Energy Transition: the importance of distributed energy networks and generator sets.

Energy is one of the main axes on which economic and social activities rest.

During the last decades, the energy demand has steadily increased and, according to the International Energy Agency IEA, it will have increased more than a 30 percent by 2040. These days, the decarbonisation of the economy is boosting its electrification. This means that every sector of activity is contributing to an increase in the electricity consumption.

Energy Transition

This process is taking place in an environment where climate change and its consequences are being fought and the sustainable development goals and life quality standards are paramount. A complete sector transformation is needed, where all agents involved in the electricity system shall evolve through the so-called Energy Transition. This means moving from the traditional model of electricity generation, heavily centralised and based on fossil fuels, to a new decarbonised model based on renewable sources of energy where distributed generation prevails.


In this new context, Microgrids stand out as feasible, reliable and affordable solutions.

They consist of two-direction hybrid generation systems which allow electricity distribution from the suppliers to the end consumers using digital technology and favouring the integration of renewable sources of generation. They are normally equipped with control systems that foresee consumptions and work-cycles of their elements and fitted with energy storage elements that make up for the energy demands. They optimise the operation of every element of the microgrid eliminating weak points.

Nevertheless, even increasing the number of operating microgrids, we need to be aware that a completely renewable energy origin power supply is not credible.

We do not have the capability to supply the 100% of the power demand only with clean energies. Not to mention that not every location has access to them. Another problem is their availability. Renewable power generation, conversely to fossil fuel power generation, is not adjustable to the demand so production and demand figures won’t necessarily match. The only way to solve this is energy storage, but it still has its limitations when it needs to be performed at big scale.

Generator sets, the optimal solution

This is why the global short- & medium-term tendency is to combine fossil and renewable energy trying to avoid the weaknesses of both and the dependence of fossil fuels.

Here is where generator sets reveal themselves as an optimal solution providing safety and stability to the systems, fulfilling the energy demands.

Integrating generator sets in the electrical mix provides a solid solution to the instability of the renewable energies. Not depending on environmental conditions for its operation means a higher reliability and ensures power availability.

Another strength of generator sets is that its functioning can be meticulously planned via intelligent management systems which allow programming of operation periods depending on different criteria like time, load, etc… Better efficiency, less costs. They can also operate as a storage alternative, giving a fast response in the event of load variations. Last but not least, they prove a very interesting energy-supplying alternative for places where the conventional grid does not reach like remote rural areas or islands.

Summarizing, generator sets might have a key role in the forthcoming years, backing up the electricity system transformation providing network reliability, safety and efficiency.

What is Greenesal?

The scientific evidence for climate change is overwhelming; it is a global issue which unfortunately cannot be effectively addressed without the cooperation of all. On the road to sustainability individual initiatives matter, but they can only become reality if they are put into practice.

This is what Greenesal is all about: making our commitment a reality by implementing an action plan based on the knowledge, responsibility and experience accumulated by Genesal Energy during our almost 30 years in the energy industry.

It is now time to take another step on our crusade for sustainability and energy transition; it is time to act. For us this action takes the form of specific initiatives which will be implemented in the short, medium or long term. Greenesal is at the centre of this thoughtful, well-planned and ambitious programme which we have launched in order to instigate real change.

In a way, Greenesal is the heart of Genesal Energy, and it is sustained by two principal arteries: the Energy Transition Plan and the Faculty of Energy Transition, created in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). Both are strongly focused on R&D&I, because knowledge is the engine that allows us to develop and implement sustainable solutions for high-quality energy projects.

Although they are focused on different areas – industry and education, respectively – the Energy Transition Plan and the Faculty have the same goals: to promote clean energy, encourage the use of renewable energy sources and reduce the carbon footprints of the company, our clients and society in general. However, we are aware that achieving zero emissions is no easy task.

Genesal Energy’s Energy Transition Plan: What does it involve?

Genesal Energy’s Energy Transition Plan  is a set of measures and actions aimed at increasing the energy efficiency of all of our projects at both national and international level, with the goal of helping distributed energy and generator sets become increasingly respectful of both people and the environment. The Energy Transition Plan is already up and running in the form of a series of proposals and projects focused on modifying processes at the corporate, production and industry levels. The philosophy of the plan is simple: do more to impact less. The following are some of its core features:

1- Go all out on green hydrogen

We are committed to the Hydrogenset concept, which encompasses all energy generation solutions which use hydrogen in any form or state as a fuel.

