18-1108 v3.0/The Glenorchy MarketPlace, Stage 1 - Camp Glenorchy/Resiliency Clarification for Zero Energy and Petal Certification Projects 3.x


Project is a tourism accommodation facility in Glenorchy, New Zealand,  a rural location served by one utility distribution line that reticulates 45km from the nearest town along the only road into and out of the Glenorchy settlement. Brief power outages averaging from 30 minutes up to 2 hours are recorded happening fairly frequently within the township (around 10 times per year) whilst slippages along the single access road often take out the power lines for more extended periods of time.  Glenorchy has the worst record in New Zealand of power outages and power quality.

Due to the remoteness of the site, the function of the facility and the intended use of the accommodation as a place of civil defence, we have installed a 220kVA generator set to cover those emergency power systems needed for the facility to operate in a restricted capacity in the case of a Civil Defence emergency/extended power outage and will be used to drive essential loads over and above the requirements covered under the LBC for resiliency.

Our Client has the intention in due time, to install a battery back up system (not lead acid) to cover both minor common 2 hour outages, LBC resiliency requirements and the capacity to load shift solar generation from daytime to evening.

In all but extreme civil defence emergencies our solar generation combined with battery storage will allow Camp Glenorchy to operate without the use of the standby generator. 

We are currently registered for Zero energy certification but are considering the opportunities for Petal Certification.  We have two applications for exceptions:

  1. Market limitations in NZ preclude the use of Propane generator set.

After extensive research investigating more environmentally friendly options for stand-by generators we have had no choice but to procure a conventional 150 kW diesel-fired generator set.

Propane fuel is not possible in New Zealand.  LPG generators are not sold in New Zealand.  LPG fuel in New Zealand is a unique mix of propane and butane gases.  Unfortunately it is not an option as a fuel source within a propane generator given its 50% mix of hot burning butane. Butane burns at a much higher temperature than propane and the engines used by Koehler, Cummins, CAT, and others are not certified to run on the gas.  The engine block and fuel injection system must be designed specifically to withstand the heat created by the butane. Existing propane-fired commercial standby generators will not run on this fuel on a continuous basis without permanent damage to the engine block.  As a result the vendors of stand-by generators do not warranty their engines for use with the NZ LPG fuel mix.

We had a very difficult time getting the gas companies to provide us with the gas mixture, but eventually received a 3rd party test report that confirmed the mixture of propane and butane in NZ LPG. We researched the possibility of using Origin Engines in the US and Entec Services in NZ to build a custom power generator for us, but ran into major cost issues for both the gas tank installation and certification ($135,000+ building) and the standby generator itself (we never got an estimate given no one was willing to built it).

By ultimately adding a 2 to 3 hour battery storage system that functions as a UPS we will use the diesel generator only in the extreme of circumstances.

For Zero Energy certification, please can you confirm it is acceptable for us to use the diesel generator to supply essential loads during these frequent minor outages until we have the battery back up installed? Ultimately the intention is for a battery back up to be procured and the generator to only be used in exceptional circumstances.

  1. Options for Petal certification

We are looking to install battery back-up for resiliency to meet the requirements of LBC Petal certification but also to optimise on site power generation through load shifting, acknowledging that the majority of loads in a visitor accommodation project are during the mornings and evenings.  Due to the site being adjacent to residential properties we have been waiting for advances in commercial battery technology to address some acoustic issues the team has identified with current market leading brands.  In addition we have also been advised of a 1 year lead time between order of battery (Lithium ion) and delivery to site in New Zealand. 

Should we wish to aim for Petal certification is it acceptable to show proof of order of the battery in conjunction with the necessary Battery storage calculation methodology or do we need to have the battery installed before we can start our performance monitoring period?           

In addition, we would request an exception under petal certification to use the diesel powered generator for emergency power systems under exception I06-E6 4/2010.


1) Because propane-based generators are not available in New Zealand, the team may use a diesel backup generator and document I06-E6 Emergency Power Systems. Other teams may request the use of diesel generators based on the updated Exception below (updates in   italics). 
2) The battery can be installed at any point in the construction or performance period, but it must be installed and functioning properly before certification can occur. Note that the team is expected to avoid using combustion-based backup systems except to address critical functions during power outages.

(10/2018) I06-E6 Emergency Power Systems

If the programmatic needs of the project require an emergency power system beyond that required by the Imperative, the use of battery backup power is encouraged. If back up needs exceed the capacity of the required battery, and sufficient battery power is not immediately feasible, propane backup generators may be used but cannot impact adjacent properties through noxious emissions or noise.

Propane-based emergency backup boilers are acceptable in harsh climates for non-grid-tied projects. This equipment may not be included in the project's strategy for operation and cannot be used to make up for any energy demand during the 12-month performance period.

Diesel backup generators are not allowed unless the project meets another exception;  or, if propane-based generators are not an option, teams may request for the use of a diesel generator through the Dialogue. Combustion-based backup lights are not allowed.

The project team will need to provide a narrative explaining the need for backup power, particularly with regard to the project's size and function, and illustrating how every effort has been made to reduce the size of the system and prevent its use.  If the team is requesting to use diesel instead of propane, they need to make a clear case as to why propane will not work for their project. 

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