From the archive: testing the limits of the gas network

Fast-changing combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) and more gas plant connecting at the distribution level could threaten the gas network’s ability to supply, system operator National Grid Gas (NGG) said, announcing plans to develop a forward-looking “System Operability Framework” in parallel to one already in place for the electricity network. The plan came as NGG, which owns and operates the high pressure gas National Transmission System (NTS), published its annual Ten Year Statement for the network and highlighted a raft of new developments in the market that will require changes in the network, market arrangements and operating rules.

Changes include: the need to accommodate fast changes in local pressure as gas power plant operating patterns change to faster and more frequent generation levels; less predictable flows into low pressure gas distribution networks (GDNs) as the amount of distributed generation increases; changed network flow as gas inputs become more diverse, including inputs from unconventional gas sources and biogas, as well as LNG terminals; falling flows from northern import terminals could reduce gas pressure in the region beyond limits; and potential summer oversupply on GDNs from local sources.

The changes come as NGG’s network is facing a major upgrade programme lasting until 2021 and an unresolved question over how the network’s key compressor engines can be updated to meet new pollution limits.

In its Ten Year Statement, NGG said: “Given the changing, increasingly uncertain supply and demand environment, we will not be able to rely on our past experiences of operating our network.”

Subscribers: login to read the full article, published in the March 2016 issue of New Power

Further reading: Gas goes into the unknown

Carbon Connect seeks views on the future of gas distribution networks

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