The Generation Professionals Group is for utility professionals who work in biomass, coal, gas/oil, hydro, natural gas, or nuclear power generation fields. 


200 GW of back up generators in the US... Should we allow them to parallel to the grid?

image credit:
Tim Ryan's picture
Founder & CEO Ready.Energy

Australian Distributor for Curb

  • Member since 2020
  • 7 items added with 253 views
  • Jul 6, 2022

The answer to Doug Houseman’s primary question is an emphatic YES!

None of his 11 questions (below) are particularly challenging. 

In fact the biggest challenge will be NIMBYISM and general opposition from green lobby. 

The second biggest challenge will come from generators, especially gentailers, as they won’t won’t their lunch eaten!

This is an amazing “utility” opportunity - the secondary use of an existing asset/resource!

Designed around existing market mechanisms like RERT which implicitly means it’s not part of the dynamic market but a managed security and resiliency resort would (or should) overcome some of NIMBY objections. 

… the NIMBY would have to process the option of no power or occasionally for a little while a backup generator would run. 

Secondly … and a bit more “utility” - we (Australia) also have a significant shortfall of emergency/strategic diesel storage! 

Making backup generators visible and managing associated storage would simultaneously improve our strategic reserves. 

Imho - and up front apologies to my friends at Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) but the primary, or at least operation management should be with the DNSP (in a DSO function) as again that has greater “utility” (address local issues) and will ensure that remote activation does cause local problems. 

This would, or should, be another significant use of DOE (Dynamic Operating Envelopes) within distribution to ensure/facilitate the highest productivity of all assets in distribution (to be clear that’s not just the DNSP’s but also CER and other commercial DER). 


Doug Houseman’s LinkedIn Post

200 GW of back up generators in the US...

Should we allow them to parallel to the grid?

This is not an easy question or easy to do technically...

but should we look at the National Electric Code and the National Electric Systems Code, as well as other regulations, standards and certifications to provide a recognized method of paralleling the various back up generators with the grid. 

Warning the vast majority of the generators by watt are diesel fueled and over 750 KW.

Assume that 10% of the existing generation could be connected, that is 20GW (and 500 new MW a year) of additional generation. 

That generation may only be needed a few hours a year, but it might prevent one or more black outs. 

1. How long might it take to agree on the method(s)
2. How to determine if a generator is a good candidate
3. How to compensate the owner for the cost of the upgrades
4. How to compensate the owner for the use
5. How to implement the control of the generation (including turn on/off)
6. How to evaluate the fuel supply locally
7. How to route the fuel to the generator
8. Which generators are better to take the location off line, rather than parallel
9. How to determine cost effective grid upgrades
10. What is the required protection 
11. How to integrate the generation into ISO, AGC systems, SCADA & EMS

Not a trivial set of questions, which leads to the big one...

Good idea/bad idea? (yes, it has been discussed before).



Tim Ryan's picture
Thank Tim for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.

No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »