ABSTRACT

Analytical work on a quantitative basis that addresses the interface between natural gas pipelines and the growing load for gas-fired generation has, in general, been limited to case by case analyses performed by the pipeline or end users directly involved. This report presents the quantitative results of a pipeline simulation modeling effort, which examines the flexibility of pipelines to handle the large, high pressure loads for power generation. Furthermore, this report reviews the importance of using transient flow analysis for this evaluation. These simulations do not provide local or regional solutions, but rather rely upon hypothetical, but realistic, scenarios to illustrate the broader based pipeline principles involved in meeting large, highly variable loads. In this manner this report provides insights into the dynamic interface issues between the natural gas and power generation industries so that both might have a more specific understanding of each others capabilities and limitations. In addition, in order to make this report of interest to as large an audience as practical, the contents has been broadened to include a primer on the basic concepts and considerations of pipeline design, construction and operations. This primer, along with a series of recent industry examples involving pipelines serving power generation loads, is intended to increase the industry-wide, particularly within the electric utility industry, knowledge and appreciation of pipeline issues.

NATURAL GAS PIPELINE ENGINEERING AND OPERATIONS FOR POWER GENERATION LOAD

Even though gas-fired generation represents one of the major growth markets for the natural gas industry, a broad understanding of the interface between pipelines and this growing load for gas-fired generation is limited, particularly when it involves high pressure combustion turbine or combined cycle units. A major contributing factor to this lack of understanding is that the loads for individual power generators can be difficult to serve, due to the fact that they are often very large, high pressure loads that can be subject to considerable variation. This is particularly true for the pipeline segment of the gas industry. To date, most of the published industry data and information on this subject have been limited to qualitative research efforts, such as the 1992 Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) report entitled "Natural Gas and Electric Generation: The Challenge of Gas and Electric Industry Coordination."' Quantitative analysis on this subject, in general, has been performed on a case by case basis by the pipeline, LDC, or power generator directly involved. This report represents one of the first systematic efforts to quantitatively examine the flexibility, and associated costs, of pipelines to handle these new loads for power generation. Its scope is limited primarily to examining the design phase of the interface between the two industries, in which case it is assumed that full knowledge of the load requirements of the new power generator is known to both parties.

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