Utilities pay attention to 1GW floating solar power station, pilot energy storage
The state power company Thailand Power Generation Bureau (EGAT) plans to facilitate 1GW of hybrid floating solar power projects in eight dams across the country.
Thepparat Theppitak, Vice President, Power Plant Development and Renewable Energy EGAT announced the plan at the Leaders' Manila ASEAN Solar + Storage Conference and Expo organized by Leader Associates.
The first two projects in the Northeast are already under development, including the 45MW (AC) contracting capacity of the Sirindhorn Dam, which is expected to be operational by 2020. The second 24MW (AC) project at Ubol Ratana Dam was due to commercial operation in 2023.
Theppitak told PV Tech that the construction of the first project should begin in January next year. He added that the plan also adds to the fact that Thailand has developed a hydropower plan and the country wants to have a floating photovoltaic test rig. The potential surface area of the EGAT Ocean in the first eight dedicated dams is 16 square kilometers.
Battery storage pilot
The Thai government is still conducting battery energy storage tests. The two large projects are 22MWh and 16MWh for frequency regulation and system flexibility.
In addition, Theppitak recommends that once battery costs fall far enough, EGAT will also consider using batteries in hybrid floating solar hydro projects.
Although hydropower supplements the variable power generation of solar power, Theppitak said that smooth power generation is still a problem due to the rapid response time of hydropower, so EGAT is considering using batteries to fill the gap between hydropower and solar power, making it even more stable.
Franck Constant, president of photovoltaics and investor Constant Energy, said the news may be the most significant change in Thailand's renewable energy sector last year - state-owned utility companies like EGAT are starting to buy energy solutions such as new product storage and floating solar energy. .
Last year, Thailand also opened its energy storage door through its “firm” power tender. For solar and wind energy developers, they must increase their energy storage capacity to smoothly generate and offset the power supply changes of these technologies. For example, Visait Hansaward, MD, a Thai developer at Blue Solar, explained how his company was selected to build a 42MW solar project and 12MW / 54MWh of energy storage.
Alternative power plan is coming soon
Theppitak's update of installed solar capacity has resulted in PV reaching 2,551 MW, although other representatives said the capacity has far exceeded 3 GW.
According to EGAT data, 1,656 MW of solar cells were installed in the central region, with 504 MW in the northern region, 390 MW in the northeast, and only 1 MW in the south.
Theppitak also confirmed that the next alternative energy development plan (AEDP) in Thailand should be announced before the end of this year.
Constein said that the Energy Minister disclosed some AEDP materials and has made it clear that the battery will play a key role in the future of the Thai energy system.
For the C&I department, Florian Bennhold, MD, Ph.D., of Symbior Solar, said that the difference between peak and off-peak prices in Thailand is negligible. When using storage for peaking, revenues have increased. He added that the regulatory framework now does lend itself to storage. However, his company does see that special circumstances like C&I customers require energy storage dedicated to backup functions as a low-profile in this area.