GasTerra attaches great importance to making the supply of energy sustainable. We strive to make the transition to a sustainable energy supply (energy transition) responsibly - that is to say, to have it proceed with an eye for both ecological and economic interests. Broadening and deepening knowledge about energy and further optimising the role of gas in the system are indispensable to this. GasTerra thus encourages this as much as possible. We apply this in our own operations as well, but given our limited footprint, our impact is low.
In the past year, GasTerra has worked on reformulating its own vision on energy transition, and the role that GasTerra can play in that transition. From this, 'knowledge about energy' and 'the role of gas in the system' emerged as the priorities. We see the Energy Academy Europe (EAE), and in particular the Energy Transition Centre (EnTranCe) which is a part of the EAE, as the tool for working on these priorities. In 2013, GasTerra invested approximately €3.6 million in know-how and innovation. With this budget, and all the ensuing initiatives mentioned in this chapter, GasTerra is giving effect to the Green two main objectives of the CSR matrix.
Broadening and deepening knowledge
Many people take energy for granted. Little is said about it and when it comes to sustainability, emotion often seems to have the upper hand. Whereas accurate knowledge of matters is of great importance in order to be able to make the right decisions in the area of sustainability. GasTerra wants to help broaden and deepen knowledge in the field of energy, and to support education in this area. Our ambition is to provide more information - and above all honest and factual information - so as to focus more attention on the issue of energy as well. To achieve this, in 2013, GasTerra has made a contribution through 12 initiatives in the field of knowledge and education that fit within our policy. GasTerra is striving to equal this effort in 2014. Both in 2013 and 2014, GasTerra's investment in the Energy Academy Europe (EAE) has been playing an important role in this. With its contribution to the Energy Academy Europe, GasTerra is supporting research and contributing to the development of teaching materials, from vocational education to postgraduate education. In addition, we are cooperating in the development of teaching packets for primary and secondary education. Finally, we are also trying to broaden and deepen knowledge among policy makers, decision makers and other stakeholders. Development of knowledge and education is primarily via the Energy Academy Europe and EnTranCe; the further development and application of the ETM (Energy Transition Model), for example, is also focused on this. In addition, there are activities that are tailored to specific target groups such as Energy Challenges for students and Energy Podium Dinners for decision makers.
The role of gas in the system
The energy transition is a long-term process. The demand for energy and the supply of alternative energy resources are not linked up with each other and storage of electricity is still relatively difficult and expensive. Natural gas, as the cleanest of the fossil fuels is therefore indispensable for the time being if we wish to secure energy supplies, keep them affordable and also restrict CO2 emission levels. New gases such as hydrogen - obtained, inter alia, from wind and solar energy and biogas, may eventually quite possibly supplement or even replace natural gas. Therefore GasTerra wishes to have gas play a sustainable supporting role in the energy transition by cooperating on further optimisation of the role of gas in the system. New, smart (gas) technologies are indispensable in this. Combined with the ambitions in the field of knowledge development, GasTerra therefore supports research into the development and use of new gas applications at EnTranCe, the 'testing ground' of the Energy Academy Europe, and derivative projects. Examples include: system integration with fuel cells, hybrid boilers, storage of hydrogen in natural gas, fermentation of biomass.
A third leg of GasTerra's efforts from the Energy Transition Department is the Environmental Plan for Industry (EPI) (Milieuplan Industrie or MPI).
With EPI projects, GasTerra supports industrial customers in the improvement of energy efficiency, the reduction of emissions and the sustainability of their operational processes. We call in a technical consultant who, in consultation with the customer, looks at the opportunities in these areas.
A big EPI project in 2013 was for a collective of brickworks. Via research institute DNV-GL (formerly DNV Kema), the issue of how the use of gas burners could be further optimised was investigated. The tests showed that significant savings might be possible with improved process control. Ultimately, in 2013, six projects were carried out, with which we exceeded the target to perform five EPI projects for industrial clients in 2013. For 2014, there are already two projects planned.
In 2011, GasTerra signed a Green Gas Green Deal (G3D), together with several market operators, public authorities, institutions of knowledge and other organisations. When doing so, GasTerra promised to dedicate itself in the coming years to accommodate the entire volume of biogas that can be fed into the network of the national transmission system operator, provided the green gas is certified by way of a system of certification and its price is competitive.
