Implementing distributed utility can strengthen the local distribution system and help avoid or delay the expense of upgrading transformers and feeders. The gas turbine-generator set is an attractive option based on its low front-end capital cost, reliable performance at unmanned stations, and environmental performance characteristics. This report assesses gas turbine utilization issues from a perspective of fuel supply pressure requirements and discusses both cost and operational factors. A primary operational consideration for siting gas turbines on the electric distribution system is whether the local gas distribution company can supply gas at the required pressure. Currently available gas turbine engines require gas supply pressures of at least 150 pounds per square inch gauge, more typically, 250 to 350 psig. Few LDCs maintain line pressure in excess of 125 psig. One option for meeting the gas pressure requirements is to upgrade or extend an existing pipeline and connect that pipeline to a high-pressure supply source, such as an interstate transmission line. However, constructing new pipeline is expensive, and the small volume of gas required by the turbine for the application offers little incentive for the LDC to provide this service. Another way to meet gas pressure requirements is to boost the compression of the fuel gas at the gas turbine site. Fuel gas booster compressors are readily available as stand-alone units and can satisfactorily increase the supply pressure to meet the turbine engine requirement. However, the life-cycle costs of this equipment are not inconsequential, and maintenance and reliability issues for boosters in this application are questionable and require further study. These factors may make the gas turbine option a less attractive solution in DU applications than first indicated by just the $/kW capital cost. On the other hand, for some applications other DU technologies, such as photovoltaics, may be the more attractive option.
The different versions of the original document can be found in:
Are you one of the authors of this document?