Energy software management company Passiv Systems has announced it has secured a £2.4 million contract to help deliver a wider connection of green gas into the networks.

Passiv Systems says it will work with Wales and West Utilities, Cadent and Costain on the OptiNet project to “future proof” the gas networks.

The project aims to “investigate network optimisation solutions to decarbonise the gas network and support the transition to low carbon, smart energy systems”.

Currently, Wales and West Utilities supplies 130,000 homes with biomethane from 19 connected sites. Meanwhile Cadent’s forecasts suggest that the UK will have sufficient green gas to enable over 120 TWh to be injected into the gas network annually by 2035.

The OptiNet project will look at how “plug and play” compressor technology can be used across multiple sites without the need for bespoke modifications.

A medium pressure network, the Honiton to Swindon network, has been chosen as the demonstration network for this project as it is approaching a “critical mass of biomethane enquiries” in the area and a solution is required to “enable a growth in capacity”.

Colin Calder, chief executive of Passiv Systems, said: “Balancing supply and demand on gas networks is becoming more complex with the rising number of distributed gas and biomethane connections.

“There are also new demand types to consider, like gas peaking plants, which ramp up quickly to deliver electricity during periods of peak demand and help balance generation from renewable energy.

“Increasing numbers of these plants are connecting into the gas distribution networks. Sudden changes in demand, as the peaking plant switch from online to offline, can cause pressure in the gas network to rise and fall unpredictably.

“To accommodate the breadth of change required to deliver a low carbon, smart energy system, we need to work with our partners to design and future-proof the UK gas network in harmony with the electricity network.”

Chris Clarke, energy strategy director at Wales and West Utilities, added: “We’re looking forward to working with Passiv Systems and the other gas networks to make sure that the injection of green gas is as efficient as possible.

“Enhancing the role of biomethane is an essential step on the path to delivering an affordable, reliable and green future for energy.

“Thanks to the iron mains replacement programme, which is upgrading old metal pipes to new plastic ones, the gas network is preparing for the future and ready for decarbonised gas.”

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