Hydrogen is the simplest and lightest element in the periodic table, abundant on Earth and throughout the universe. It is the new ‘green gold’ and represents the future of energy; the use of hydrogen as a fuel opens up new possibilities for sustainable, zero-impact energy generation.

2- We support the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

We are committed to the 2030 Agenda, approved by the United Nations in 2015, which lays out the priority goals that we as a society must meet in order to ensure the sustainability of our planet and a better future for humanity. The Agenda is designed for governments and institutions as well as public and private companies and is intended to promote economic growth, encourage action against climate change and protect the environment, with a focus on fairness and inclusivity for all. It includes 17 SDGs and 169 targets which the international community as a whole need to work together to achieve.

We are committed to 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and are taking concrete action to meet each one.

3- Obtain certification to reflect our progress

We have obtained the official government Carbon Footprint Calculation Seal as a reflection of our commitment to SDG 13 (Climate Action) and are certified in Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001), which has helped us systematically improve how we manage the aspects of our activities that affect the environment.

4- More sustainable and efficient solutions

We implement sustainable and efficient solutions in our product manufacturing processes.

5- 5- Fulfil our obligations. We lead by example in reducing our footprint.

Less petrol: we have reduced the fuel consumption of our vehicle fleet by 16%: fuel consumption decreased from 2377.75 litres of fossil fuels consumed per million euros invoiced in 2019, to 2005.4 l/M€ in 2021; this represents a 16% drop in fuel consumption. The cleanest energy is energy saved.

6- Reduce waste

We have reduced our paper and cardboard waste by 96%, plastic waste by 94% and scrap by 85%.

7- We have the first building-integrated photovoltaic facade in Galicia

A total of 126 photovoltaic panels cover the roof of Genesal Energy’s headquarters in Bergondo (A Coruña). Delivering 57.33kW of power, they will reduce our emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere by over 20 tonnes per year. The project is part of the first phase of our OGGY energy management project.

USC-Genesal Energy Faculty of Energy Transition

This collaboration between industry and academia is an exciting project devised by us. USC-Genesal Energy Faculty of Energy Transition was inaugurated at the beginning of 2022.

Research, support for teaching and the diffusion of knowledge related to the field of energy transition, particularly in areas concerned with distributed energy systems, are the principal goals of the faculty. It will also:

  • Promote the development of R&D&I projects and seek to boost participation in these.
  • Develop distributed energy grid systems based on zero-emission fuels and promote activities which stimulate discourse and debate in the field of energy transition.
  • Promote collaboration between public bodies and private enterprise.
  • Promote ideas competitions and the creation of awards for projects and undergraduate and master’s degree theses.
  • Create student internships at Genesal Energy, with and without university credit.
  • Organise specialisation courses, conferences, seminars, meetings with experts, and visits to organisations, companies and institutions related to the faculty’s mission.
  • Support USC graduates in their search for employment by participating in faculty activities where appropriate.

Through our dedication to the twin pillars of research and education we are demonstrating our conviction that building a fairer world is possible, by taking concrete action such as reducing our carbon footprint and committing to renewable energy sources. At Genesal Energy we dream big because we are optimists.

What is energy transition?

We have a plan!

We created the Faculty of Energy Transitionand we have obtained official Carbon Footprint Calculation Certification as part of our commitment to sustainability.

Digitalisation, renewable energy sources and energy carriers, and the transition to natural gas are the cornerstones of energy transition.

Climate change is real. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the average global temperature in 2021 was 0.27°C higher than the average over the period from 1991 to 2020, and 0.64°C higher than the average over the period from 1981 to 2010. The potential impact of climate disruption is huge and will have serious consequences, from melting glaciers to drinking water shortages and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, which will affect us all.

The scientific consensus today is that the cause of this climate disruption is the increase of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. 90% of the most common polluting gas, CO2, is emitted by the energy industry, mostly from coal-fired power plants.

The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty, was adopted in December 2015 in an attempt to remedy this situation. It created a global framework for combating climate change which came into force in November 2016. Its ultimate goal, which governments recommitted to at COP26 in Glasgow at the end of 2021, is to limit the average global temperature increase by the end of the century to no more than 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. In order to achieve this target, it is considered crucial that GHG emissions be reduced by 55% by 2050.

