Gas peaking: Filling the gaps in energy supply

A huge surge in renewable energy generation in the UK in recent years is set to further dominate the market as the next wave of offshore wind farms come online. 

Meanwhile all remaining coal electricity generating plants are set to be decommissioned by 2022 and half the UK’s nuclear capacity is predicted to be offline by 2025. The electricity generation market will therefore be increasingly dominated by intermittent sources. 

This means grid operators will face new challenges as they look to provide grid capacity and stability against a backdrop of potentially extreme fluctuation. To soften the blow, Ofgem (the office of Gas and Electricity markets) has introduced a number of markets aimed at helping to ensure delivery of electrical power generation capacity at short notice. 

One of these is the Capacity market which incentivises flexible, fast responding generation during peak times. This is where peak power plants come into play, burning gas from the nearest point of connection to produce and export electricity back into the grid during times of high demand. 

This provides an opportunity for landowners to maximise the value of their vacant land assets and generate stable, long-term revenue in either rural or urban locations. It is common practice for developers to fund the development and construction of the generation plant, so they are generally willing to offer a rental payment on a per mW basis of installed capacity to the landowner. 

Developers can minimise the development footprint by deploying the latest modular gas-powered engines. These are housed in containerised units, which ensures quick construction, minimal site disruption and minimal noise pollution. As the generators are modular, output can be optimised to the land available and the capacity of the local grid. 

Developers are extremely keen to find sites which can connect to the grid. The land needs to be flat, near to a suitable substation with access to the local road network, and not have any special designation e.g. site of special scientific interest, area of outstanding natural beauty, or within a national park. 

Galbraith has key contacts within the sector and will be happy to either make an introduction on your behalf or, if approached by a developer, guide you through the development process from start to finish with professional fees being footed by the would-be developer.