Natural gas generation sets (gensets) are becoming more popular for distributed power generation installations and could surpass 13 GW of capacity worldwide by 2018, according to Navigant Research.
“Many specialized natural gas genset segments span power classes, applications and end-use customers, offering a rich ecosystem of opportunities for market participants,” according to Navigant, which issued a report earlier this month. “Gas gensets are capturing increasing market share as a source of continuous or prime power.”
Distributed generation (DG) has the advantage of going online more quickly than traditional large, centralized electric generation facilities, so an abundance of DG power sources can help reduce the pressure on electric grids in times of peak demand. DG can help reduce “inefficiencies” that are common in centralized power generation, transmission and distribution, according to Navigant.
Navigant pointed out that DG may be a source of emergency standby, prime or continuous power, and it concluded that natural gas-fueled gensets “are poised for rapid growth,” particularly in markets like North America, where gas is widely available and inexpensive.
Noting that emergency and standby markets are particularly robust, Navigant’s principal research analyst Mackinnon Lawrence said both emissions restrictions and relatively low U.S. gas prices allow “natural gas gensets to capture increasing market share as a source of continuous or prime power.”
Navigant researchers looked at the global potential for gas gensets ranging from less than 15 kW to 6 MW for residential, commercial and industrial applications. The study, “Natural Gas Generator Sets,” offers a bullish outlook, but researchers found some caveats.
While the outlook for growth is strong, the gas genset market still is “fraught with complexity” because there are no single solutions that can be applied to given markets. “With the exception of a few diversified companies, market participants remain highly specialized in one or two market segments, catering to a narrow set of needs. For this reason barriers to entry for new market participants are high.”
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