What is energy transition?

The most powerful tool at our disposal in our efforts to achieve this target is energy transition. This increasingly common term refers to the urgently required comprehensive overhaul of our current energy system, powered by the burning of fossil fuels and intensive energy production in large, grid-connected facilities, and the creation of a new model centred on the use of renewable energy sources, electrification and distributed generation.

Although energy transition is a slow process which demands extensive changes to both energy production and distribution processes and consumption patterns, this process is already underway in many places and socially conscious companies are increasingly choosing to make changes and take action, moving on from theory to practice. We are part of this group.

We are one hundred percent committed to this structural change and our commitment is not merely theoretical; we put it into practice by doing our utmost to ensure that the measures necessary to carry out this transition which are within our reach are implemented as quickly and effectively as possible.

The way forward for energy transition

The five cornerstones of energy transition:

1- Renewable energy sources and energy carriers

In order to meet demand as coal-fired power plants are closed, the proportion of our energy which comes from renewable sources needs to increase; production capacity is far greater than what we currently generate. But many of these sources are unreliable, meaning that we can’t control the energy generated as we would like to. In order to ensure the security of the grid, these sources must be complemented by some kind of technology which allows energy to be stored for gradual release as needed. These technologies are called energy carriers, and hydrogen is increasingly important to those which currently exist.

2- Natural gas

The road to all of our energy demands being met by renewable sources will be slow and painstaking, and alternative means of generating energy are needed as we carry out the process. This is why natural gas plays an important role in our energy transition strategies. Although it is a fossil fuel, natural gas emits 40-50% less CO2 than coal and 25-30% less than fuel oil, meaning replacing these with gas results in a considerable reduction in GHG emissions.

3- Mobility

In Spain, transport is not only the sector with the highest energy consumption, it is also the least diversified in terms of energy sources, depending almost exclusively on petroleum products. Moreover, it is one of the largest sources of pollution from combustion gases in cities, greatly affecting air quality. A sustainable mobility strategy is therefore essential to the energy transition.

One obvious solution is to increase the use of electric vehicles. Among the advantages of this form of transport are the lack of direct CO2 emissions and the reduced impact on people’s health, since electric vehicles do not emit exhaust fumes.

4- Digitalisation and energy efficiency

The digitalisation of energy at each and every stage of the process, from production through to transport, distribution and final consumption, will improve traditional business models by enhancing the value of the enormous amount of information available to companies and helping them anticipate new trends.

For example, big data analytics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, all of which rely on data and autonomous learning algorithms, allow us to monitor and manage power generation at numerous production sites, thereby making it possible to identify anomalies in real time and reduce repair times.

5- The circular economy

Our current economic system is based on the linear ‘take-make-waste’ model in which products have a finite life cycle after which they must be replaced. This generates an enormous amount of trash. In contrast, the circular economy is based on the maxim of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and is aimed at achieving long-term sustainability by reducing the volume of trash and keeping goods in the production cycle for as long as possible. Simply put, this approach seeks to achieve more with less.

A shift in our economic system towards a circular economy would not only reduce the environmental impact of waste by reusing it as new raw material but would also lead to improved efficiency in production processes and a reduction of associated emissions.

The Genesal Energy plan

We have developed our own Energy Transition Plan as part of our commitment to sustainability, the 2030 Agenda and clean energy. So, what does this plan consist of? It is a set of short, medium and long-term measures aimed at changing the way we do things at the corporate, production and industry levels.

We want to contribute to improving society; the implementation of more sustainable and efficient solutions in our product manufacturing processes is one of the cornerstones of this strategy, but it is not the only one.

As prominent champions of the energy transition, we lead by example. As part of our business strategy, we have engaged in a process of identifying and prioritising 11 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is one of our contributions to advancing the 2030 Agenda, but not the only one.

Our search for more efficient energy solutions includes concrete actions such as accelerating the transition from diesel to gas, improving energy efficiency, promoting hybridisation with renewable energy sources and energy storage, and committing to innovation and the digitalisation of energy.

More research

Research and education are essential components of our Energy Transition Plan, which is why we have created, in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela, the USC-Genesal Energy Faculty of Energy Transition. The specialised faculty is the first of its kind in Galicia.

