DoD Investigates Reliability of Natural Gas-Fired Generators During Electric Grid Failures

05/21/2013

Natural gas-fired electricity generators can provide energy security at domestic military installations in the event of electric grid failures, according to a recent Department of Defense (DoD) study. The study, performed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, assessed the reliability of the natural gas supply system during power outages. It found there is minimal risk of interrupted deliveries for a moderate outage (two weeks to three months). The report identifies measures to manage the risks associated with longer outages.

The DoD study found that the natural gas system generally is robust enough to handle moderate electricity outages of two weeks to three months with minimal risk of interrupted deliveries, although longer-term outages would strain the system and could result in increased risks. In addition to the duration of electric system outages, the cause, extent, and location may also potentially disrupt natural gas deliveries.

To minimize the risk associated with using natural gas-fired electricity generators on DoD insallations, the report provides recommendations such as storing natural gas locally, purchasing capacity in nearby storage facilities, and signing firm delivery contracts. It also suggests examining the gas supply network to identify potential bottlenecks and recommends that plans to install new generation should include dual-fuel capability.
 

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