. In 2013, the number of active TTF traders again increased. At 127, this number was well above that of 2013 (113).
We also see growth at the North-German virtual gas trading point GASPOOL. Both the traded volumes and liquidity increased in 2014. The traded volume was 1,291 billion kWh in 2014 (1,251 billion kWh in 2013). The net volume decreased to 400 billion kWh (2013: 444 billion kWh). At the end of 2014, the number of traders on GASPOOL had increased by 43 to 398 (355 in 2013).
As an exchange for spot gas and derivatives markets, ICE Endex facilitates, amongst other things, the trade flows on TTF. In 2014, ICE Endex increased its market share in its primary market (TTF Futures) from approximately 10% at the beginning of the year to 20% towards the end of the year. Combined with a strong year for the TTF Futures market as a whole, this has led to a significant increase in the traded TTF Futures contracts by approximately 70% compared to 2013. This has also strengthened the position of TTF as the most liquid continental hub and price-maker in north-west Europe.
Cooperation at European level
Developments in the European gas market
In order to stimulate the development of a competitive European gas market and to promote market liquidity, Transmission System Operators (TSOs) work together. One context in which this collaboration takes place, for example, is ENTSOG (European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas). Within ENTSOG, TSOs coordinate their plans in the field of European network codes, the ten-year network development plan, the promotion of transparency, and more.
The harmonisation of gas transport services promotes cross-border gas trade. In 2014, GTS and Gasunie Deutschland therefore worked hard on helping to shape the new European network codes. In addition, the previously approved network codes in the field of capacity allocation (CAM) and congestion management (CMP) and in the field of balancing were (further) implemented. The implementation of the network code for balancing means, amongst other things, that GTS now makes use of the Within Day gas market of gas exchange ICE Endex for its balancing transactions. This strengthens the liquidity on the Within Day gas market, so that shippers can balance more efficiently and cost-effectively.
The harmonisation of gas transport services promotes cross-border gas trade.
Auctioning via PRISMA
The auctioning platform PRISMA already enabled shippers to book capacity (or bundled capacity) with GTS and Gasunie Deutschland at the border point of Oude Statenzijl. Since January 2014, the offering of capacity via this auctioning platform has been expanded to all GTS border points. Here the capacity is bundled with capacity of neighbouring network operators. The implementation of parts of CMP via the PRISMA platform has now also been enabled: shippers can return capacity and GTS can overbook capacity and, if necessary, buy it back.
Besides TSOs from the countries that started the PRISMA platform (The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Italy and Austria), BBL became a shareholder in 2014. In addition, TSOs from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Slovenia now offer transport capacity via the PRISMA platform. In 2015, Spain and Portugal, among other countries, are also expected to join.
Flexibility services via fast-cycle gas storage
The transition towards a sustainable energy mix requires smart and fast flexibility services. Our fast-cycle gas storage EnergyStock (previously Gasunie Zuidwending) therefore offers customised solutions for energy companies and traders. Thanks to the services provided by EnergyStock, they can optimise their energy portfolios, insure back-ups, manage their risks, and improve their trading opportunities. EnergyStock’s services are available via TTF. In 2014, EnergyStock organised two auctions. Both auctions were successful: a large amount of capacity was traded and new customers were attracted.
The transition towards a sustainable energy mix requires smart and fast flexibility services.
What else happened in 2014?
- Besides paying back deposited capital, Nord Stream also paid out its first dividend (€ 9.6 million) to Gasunie. This dividend will increase in the coming years.
- On 3 June 2014, GTS successfully changed over to the new balancing regime. The biggest change in the new system is that the bidding ladder has been replaced by the Within Day market van ICE Endex. This means the new regime has been brought fully in line with the European network code for balancing.
- In 2014, BBL joined ENTSOG, the European organisation of gas network operators.
Together with other European gas infrastructure companies, one of our goals is to make the provision of gas CO2 neutral by 2050.
The transition towards more sustainable use of energy
Gasunie believes in a sustainable energy supply. To give tangible shape to our role in the transition towards more sustainable use of energy, we have set up New Energy. This department focuses exclusively on projects in the field of sustainable energy. We prefer to tackle these kinds of projects in collaboration with other parties, both inside and outside the energy chain.
Together with other European gas infrastructure companies, one of our goals is to make the provision of gas CO2 neutral by 2050. In addition, we are looking at ways in which our infrastructure could contribute to a sustainable energy future, for instance in the heat market, or even outside the gas chain.
Seeking smarter energy solutions, together with partners
New LNG services
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a cleaner transport fuel than diesel, for instance, and it therefore makes an important contribution to reducing emissions in shipping and road transport. In addition, engines running on LNG are quieter, reducing noise pollution. What is more, LNG, as a portable fuel, could be an ideal solution for industries that need gas but are located in areas that lack gas pipelines.
