Flexibly manage base or peak loads with natural gas-fueled cogeneration power plants
Electric utilities can operate gas engine generators continuously to serve base electrical loads. This is particularly advantageous in the absence of a reliable centralized power plant, or where the economics and availability of natural gas fuel are key drivers. Base load is the basic constant demand for electricity required during a typical day. Thus the demand for power is always at least as high as the base load. As a function of the electricity demand, the base load is higher in the winter than in the summer.
Generator sets based on gas engines are typically also used to handle peak loads. Peak load is the term used to describe temporarily high demand for output in the electrical grid or in other utility grids. Peaks in demand are often characterized by a rapid increase in the demanded output, which is why scalable peak load power plants must quickly be deployed. Demand spikes in the electrical utility grid typically occur in the early morning and in the late afternoon on workdays. These power plants can make high output levels available within seconds or minutes. They also include modern gas-fueled power plants.
Some utilities choose to enter into long-term power purchase agreements to own a reserve block of power to address these intermittent spikes. However, this approach can lead to unnecessary base load capacity, driving up costs for the utility and its customers.
MWM customers receive expert advice on how to design, install and maintain power plants designed for different utility applications.
Benefits from utility gas generator set applications include:
- Reduced energy costs
- Efficient utilization of resources
- Increased revenue opportunities
Base-load generator set power plants can range in size from just a few megawatts (MW) for a small island to over 100 MW for larger metropolitan areas. These power plants can be built with several 400 to 10,300 kWel size class generators operating in parallel as a central source of electricity for the local electric grid.
Typical peak load power plant solutions operate in the 2 to 50 MW range from 100 to 3,000 hours per year. Most 100 hour-per-year plants would typically be diesel fueled and cover a super peak, while natural gas-fueled power plant economics favor higher applications with more operating hours and longer duration peak demand.
Paralleling switchgear systems for energy utilities are employed to allow several generator sets to operate with one another in parallel to the main power grid. In open energy markets, the electricity produced by these generators can be used to meet the needs of local customers during peak times or sold for a profit at spot prices in open real-time energy markets.
For power shortages or outages in emergencies, MWM also offers gas-fueled utility scale rental power modules and container solutions that can be quickly dispatched and installed to handle immediate power shortages.