Bio-methane has huge potential in delivering a sustainable energy sector at an economic value to consumers. Entry of bio-methane into the gas distribution network is recognised as having the potential of being one of the most efficient ways of utilising this green energy source. This is recognised by the benefits offered in the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The take up of bio-methane connections is forecast to see a steady growth over the coming years.
Since 2008, Northern Gas Networks has worked closely with third party organisations that are developing bio-methane technologies and has made significant progress in developing a connection procedure and gas quality specification which will facilitate Network Entry Agreements (NEA's).
Summary outlining the key stages of the process:
- The initial enquiry examining the option of injecting bio-methane into Northern Gas Networks' distribution network is received by the single contact point from a variety of sources, including: Local Authorities; commercial/industrial organisations; farmers; water companies or consultants acting on behalf these bodies.
- An initial assessment on the viability of the proposal will be made considering the following information:
- Where is the nearest connection point?
- What is the operating pressure tier at this point?
- How much will it cost to connect (pipe laying and connection cost)?
- The location of the nearest gas main with the desired entry capacity will determine whether the scheme is viable.
- If the scheme is viable, a capacity study quotation is prepared and sent to the customer by email. The quotation details the study hours and the time taken to deliver the study. The study is charged at a fixed hourly rate unless specialists are required. Sppecialist are charged at cost with the addition of the appropriate current connections uplifts.
- If the customer wishes to proceed; Northern Gas Networks will prepare a capacity study into the capability of our gas distribution network to accept bio-methane injection.
At this stage in the process the study:
- Only deals with the capability of the system to absorb the supply of bio-methane in terms of volume at the connection point on 24hr/365day as requested by the customer and, if not, what are the constraints?
- Does not deal with any technical and commercial issues such as gas quality, metering, Network Entry Agreements, rechargeable cost elements and associated contractual agreements etc.
- Does not asses the likelihood, impact or duration of restriction due to other activities being carried out elsewhere on the system.
- Is not an acceptance or offer by Northern Gas Networks to enter bio-methane into its gas networks.
The report is then issued and becomes the customer’s property. The options for plant ownership are detailed together with opportunity to use companies other than Northern Gas Networks to construct some of the required infrastructure.
We can provide further information to customers to promote the safe development and use of alternative gas quality, odourisation and calorifc value (CV) monitoring equipment which may be more cost efficient than the currently approved items.
The next stages are detailed below. The customer can progress the enquiry to detailed design and construction phases, following on from their formal submission.
- Options for ownership and costs of gas quality, calorific value, telemetry, pressure control, metering, odourisation, remotely operated valve (ROV), network entry connection point and connecting main from the plant.
- Technical specification of Ofgem approved equipment and controls.
- Technical advice on Gas Safety and Management Regulations GS(M)R, for percentage components of gas acceptability and adherence to for network entry agreement (NEA).
- Technical advice on the Thermal Energy Regulations, propane enrichment and specific guidance on the target CV required for entry.
- Advise customer as to how the scheme can be progressed to the construction stage namely; agreement of ownership, preparation of fixed price quotation with associated site specific conditions and Network Entry Agreement.
The comprehensive Northern Gas Networks procedure for Bio-methane Enquiries (NGNPR_BM1 Bio-methane enquiries) can be found in the Publications section of the website, by clicking here.
If you are interested or require a bio-methane connection within the Northern Gas Networks supply area, contact details can be found by downloading the Connection Enquiries Contact List.