GDF Suez is urging firms with anaerobic digesters to consider exporting biogas to National Grid rather than burning it for electricity. Injecting direct to grid is a far more efficient process, according to the company, and there is a growing market for green gas.
Combined with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the economics of exporting to grid can deliver more revenue than using the gas for self-generation, according to Dean McGinty, senior export account manager at GDF Suez Energy UK.
McGinty says there are “lots of people interested in buying green gas”. As a result, the market is growing. In April 2014 there were three active UK export sites. By the turn of 2015 there were around 35.
But there are hurdles to clear. Connections to the gas network are more difficult to obtain than to the electricity network and the regulations more onerous. Firms then have to strike an agreement with one of the few shippers currently active in market. McGinty says GDF will negotiate individual agreements.
“We haven’t really got a standard offer. The way we set it up is that we take all the balancing risk and just give exporters a price and manage it with an admin fee,” says McGinty.
“But if someone wants a fixed price for three years and can demonstrate that the plant is reliable then there is no reason why we can’t do that.
“Equally, if they have quite large volumes and they want to trade these volumes, it is something we would look to do.”
The economics are such that any businesses with land “should consider building an AD plant themselves,” says McGinty.