The goal of the faculty is to promote research and support education and the diffusion of knowledge in the field of energy transition, particularly those areas focused on distributed energy systems. Its remit includes developing self-sustaining distributed energy grid technologies and systems based on zero carbon fuels, analysis of energy transition processes and the eco-design of distributed energy generation systems.

Action at the industry level and the corporate level

Our plan outlines actions to be taken at both the industry and corporate levels.

As part of the distributed energy industry, the company is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to participate in associations which encourage leading Spanish and international companies specialising in generator sets to share their experience and knowledge; as part of this policy, we have become members of EuropGen, Cluergal and Viratec, the Galician Cluster of Environmental Solutions and Circular Economy.

At the corporate level, we have obtained Carbon Footprint Calculation certification, reflecting our commitment to SDG 13 (on climate action).

Goals and results

Our Energy Transition Plan aspires to more than instigating change at the industry and corporate levels, however: we want to contribute to changing the world, starting with ensuring we are a socially conscious company.

Our most recent efforts in this regard include the installation of a photovoltaic roof at our headquarters in Bergondo, A Coruña, and reducing the fuel consumption of our vehicle fleet by 16%.

The quantity of fossil fuels consumed by our vehicle fleet decreased from 2377.75 litres per million euros invoiced in 2019 to 2005.4 l/M€ in 2021; this represents a 16% drop in fuel consumption, reflecting our understanding that the cleanest energy is that which is not consumed.

Building an emissions-neutral future is a team effort; we are all protagonists of change. At Genesal Energy we are committed to the planet and the environment, and to implementing the strategy laid out in our Energy Transition Plan in line with United Nations SDG 13.

To summarise, the Genesal Energy Energy Transition Plan is based around three core objectives, each of which involve taking concrete action:

Complete the transition to a sustainable energy model.

A1. Reduce energy consumption at company facilities and increase the use of renewables by installing a photovoltaic self-consumption system.
A2. educe dependence on oil by speeding the transition from diesel to gas and implementing a sustainable mobility strategy.
A3. Increase energy efficiency in all areas of the company through digitalisation.

Reduce our carbon footprint

This involves making steady progress on the path to emissions neutrality; key to this objective is keeping a record of the emissions generated in the course of our commercial activities.

At Genesal Energy, we have already taken important steps along this path: we have been calculating the Scope 1 and 2 emissions which contribute to our carbon footprint since 2019, and our CF calculation will improve when we add Scope 3. In the meantime we will continue to work on strategies to reduce and offset our emissions.

Mainstream climate action

A5. Contribute to mitigating the impact of economic growth on the environment by optimising the use and reuse of outflows and waste.
A6. Fight energy poverty. At Genesal Energy we are committed to all aspects of the energy transition, including our social responsibility. As part of this responsibility, we are working on a plan to provide energy to vulnerable families free of charge.

What do you know about the Stage V emissions regulations? Let’s take a closer look.


Air quality has become a critical issue around the world, and Europe is no exception. The European Union has been imposing limits on emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants for years, and in 2016 the European Parliament and the European Council tightened restrictions on internal combustion engines in non-road mobile machinery, including generator sets.

Today, the legislation on pollutant emissions is more restrictive than ever, and strict limits are in place regarding the quantities of harmful substances which may be emitted in exhaust gases by engines that run on fossil fuels. These substances include nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), and particulate matter (PM), while particle numbers (PN) are also limited. EU regulation 2016/1628/EC on non-road mobile machinery (NRMM), or the Stage V regulations, came into force on January 1st, 2019, repealing the directive which had previously regulated emissions from industrial machinery.

The new regulations cover all power ratings and all mobile industrial machinery which uses non-stationary compression or spark ignition engines. It should be noted, however, that stationary emergency generator sets do not fall under the scope of the regulation.

Transition period

The legislation provides for a transition period during which transitional engines, and the machines they power, can be marketed and sold. EU Regulation 2016/1628 has recently been amended to extend this transition period by twelve months, and the regulations will now enter into force on July 1st. This means that Stage IIIA generator sets with power ratings below 56kW or above 130kW and manufactured before 30 June 2021 can continue to be sold until December 2021, with the same deadlines for machines with power ratings between 56 and 130 kW.

