Security of supply is the core issue for the energy sector, and of vital importance to society and the economy. We work responsibly to ensure uninterrupted, affordable and secure supplies of gas for power and heat generation, and for use in industry and transportation. It is our task to provide storage capacity on fair market terms, so that energy suppliers in Central Europe can provide their customers with dependable supplies. Refilling the storage facilities is the responsibility of the suppliers we work with; it is our responsibility to ensure that the storage and other technical facilities offer high availability, and to minimise risks in the operation of these facilities.
Reliable and flexible supplies of large volumes of energy sources for Austria and Central Europe are essential to maintain stability and safeguard the region’s position as a business location. Market distortions in the wake of war in Ukraine have shown the negative impact that dependence on individual exporting countries can have. The resulting necessary diversification of import flows has brought new challenges for RAG with regard to gas quality, which we have so far successfully overcome with the help of our experts.
Alongside storage of conventional natural gas, use of RAG’s facilities to store green gas is set to grow. The necessary reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and the transformation of energy systems will only be possible if electricity generated by wind and solar power installations can be stored. For this reason, RAG started work years ago to ready its storage facilities for use with alternative gaseous energy forms, such as hydrogen, in order to support security of supply. Alongside increased production of biogas and synthetic gas, hydrogen will be an important pillar in tomorrow’s energy supplies.
Diversifying our own energy supplies is another important step in protecting ourselves against potential energy blackouts. Development and expansion of photovoltaic (PV) installations at our sites, and the black start capability of key facilities both play an important role in ensuring secure gas supplies.
In fulfilling our role to ensure security of supply, we also use electric compressors, which may be more environmentally friendly but are not secure against blackouts. Gas compressors are therefore required in at least some of the necessary areas of application, which in future will ideally run on green gas, hydrogen or climate neutral energy.
RAG Energy Storage concludes contracts on gas storage availability individually with each customer. To guarantee this availability, our facilities are carefully planned and operated. Regular maintenance and inspections are carried out in line with the applicable regulatory requirements, and often go beyond them. Facilities are continually updated to reflect the state of the art. Our target is availability of 99.5 %, excluding planned maintenance. Gas storage availability as measured by customers exceeded this target in 2021 (99.97 %) and 2022 (99.98 %).