NetConnect Germany is one of two transmission system operators in the German natural gas market. With a high-pressure pipeline network of a total length of about 20,000 km, it connects approximately 500 downstream networks and is responsible for the operational management of the market area cooperation. Among the most important tasks of NCG is the balancing of system energy flows. In order to ensure that these systems, or market areas, are well-balanced in terms of their gas inflow and outflow, an accurate demand forecast of the distribution networks’ consumption pattern is invaluable.
This is where you come in! NetConnect Germany has plenty of data points on how control energy demand varies over time; specifically you will be provided with historical data for the past 4 years. They are asking you to improve their planning of control energy needs. Looking at historical data and defining what a “typical” year—given certain weather conditions—looks like, would be a first step to allow for scenario planning and continuously updated monthly analyses. Better understanding of how local ambient temperature and the need for control energy are correlated is key in this challenge. Depending on the local infrastructure, regions may behave differently in their demand for heating, so there is a spatial component involved, too. Besides temperature, there surely are other factors that provide further indication of control energy demand, and that would be up to you to find out.