Commissioning RHI Tariff Guarantee biomethane plant

Following the passing into law of the reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and their coming into force on 22 May 2018, over thirty biomethane plant successfully applied for a Tariff Guarantee as a route to commissioning under the RHI.

To support the commissioning of these plant ENA and its gas network members set out in an open letter to all parties our view on the usual standards and practices for commissioning. Click here to read this letter.

Towards the end of 2019 Ofgem ran a call for evidence on industry standards and practices for commissioning equipment used in the production of biomethane to which ENA responded, setting out the following:

Industry standards and practices for commissioning

Our view of the industry standards and practices as is determined by IGEM GL5 Edition 3 – Managing New Works, Modifications or Repairs to any plant or system associated with the supply of fuel gas, and by IGEM/TD/16 Edition 2 which ensures that a network commissioning team is “properly trained, assessed as competent and certified as such by a recognised industry body”.

Implementation of the IGEM GL5 Edition 3 standard ensures compliance with all applicable health and safety legislation pursuant to biomethane plant commissioning, notably the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations, Electricity at Work Regulations, Gas Safety (Management) Regulations, Pipeline Safety Regulations and the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations. Adherence to these regulations will be common for all biomethane plant or the Delivery Facility Operator (DFO) that is commissioned.

Although the gas networks have their own versions of IGEM GL5 (PS6/G17) to account for different approaches to Remote Operable Valve (ROV), telemetry, odorisation processes etc., IGEM GL5 is the recognised industry standard to which all network-specific forms and certification that is completed must comply.

Accordingly, it is the agreed view of the gas networks that the two forms and process set out below reflect the “usual industry standards and practices for commissioning” as per the RHI legislation. A flow chart showing these is set out below.

1. IGEM GL5 Edition 3

a) For all assets upstream of the ROV Part D will need to be completed and signed off by a competent commissioning engineer.

b) Gas networks will need to complete and have signed off by a competent commissioning engineer their sections, usually those relating to telemetry & ROV certification.

2. Safe Control of Operations – i.e. Non-Routine Procedure (SCO4)

a) For DFO assets documentation is required to be completed and signed off showing capability of serviceable DFO assets to network ROV. This function demonstrates capability of operating and passing gas into the GDN system.

b) Network SCO4 documentation shall be completed and approved in preparedness for the commissioning of network assets (i.e. ROV) to support gas flows into the system.

Biomethane Commissioning Flow Chart

(Click to expand)

While the developers of a biomethane plant or DFO will have their own set of responsibilities, standards and practices we believe the above industry standards and practices are correct for commissioning biomethane plant and that continuing to follow this approach is appropriate to ensure networks conform to their legal responsibilities.

If you have any questions please contact [email protected]