• Future benefits



    Real-Time Networks aims to reduce gas costs and improve our security of supply for the future. Whilst we carry out our project, not only do we aim to achieve these benefits for our customers, we anticipate the following benefits could also be established for our network and for the wider energy industry. 

    Network benefits


    • Reduce network strategic investments (mains replacement/reinforcement), through better understanding of demand and diversity
      Many of our demand and supply calculations were formulated in the early 80s. These calculations predict the amount of gas used by typical house types. However, we know that all our customers different and so use gas in their own way.  The overall assumption being that not all properties will have the same demand requirements at the same time. However, over the course of the last 30 years, house types, energy requirements have changed drastically. Our project will redesign these figures to match modern day use.
    • Demonstrate cutting-edge sensor technologies
      During the project we will adapt and improve existing sensor technology, currently not used in gas networks, to provide the data needed. This innovative use of equipment will broaden the market and reduce costs for equipment of this type by making more devices available. 
    • Reduce exit capacity 
      Gas suppliers take gas from the National Transmission System (NTS). In simple terms they buy 1 unit of capacity to provide 1 unit of energy. Real-Time Networks will provide a better understanding of the energy requirements and can therefore increase the accuracy of the network exit capacity requirements. 
    • Remove IT infrastructure investments, replaced by cloud-based system 
      Most organisations, SGN are one example, are in a cycle of buying expensive IT hardware. Use of cloud technologies offers more cost effective and easier options to scale up or down as required. We will be demonstrating that this is a fit for purpose alternative to our current IT hardware investments.


    Wider industry benefits  


    • Support removal of gas processing, including nitrogen ballasting, propanation etc.
      Currently the gas that’s acceptable for use in GB is very limited with the quality highly controlled, a rich gas (LNG) requires mixing with nitrogen and lean gas (biomethane) requires mixing with propane. Both of these actions increase costs and have an environmental impact 
    • Create potential for cheaper gas bills in the future 
      With a better understanding of the energy value in the gas network, gas suppliers may be able to amend their billing regime which may lead to more accurate and potentially cheaper bills for customers 
    • Increase our ability to adapt for the future energy needs of GB 
      The gas we transport is fed from the high pressure National Transmission System down through the pressure tiers to low pressure connections to the majority of our customers. In the future more sources of gas will look to enter the network at various locations and at different pressure tiers. Our project, by improving the understanding of energy content (rather than pressure) in the network, will make this easier to achieve.
    • Improve understanding of the gas networks’ energy delivery capability
      Gas quality (a basis of the energy the gas can provide), from a distribution network’s perspective, is currently only measured at the points where the gas enters the particular network. Our project will identify the benefits for wide scale use of quality monitoring sensors throughout the network.