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Gas gensets to power new residential development

AMID the incessant energy crisis in South Africa, Energas has seen a growing appetite for gas-to-power solutions as property developers are increasingly looking for reliable and environmentally-friendly options. Due to an unreliable grid, increasing tariffs and the growing drive towards cleaner energy solutions, Energas product manager Laetitia Jansen van Vuuren says there is a big drive towards gas-to-power solutions by developers and end-users alike.

A developer in Gauteng has recently taken the gas-to-power route, initially installing a single genset supplied by Energas on a new residential development, before adding two more. “The initial scope of the project entailed the supply of one 500 kW R Schmitt Enertec gas generator pre-installed in a 6m steel container with the necessary sound insulation,” explains Van Vuuren, adding that two more 500 kW containerised gensets will be installed to increase total generation capacity.

The gensets will be synchronised to the grid and a solar plant. There are plans to add more gas gensets in future as demand increases.

One of the major talking points is the containerised nature of the gensets, which simplifies installation. “The engines are pre-assembled and tested in Germany, before being shipped as a complete unit. On site, auxiliary components such as chimneys and fans can be mounted on top of the container within two days. No building work is required for this solution, except for a foundation on which the containers are mounted,” concludes Van Vuuren.

This feasible off grid solution depends of course to a stable supply of cheap natural gas. The source is available from Mozambique’s massive gas fields via the 800km long gas pipeline that traverses Mpumalanga which was designed to serve industries in Gauteng. The establishment of an LNG facility in Saldanha which could serve the Western Cape, and Eskom’s standby generators in Atlantis have so far failed to materialise. An opportunity lost?

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