In the world of energy generation, regulations are constantly evolving to meet the demands of a changing industry. In 2019, the UK introduced new regulations known as G99. These regulations replace the previous Engineering Recommendation G59 standards and are designed to ensure the safety of those working with and using energy generation equipment. In this article, we take a closer look at the G99 regulations and why they are important.
What is G59 and what is happening?
G59 was introduced to protect the National Grid from receiving electricity from generators in a dangerous manner. The regulation is to prevent any generator from sending electricity onto the Grid without the knowledge and permission of the local electricity authority first.
As part of The Accelerated Loss of Mains Change Programme (ALoMCP), G59 has undergone some updates to bring this existing legislation up to the same standards as newer legislation. The current iteration G59 3.7 requires all non-domestic generators connected before 01 February 2018 to confirm that their generation equipment complies with ENA EREC G59/3-7. Compliance will improve network resilience and support wider initiatives helping meet the UK’s net zero targets.
All applicable generators must have protection settings compliant with EREC G59/3-7 by 01 September 2022, or they could be the subject of an enforcement programme. Generation owners have been encouraged to review their Loss of Mains (LoMs) protection settings to ensure compliance before last year’s deadline.
The requirements do not apply to a domestic or similar generator connected under EREC G83; it only applies to generators connected under EREC G59 before 01 February 2018.
What are the G99 Regulations?
G99 is a set of engineering recommendations created by the Energy Networks Association (ENA) for the connection of any form of generator, including diesel generators and renewable solutions, to run ‘in parallel’ or ‘synchronised’ with the UKs main electricity network. The new regulations have been introduced in response to the rapid increase in renewable energy sources and the need to maintain the safety and security of supply when connecting these sources to the grid.
The G99 regulations place new requirements on all energy generation equipment, including solar panels, wind turbines, and battery storage systems. Under the new regulations, energy generation equipment must be able to detect and respond to changes in grid conditions, such as voltage and frequency. This means that generators must be able to disconnect from the grid within a set timeframe if there is a fault or issue with the grid. This is to ensure that in the event of an issue, the energy generation equipment does not cause further problems or pose a risk to those working on the grid.
The new regulations also require that energy generation equipment must be able to operate within specific voltage and frequency limits. This is necessary to prevent energy generation equipment impacting the stability of the grid or causing damage to equipment. Additionally, energy generation equipment must have the ability to reduce output when instructed to do so by the grid operator. This is known as active power curtailment and is used to manage the balance of supply and demand on the grid.
Why are the G99 Regulations important?
The G99 regulations are important for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are designed to ensure the safety of those working on the grid and using energy generation equipment. By requiring equipment to be able to disconnect from the grid in the event of an issue, the regulations are helping to prevent accidents and injuries.
Secondly, the regulations are important for maintaining the stability of the grid. As more renewable energy sources are connected to the grid, it is important to ensure that these sources are not causing issues that could lead to blackouts or other problems. By requiring energy generation equipment to operate within specified limits and to be able to reduce output, when necessary, the regulations are helping to maintain the stability of the grid.
Thirdly, the G99 regulations are important for the future of the energy industry. As we move towards a more sustainable future, renewable energy sources will play an increasingly important role in meeting our energy needs. The G99 regulations are helping to ensure that these renewable energy sources can be connected to the grid safely and efficiently, which will be crucial for the success of the energy transition.
It is critical to understand that the G99 regulations are not just important for energy generation equipment manufacturers and operators. They also have implications for those who install and maintain this equipment. Maintenance teams must be aware of the new requirements and ensure that the equipment they are working with is compliant with the regulations. Failure to comply with the regulations could result in equipment being disconnected from the grid, which could have serious implications for energy generation projects.
Key Differences Between G59 and G99
One of the most significant differences between G59 and G99 is that G99 is more flexible and adaptable to different types of distributed energy resources (DERs). G59 was specifically designed for small-scale generators with a maximum capacity of 16A per phase, whereas G99 covers a broader range of DERs, including solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage systems.
Another significant difference is that G99 requires DERs to have a protection system that can disconnect them from the grid within a specified time frame in the event of a fault or loss of grid connection. This is known as “vector shift” protection, and it ensures that DERs can safely disconnect from the grid to prevent any potential harm to the system or other users.
How Does G99 Affect Diesel Generator and Standby Generator Users?
If you are a diesel generator or standby generator user, you will need to ensure that your system is compliant with the new G99 requirements when connecting to the grid. This means that you will need to have a protection system that can disconnect your generator from the grid within the specified time frame. You will also need to ensure that your system is appropriately configured and commissioned by a generator specialist to meet the new G99 requirements.
The G99 regulations are an important development in the UKs power generation industry. By ensuring the safety of those working with and using energy generation equipment, maintaining the stability of the grid, and enabling the growth of renewable energy sources, the regulations are playing a crucial role in shaping the future of the energy industry. It is important to be aware of the requirements to ensure that your power equipment is compliant with the regulations and to consult a generator specialist if you are unsure of the regulations.
Our team of experts at Broadcrown Power Engineering can help to ensure your energy generation equipment is compliant with the G99 regulations and we can offer guidance on making a formal application for a generation connection and advise on the installation of additional systems and equipment to meet all G99 compliance.