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A diesel generator is the combination of a  diesel engine  with an  electric generator  (often an  alternator) to generate  electrical energy. DG sets are used in places that have no connection to power grid, and as emergency power-supply if the grid fails. In other words DGs remain the number one choice for standby and emergency power systems. DGs are selected based on the electrical load they are intended to supply. A diesel compression-ignition engine often is designed to run on fuel oil, but some types are adapted for other liquid fuels or natural gas .

Diesel generating sets are used in places without connection to a  power grid , or as emergency power-supply if the grid fails, as well as for more complex applications such as peak-lopping, grid support and export to the power grid.

Sizing of diesel generators is critical to avoid low-load or a shortage of power and is complicated by modern  electronics , specifically non-linear loads. In size ranges around 50 MW and above, an  open cycle gas turbine  is more efficient at full load than an array of diesel engines, and far more compact, with comparable capital costs; but for regular part-loading, even at these power levels, diesel arrays are sometimes preferred to open cycle gas turbines, due to their superior efficiencies.