Natural gas will play a big role in supporting the continued expansion of a renewable generation, but integration will be problematic for both the power grid and for natural gas infrastructure, according to an ICF International white paper.
The report says that changing natural gas infrastructure will create the need for operational changes and affect requirements as well as cost recovery.
The white paper, “Integrating Variable Renewable Electric Power Generators and the Natural Gas Infrastructure,” discusses the implications of a natural gas infrastructure as well as what operation it will have on the electric grid while integrating significant amounts of variable renewable generation.
According to ICF’s studies, the introduction of natural gas’ new role would include changes such as addressing requirements to include enhanced line pack, applications of new no-notice and gas storage services specifically designed for power generation as well as growth of the number, but reduction of length for nomination cycles.
“The electric industry has been discussing the significant challenges of integrating large amounts of renewable energy into the power grid,” said Judah Rose, senior vice president and co-author of the paper. “Our analysis is intended to expand that discussion to assess the implications of renewable generation for the natural gas delivery infrastructure, which is likely to be called upon to provide the fuel for firming capacity.“
While the paper acknowledges the growing role of natural gases, it also says careful consideration must be taken regarding transportation facilities and services. A natural gas pipeline system has certain operational flexibility for supplying natural gas to firming generators at their required pressures, the report says, but the construction will have to incorporate changing generator needs.