Just as in 2012, in 2013, GasTerra inter alia gave effect to the G3D by purchasing the production of a number of green gas production facilities belonging to Suikerunie (9.3 million m3), HVC (3.1 million m3) and Greenchoice (7.8 million m3). In so doing, for HVC and Greenchoice, GasTerra absorbs the variations in the green gas production into its own portfolio, and then resupplies it to HVC and Greenchoice in the profile that both parties desire. From Suikerunie, GasTerra purchased gas, including the certificates issued by Vertogas on the production of green gas. The gas and the certificates were subsequently sold to biofuel producers BioMCN.
GasTerra had as its target in 2013 to conclude at least three new green gas contracts. To this end, we approached almost all parties who had been given an SDE order in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for the production of substantial amounts of green gas. (SDE stands for Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Production - Stimulering Duurzame Energieproductie). Only in a few cases were the SDE allocations converted into actual green gas projects. Notwithstanding the limited number of new production projects in the Netherlands, in 2013 GasTerra was yet again able to conclude or extend some contracts, including the purchase of green gas from three new green gas facilities under two new contracts. Two facilities will together produce approximately 17 million m3 of green gas on an annual basis, with the first production expected in 2014. With the production of green gas in this project, a new type of fermenter will be used, with a higher efficiency than usual. The third facility, about 23 million m3, likewise uses a new innovative technology, whereby biomass is converted into biogas under high temperature and pressure underground. GasTerra considers it important that the green gas purchased is produced in a demonstrably sustainable way. Therefore, included in this agreement inter alia is a condition that the biomass used for the production of the green gas must meet the requirements set for the NTA 8080 mark of quality.
GasTerra buys the vast majority of its gas from Dutch sources. It is the exclusive buyer of the Groningen gas produced by the NAM. In addition, the company has a legal obligation to take gas from the Dutch small fields if producers offer it. This situation limits the influence of GasTerra over the manner in which and the conditions under which the gas is extracted. Within the context of its CSR policies, in 2012, GasTerra has conducted studies into the CO2 footprint of the gas purchases. From these, it emerged that Dutch gas is extracted in accordance with the highest international standards and is transmitted over short distances.
A small part of GasTerra's purchasing volume comes from abroad, in particular from Norway and Russia. With its participation in the Project Delta Group (PDG) public-private partnership, GasTerra tries to promote a reduction in the footprint of natural gas from the Russian gas company GazProm. PDG does this inter alia by sharing best practices.
The move to the new office premises in February 2013 has led to substantial energy savings. The installation of solar panels, triple glazing, thermal storage and LED screens has ensured that the building has gone from energy efficiency rating G to A+, the second highest level. In 2012, in the building at the Rozenburglaan, 6200 GJ of primary energy were used. In the building on the Stationsweg, in 2013, 4600 GJ were used.
After moving, a lot of equipment that was not yet working optimally, needed to be adjusted. Partly because of that, consumption was higher than estimated. We anticipate that the energy consumption of GasTerra in the coming year will be lower than in 2013. In this context, it is important that employees deal with energy in the building attentively. We therefore constantly call attention to this subject.
The new GasTerra office is situated right next to the Central Station of Groningen and has only 15 parking spaces. The goal was to have more staff travel by public transport so as to reduce the 'footprint' in this way. This has succeeded; all employees are now coming to work (sometimes partially) by bicycle, on foot or by public transport, as the result of which the car mileage has dropped. Also in order to reduce some of the business mileage, we offer public transport cards and we have purchased six electric bicycles.
In 2013, GasTerra compensated the CO2 emissions from staff business travel by car via the Climate Neutral Group. The CO2 emissions from business air travel were compensated via the travel management company ATP.nl.
When purchasing goods and services attention is paid - in addition to price and quality - to CSR issues. Whether it comes to choosing the caterer and cleaning service or to saving on paper and ink cartridges as a result of 'paperless' operations. CSR is an important pillar of our purchasing policy. In 2013, the purchasing turnover amounted to €35 million. GasTerra's goal is to reduce the purchasing turnover in 2014 by one million by constantly paying attention to efficiency in the procurement process.