The new tighter legislation requires manufacturers to implement a suitable exhaust aftertreatment system to control and measure engine emissions in order to meet the new Stage V emission standards. The following technologies can be used to keep internal combustion engine emissions below the limits established in the regulations:

  • Diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC): these are specifically designed to reduce emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and particulate matter (PM) by converting the harmful components of exhaust gases into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).
  • Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF): DPFs are designed to remove particulate matter, commonly known as soot, from the exhaust gas.
  • Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR): this process optimises combustion processes by chemically reducing the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) in exhaust gases by means of an injection of AdBlue, an aqueous urea solution containing 32.5% urea and 67.5% deionised water.
  • Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR): EGR works by recirculating or redirecting a portion of the exhaust gases in order to reduce the nitrogen oxide (NOx) content. This system is often used in combination with DOC or DPF aftertreatment systems to reduce particulate emissions.

How has Genesal Energy adapted to this new legislation?

Integration of these aftertreatment systems means there are significant technical differences between the new gensets and those which do not have to comply with the Stage V emissions standard.

For example, the design of a number of the mechanical components of our units needs to be modified in order to accommodate these technologies and enable them to function properly. The requirements for these design modifications are:

  • Ensure adequate ventilation at strategic points.
  • A complete redesign of the exhaust system to integrate the new systems (DOC-DPF-SCR).
  • More efficient thermal insulation to ensure exhaust gases stay within the required temperature range.
  • The canopy design is more complex; our products need to be as compact as possible to enable them to be transported economically, and integration of the new technology imposes restrictions.

The electrical control system must ensure the combustion engine runs at a minimum load of approximately 25% of the power rating so that the exhaust gas temperature is always close to the minimum temperature at which the aftertreatment systems can function correctly. In order to maintain this minimum load it is important to do the following:

  • Install a load bank at the generator’s power output. A load bank is a set of electrical resistors which are automatically commuted by the generator’s control system according to the needs of the system.
  • For safety reasons, the generator must also have a control switch such as a contactor, so that in the event of a failure in the exhaust aftertreatment system the loads supplied by the generator can be isolated. A forced regeneration of the system is then required for the genset to resume operating under the correct conditions. This is an extreme scenario which should never occur if the unit is operated and maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Nevertheless, the system developed by Genesal Energy allows this forced regeneration to be postponed for a limited period of time so that users are not forced to cut the power supply in an emergency.

In order for the status of the aftertreatment system to be known at all times, communication between the engine electronics and the generator control unit must be flawless. The reason for this is simple: the correct operation of the entire system depends on this communication. The engine needs the external data transmitted by the control unit and vice versa; this is necessary for the engine to operate in the correct mode at all times, thereby complying with the emissions restrictions even when the facility does not need the generator and it is therefore operating in isolation.

Delivery of a Stage V emission compliant GEN33KI to Germany

Genesal Energy is currently developing its new range of gensets with Stage V engines that comply with the emissions criteria defined in the regulations.

We have just completed the manufacture and delivery of two emergency generator sets for a government project in Germany. These units were designed for trailer mounting and comply with European Union emissions regulations. They include socket panels, meaning power can be supplied to different types of machinery wherever it is required.

In addition, the units contain resistors to guarantee a minimum load at all times (the resistors connect only when a certain quantity of soot has accumulated; below this level the minimum load is not guaranteed), ensuring a working temperature which prevents the crystallisation of exhaust residue, thus avoiding machine malfunctions.

These gensets were designed to be as autonomous as possible and also to be versatile; the socket panel on the soundproofed canopy allows various different machines to be connected. The client also required soundproofing, so we installed baffles inside the canopy which ensure the average noise level at 7 metres does not exceed 69 dB(A).


  • Designed for trailer mounting
  • *Bunded tank
  • *Isolation monitor
  • *Socket panel
  • *STAGE V engine
  • Special soundproofing: 69 dB(A) at 7 metres

Our new range of gensets with Stage V engines make the very latest technology available to our clients, which is one of the ongoing challenges we set ourselves at Genesal. This is possible due to the incredible commitment to R&D&I of our team at the Distributed Energy Technology Centre (CETED), which was created to design advanced generator sets that are made to measure from scratch for every client in accordance with their needs.