Over the last three years, gas powered generator sets have risen in prominence in Europe and the United States due to stricter emission laws and lower gas prices. The shale gas boom in the United States and increasing adoption of biogas in Europe have kept the gas gen-sets market in the two regions buoyant while liberalisation has given a leg up to the market in emerging countries. In fact, China and India have become the largest production hubs for gen-sets with many large manufacturers building their capabilities organically or through tie-ups and alliances.
Frost & Sullivan says that the global gas gen-set market earned revenues of US$4.14 billion in 2013 and estimates this to reach US$8.59 billion in 2019. The study covers the end-user segments of residential, commercial and industrial.
Gas gen-sets easily comply with environmental regulations by producing greater amounts of electricity through highly efficient, decentralised natural gas combined heat and power (CHP) systems. Gas property as a clean burning fuel coupled with gen-set advantages such as lower noise, quicker permit obtention, and reduced capital costs make gas gen-sets the ideal choice for end users across segments.
“The surge in natural gas availability and improved infrastructure for delivery has lowered the price of gas, greatly assisting the sales of gas gen-sets in developed regions,” Frost & Sullivan energy industry analyst Pritil Gunjan says. “Though technological improvements, such as the automatic control system, are making gas gen-sets 50% more expensive than their diesel counterparts, their reliability and lower lifecycle costs will keep demand high.”
This is especially so in emerging countries, which do not have access to adequate reserves of gas and lack the necessary infrastructure to pipe gas from other regions. The widening demand and supply power gap will escalate gas gen-sets as a source of prime and continuous power. In this scenario, highly flexible generating units with fast response times can provide utilities with a flexible power generation infrastructure, allowing them to make the most of the high electricity prices during hours of peak demand.
“Gas-fired gen-sets, with their low-risk technology, favourable capital costs, and higher efficiency have become the technology of choice for intermediate load and increasingly, for base load power generation,” Gunjan says. “Effective policies and regulatory frameworks, natural gas availability, and high consumer awareness will further fuel the growth of the gas gen-set market.”
Asia-Pacific will be the fastest growing and largest region for sales of commercial and residential gas gen-sets. For the industrial segment, participants need to focus on offering hybrid gen-sets and fuel flexibility.
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