ICF International Explores Effects of Integrating Renewables on Natural Gas System in New White Paper

Electric Power Generators Should Plan for Potential Variability of Gas-Fired Generation



Fairfax, Virginia, November 10, 2011 -

ICF International (NASDAQ:ICFI), a leading provider of consulting services and technology solutions to government and commercial clients, has released a white paper titled Integrating Variable Renewable Electric Power Generators and the Natural Gas Infrastructure. The paper aims to provide a better understanding of the implications for natural gas infrastructure requirements and operation on the electric grid as a result of integrating significant amounts of variable renewable generation.

Based on several recent ICF studies, ICF finds that natural gas will play a significant role in supporting the continued expansion of renewable generation, which will have impacts in the form of operational changes, infrastructure requirements, and cost recovery issues. Examples of changes to address the requirements include enhanced line pack, applications of new no-notice and gas storage services specifically designed for power generation, increases in the number of nomination cycles, and reductions in the length of nomination cycles.

“The electric industry has been discussing the significant challenges of integrating large amounts of renewable energy into the power grid. Our analysis is intended to expand that discussion to assess the implications of renewable generation for the natural gas delivery infrastructure, which is likely to be called upon to provide the fuel for firming capacity,” said Judah Rose, senior vice president and co-author of the paper.

ICF also finds that integrating renewable generation will create challenges for both the power grid and for natural gas infrastructure. Careful consideration of gas transportation facilities and services must be considered to create reliable gas deliveries for these purposes. The natural gas pipeline system has considerable operational flexibility for reliably supplying natural gas to firming generators at their required pressures. Nevertheless, new facilities may need to be constructed at some locations to guarantee reliable on-demand gas service to support changing generator needs resulting from increased renewable generation.

ICF describes three hypothetical power industry scenarios that illustrate the potential impacts of variable renewable generation on natural gas-fired power plants and gas infrastructure. Scenario I addresses long-term utility planning, in which utilities plan to meet 800 MW of demand growth with gas-fired capacity, but changing circumstances result in 800 MW of wind additions. Scenario II looks at utility Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) planning, in which utilities add 800 MW of wind to meet RPS requirements in the absence of forecast electric load growth.

Scenario III differs from the first two scenarios in that the integration is not handled in the context of a utility system with supply and demand interactions. Rather, the renewable producers—because of contractual, regulatory, and/or system conditions—must arrange to eliminate the deviation in wind output from forecasted output within a day or less. Electric load is constantly changing during the day, and supply must follow it continuously and instantaneously. Given that the power system must respond quickly to short-term fluctuations in the renewable energy supply and provide enough dispatchable capacity to meet the total demand, system planners and operators must ensure that the system has the right mix of technologies to meet the day-to-day and minute-to-minute requirements.

The ICF International white paper, Integrating Variable Renewable Electric Power Generators and the Natural Gas Infrastructure, may be downloaded at:

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About ICF International

ICF International (NASDAQ:ICFI) partners with government and commercial clients to deliver professional services and technology solutions in the energy, environment, and transportation; health, education, and social programs; and homeland security and defense markets. The firm combines passion for its work with industry expertise and innovative analytics to produce compelling results throughout the entire program lifecycle, from research and analysis through implementation and improvement. Since 1969, ICF has been serving government at all levels, major corporations, and multilateral institutions. More than 4,000 employees serve these clients worldwide. ICF's website is

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For Immediate Release

Steve Anderson
ICF International


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