What makes a good gas genset site?

Most of the ‘noise’ in the energy industry is about the lucrative opportunities from battery storage, and we’ve written about sites that are suitable for battery storage before. However, batteries are not suitable for all sites or all parts of the electrical grid.

Even if the grid has sufficient export capacity for battery power, there must be sufficient import capacity to charge the cells too. Voltage step-change issues – a product of battery ramp-rates – often preclude batteries. In these cases, gas gensets may be viable instead.

A gas genset scheme comprises of reciprocating engines that burn gas to create electricity which is then exported to the grid. A typical scheme requires around half an acre to two acres of ground.

A gas genset scheme obviously needs proximity to the gas grid, which needs to be at medium or intermediate pressure (local high pressure can be suitable for larger plants). The gas pipeline also needs to be of a sufficient diameter. A good gas genset site shares many of the factors needed for a battery storage site. They both need:

  • a 33,000-volt (33 kV) circuit nearby; or
  • a primary substation (typically 33/11 kV) or bulk supply point (typically 33/132 kV) nearby
  • an 11 kV connection for a small scheme (up to 8 MW) or a minimum of 33 kV connection for larger schemes (up to 50 MW)
  • to be ideally less than 1 kilometre from the primary substation if it is an 11 kV connection
  • export capacity on the local grid
  • overhead lines are preferable but not essential
  • minimal hard dig (soft dig across owned land is preferable) from the site to the point of connection
  • ideally no crossing of railway lines, canals or rivers
  • access rights and good vehicular access to the site
  • planning credentials around landscape/habitat designations, flood risk, existing use, visibility and noise.

There are additional requirements that are specific to gas gensets. These include:

  • as gas gensets generate sound, planning considerations are such that genset sites ideally have no dwellings within 200-300 metres. Existing ambient (background) noise such as traffic, industrial activity or quarrying will help mitigate against planning risk.
  • the network having sufficient ‘fault current’ headroom. Network Operators must maintain fault current within statutory limits. Genset schemes contribute far higher fault current than battery storage or solar schemes, for example.

Roadnight Taylor has unrivalled relationships with engineers at the Network Operators. We have the expertise to assess your local network and its suitability for gas gensets – and indeed other technologies such as battery storage or solar. Being independent from any technology or developer, we will always advise the most suitable technology for your part of the grid.

Before committing to fees for grid applications, you must first ensure you have a potentially viable site. You also need to make sure you get into the queue for remaining, viable grid capacity ahead of your neighbours. Roadnight Taylor offers Stop/Go feasibility studies from as little as £250, where we assess all the factors necessary for a successful scheme. The study quickly identifies if it is worth submitting a grid application, for what technology and at what scale. We always back our recommendations and can prepare, submit and manage grid applications on a success-only basis.

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Call us to today on 01993 830571 to find out more about our Stop/Go studies from as little as £250. Alternatively, email us via our Contact Us page.

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About the Author:

Having worked in the energy industry for over six years, Hugh sits on expert panels for the three largest Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). He also has a deep understanding of National Grid’s Capacity Market and its various balancing markets, is a regular consultee to BEIS and Ofgem, and is a popular speaker at industry events.

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