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GFOP 2017: the future of gas

On 30 November, National Grid launches its Gas Future Operability Planning (GFOP) report, which supports the work already done in the annual Electricity and Gas Ten Year Statements. Craig Dyke, Gas Network Development Manager, System Operator, explains why having a clear picture of the challenges that lie ahead has never been more important.

Great Britain’s energy landscape has changed radically in the past 15 years. With new technologies bursting on to the scene, business models evolving and consumer behaviour changing, we expect this to continue.

Today, gas is critical to security of supply. In all of our 2017 Future Energy Scenarios, it continues to be an important part of the future energy picture. As Great Britain moves into a low-carbon future, gas will be a flexible, reliable and cost-effective energy source favoured by many consumers. It’s important, then, that we understand how the use of the National Transmission System (NTS) might change both in the short and long term.

Our Gas Future Operability Planning (GFOP) report describes how this changing energy landscape might affect how the gas network functions in the future. We want the GFOP to be a focal point for all stakeholders. A catalyst to discuss the future needs and challenges for the network. What we learn could lead to changes in the way we make decisions and how we operate the network.

This year’s GFOP will be made up of four quarterly editions released in 2017/18. GFOP 2017 – A changing energy landscape is the first of these. It introduces a range of current and future challenges affecting the National Transmission System (NTS).

As Great Britain moves into a low-carbon future, gas will be a flexible, reliable and cost-effective energy source favoured by many consumers.

- Craig Dyke, Gas Network Development Manager, System Operator

GFOP 2017 – A changing energy landscape

Since the release of our first GFOP edition last November, the Future Energy Scenarios and Future of Gas stakeholder engagement programmes have helped us to understand what really matters to consumers now and in the future. The latest GFOP builds on this by highlighting what impact these future energy needs could have on how we plan and operate the gas network up until 2050.

Without a crystal ball, we can’t know exactly how the supply and demand for gas will change in the future. So we tested what impact the various Future Energy Scenarios might have across our network.

The issues the network faces are a result of the following: decreasing gas supply in Scotland; Great Britain’s growing reliance on gas imports; a more diverse gas supply mix; increasing gas-fired power generation demand on the network; and swings in the quantities of gas within our network of pipes.

Read all of the results of GFOP 2017 – A changing energy landscape.

Have your say

We can’t identify and act on the challenges facing us without input from our stakeholders. In the coming months, we’ll host webinars/events to hear your views on the latest GFOP and discuss what challenges to investigate next. We’ll also be talking to some of you at the Gas Futures Group, Gas Transmission Working Group and the Operational Forum. If you’d like to get involved in our stakeholder events or share your views please contact the GFOP team.

The views of stakeholders will shape the GFOP, so please do take the time to give your feedback and get involved.

The outlook for gas and electricity over the next ten years

Alongside the GFOP, National Grid publishes Ten Year Statements for both electricity and gas. We produce these each year in our role as System Operator.

So, what is the purpose of each document and what can we learn from them?

The Electricity Ten Year Statement (ETYS) is all about understanding what the requirements will be for the National Electricity Transmission System to transfer bulk power over the next decade. It helps us to make sure that as System Operator we can plan ahead to manage the network effectively and securely. The ETYS includes contributions from the GB transmission owners. It takes the work that we do each year in our Future Energy Scenarios, then applies this to the National Electricity Transmission System to test whether it’s capable of meeting changing power demands.

This year’s ETYS shows the improvement that we’ll see once the Western HVDC circuit is commissioned. This will help manage high north-south flows from Scotland, and northern England to the Midlands and the south of England. The ETYS also highlights future network requirements across various regions in Great Britain. These will be used in the Network Options Assessment (NOA) to be published in January 2018. The NOA will make the System Operator’s network investment recommendations for 2018 – so that our network can continue to support the shift to a low carbon energy economy.

We produce the Gas Ten Year Statement (GTYS) to give customers the latest information on connection and capacity opportunities. The document explains the driving forces behind any developments on the network, the current performance of the National Transmission System (NTS), the tools we’re developing to improve how it operates, and any developments with our gas assets.

Why do we do all of this?

Industry stakeholders need credible and reliable insights to be able to make informed decisions about future investments. That’s why we produce these documents every year, under the heading Future of Energy. More broadly, it also feeds into a national need to find the right solutions to the energy trilemma of security of supply, affordability and environmental sustainability.

Stakeholder involvement has played a vital role in helping us develop these documents and it’s equally important that we get your feedback now that they’ve been published. You can give your thoughts by sending an email to the relevant address:


Email: [email protected]


Email: [email protected]


Email: [email protected]