In 2014, Gate terminal (Gate) further developed as an LNG hub, with a multi-faceted offering of LNG services for its customers. In this way, Gate contributes to diversifying the gas supply routes and thus to the security of supply in Europe.
In 2014, the number of ships for supply and throughput of LNG compared to 2013 grew from 23 to 34. This growth was mainly caused by the increase in small-scale (particularly truck loading) and reloading activities, whereby LNG loads are split into smaller quantities and then transported onwards. This enables Gate customers to distribute LNG as fuel for sea-going vessels, ferries and trucks, and for use in industry.
In January 2014, Gate took into operation a loading station for LNG tank trucks and containers with a total capacity of 5,000 tank trucks per year. In addition, together with Vopak, we announced on 3 July that Gate will be expanding its break-bulk infrastructure and services.
In the summer, the construction phase started. This will result in the construction of a third jetty and associated installations, specifically intended for break-bulk activities. The completion of the installation and the start of the first services are planned for mid-2016.
To enable the transition towards a more sustainable energy supply, new solutions are needed for the storage and transport of energy. The supply of electricity from wind and solar power is very variable, depending on weather conditions, and it is therefore not always in line with demand. Power-to-gas, in combination with the existing gas infrastructure, offers a solution to ensure that the oversupply of sustainably produced energy is not entirely lost. In an electrolysis installation, sustainably generated electricity (solar and wind) can be used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. By combining the hydrogen with carbon dioxide, it is even possible to produce methane, which is the main ingredient of natural gas. This is a process that is clean and sustainable.
Both the hydrogen and the methane can then be fed into the gas infrastructure. In this way, temporary surpluses of sustainable energy can be stored for later use. Overload of the electricity networks can thus be prevented and no investments need to be made to expand them. Gas is easy to store, and it is also the cheapest form of energy to transport. This creates a new role for the natural gas infrastructure, namely as a place of storage and a means of transport for sustainable energy.
Power-to-gas, in combination with the existing gas infrastructure, offers a solution to ensure that the oversupply of sustainably produced energy is not entirely lost.
In 2014, together with Energy Valley, Torrgas, Siemens, Stedin, A.Hak and Hanzehogeschool/ Entrance, we set up a consortium that will carry out research into power-to-gas. The consortium aims to complete the construction of the first large-scale and fully integrated power-to-gas-installation in the Netherlands within two years. The installation in Delfzijl will have a production capacity of 12 Megawatt, and will produce hydrogen and syngas for the chemical industry.
Green gas: from grass to gas
Gasunie aims to increase the share of green gas in the energy mix by developing, together with third parties, new concepts and revenue models. That is why, in 2014, New Energy joined forces with HarvestaGG to build an installation in the province of Groningen that HarvestaGG can use to produce biogas (amongst other things) from biomass (grass), after which we treat and liquefy it into bio-LNG. HarvestaGG has developed a process that fully utilises the value of the biomass. From approximately 150,000 tonnes of grass, it will produce some 20 million m3 of biogas, which, after upgrading (removal of CO2) and liquefying, will result in approximately 6,500 tonnes of bio-LNG. In addition, the same process produces some 12,000 tonnes of liquid feed in the form of grass juice (used as feed for pigs, for example), some 17 million kg of biological CO2 (which can be reused), and some 28,000 tonnes of fertiliser pellets. This is an example of bio-based business. The installation will stimulate the local economy in terms of new jobs, as it will employ some 20 direct FTEs and 15 indirect FTEs. The permit is expected to be granted at the end of 2015, after which construction can start. Before that time, some extra steps will need to be taken in order to establish a broadly supported investment and find strategic partners who can take on the construction of these and future installations.
With a green-gas booster, green gas can be transferred from one network to another. In 2014, together with various parties, we considered the wishes and possibilities in the Netherlands with regard to such transfers. For example, together with Attéro and Enexis, we decided that a green-gas booster will be necessary in Wijster in order to transfer the share of green gas that cannot be taken in by the RNB network to GTS’s network. We are setting up a pilot for this, and will take a definitive investment decision in the spring of 2015. We plan to have these facilities completed in 2016.
Vertogas, one of our subsidiaries, is an autonomous and independent company which facilitates the trade in green gas through its certification system. Vertogas certificates state the origin of the green gas and the types of biomass used in its production. This provides green-gas traders and customers with a guarantee that they are dealing with genuine green gas. A recognised green gas certification system is essential for the further development of the green-gas market. Since 1 January 2015, the role of Vertogas as certification authority for renewable gas (green gas) has changed. As of 1 January, Vertogas acts on behalf of the Minister of Economic Affairs, and carries out its task on the basis of the new energy legislation, which also includes certification of renewable energy.
In the course of 2014, 530,000 certificates were issued, certifying 53 million m3 of green gas (calculated over a period of eleven months due to the changeover to a different book year). In 2014, one new producer applied for certification; in total, 21 producers are using green-gas certificates. In 2014, nine new traders joined; in total, 28 traders are now using the system.