This gas-fired generator microgrid would tie into the overhead power lines owned by the operator and distribute electricity throughout their field. Baseline generators would be networked together through a proprietary hub-and-spoke paralleling system to ensure efficient load distribution and 100% power reliability in the event one or more generators go down. For the equivalent power output, multiple, smaller reciprocating gas engines are more fuel efficient, provide better redundancy, and have a significantly lower MOB and DEMOB cost than a single large turbine-driven generator, making them ideal for medium to long-term projects such as this.
Throughout the Spring of 2020, the project scope and requirements took shape. The operator began site construction soon after with the installation of a six-inch pipeline fed from a large midstream pipeline.
The operator then also routed a portion of their produced field gas to the fuel lines and set up a fuel rail system with a docking station for each of the Baseline generators. Multiple electrical engineering firms were contracted to perform the buildout and certification of the electrical system from the utility side and install additional overhead power lines. An arc flash study was also conducted to ensure the integrity of the system and safe working conditions.
During this time, Baseline prepared generator equipment for deployment. Baseline natural gas generators fall under rule JJJJ set by the EPA and are certified at their date of manufacture to perform within the rule as well as undergoing randomized testing throughout their useful lives. Additional rules apply depending on state requirements and New Mexico has specific limitations for the total amount of pollutants emitted at a single site.
To meet this rule and ensure the integrity of the project, Baseline upgraded twenty-four NG 400 generators with new catalyst systems and extended-height exhaust stacks. The result of the upgrades ensured that while operating on pipeline-quality or better gas, the system would have no permitting issues. Initial tests on a group of seven upgraded generators showed massive reductions from EPA standards in carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (NOx), and volatile organic compounds (VOC), of -87.55%, -79.2%, and -99.14%, respectively.
By January of 2021, construction on the site and additional power line buildout had been completed. The generators, distribution panels, and cabling were then brought in, connected, tested, and placed into operation.
Baseline’s natural gas generator microgrid is providing continuous power for (2) 750 hp compressors, (4) 475 hp water transfer pumps for fracing operations, and artificial lift equipment on dozens of producing wells. Additionally, the twenty-four natural gas generator microgrid has exceeded New Mexico air quality requirements, even with having to account for two large compressors located on the same site. With a small infrastructure buildout, the operator now has a reliable power supply that is flexible to their needs today and into the future.