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Thailand launches smart grid pilot project using renewable energy

Thailand launches smart grid pilot project using renewable energy
The government of Thailand has kick-started the Smart Grid Pilot Project making use of renewable energy in the country's mountainous northwest region where residents have lived with unstable power supply.

In late October the state-owned utility provider Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state enterprise Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), with the aim to study technical aspects of smart grid in Mae Hong Son Province.

Based on a feasibility study by Chulalongkorn University, Mae Hong Son Province is suitable for applying smart grid technology to enhance the generation and distribution systems, since there are no large power plants in the area and cannot be connected by high-voltage transmission lines.

Power supply in the province currently relies on PEA's 115 kV and 22 kV transmission lines, a diesel power plant, a solar power plant and hydropower plants.

EGAT and PEA will set the technical working group for studying details in four aspects, namely 1) battery energy storage system (BESS) linkage to PEA distribution system in Mae Hong Son Province as well as determining the working of BESS in islanding mode status; 2) related preventive and control systems in Mae Hong Son Province to support the transition from grid connection to islanding mode; 3) data exchanging including protocol for communication, connection point and data applying for improving the working process; 4) test and control of smart grid system, such as islanding mode, BESS connection and proposing guidance for developing the system potential to be suitable for the local area.

The Smart Grid Pilot Project will run on EGAT's system, which will store and collect data from generation and distribution systems as well as consumer behaviors data from PEA.

The main grid and renewable energy sources will be integrated to maintain the stability of the system.

The Smart Grid Pilot Project was implemented in accordance with Thailand's Smart Grid Master Plan, a five-year plan signed off in 2016, according to EGAT's Deputy Governor of Strategy Patana Sangsriroujana.

EGAT, which is under Thailand's Ministry of Energy, is responsible for electric power generation and transmission for the whole country as well as bulk electric energy sales.

Thailand 4.0 initiative

Thai government announced Thailand 4.0, an initiative launched in 2017 to transform cities like Chiang Mai, Phuket, Bangkok and Khon Kaen into technology hubs. Thailand 4.0 aims to develop 100 smart cities in the next 20 years.

The concept of smart city in Thailand 4.0 include the domains of smart mobility, smart economy, smart energy & environment, smart governance, and smart living. However, the National Smart City Committee was reportedly confronted with the challenge of reinventing Thailand as a nation taking advantage of smart energy. According to Market Research Future, the Smart Grid project was combined with the Energy Policy and Planning Office to tackle the challenge.

Asia Pacific has grown to become a lucrative smart grid market, says the research institute. Factors driving the growth include increasing population, urbanization and industrialization, driving high electricity demand.

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