Thailand's National Energy Policy Council approved a national smart grid plan which aims to enhance the reliability of the country’s grid.Under the approved smart grid plan, state-owned utilities will spend up to Bt200 billion ($5.6 billion) in implementing smart grid projects through to 2036.
The $5.6 billion will fund the deployment of up to five smart grid pilot projects under the guidance of Thailand’s Ministry of Energy.
Utility firms set to trial smart grid technologies under the approved plan include the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) and the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA).
The smart grid projects are expected to help the utility firms to reduce energy usage by 350MW by 2036.
In addition, the smart grid plan will ensure participating energy firms reduce their carbon footprints by adopting renewable energy resources.
The plan will help Egat, PEA and MEA to improve their customer services by helping consumers to increase their energy efficiency and reduce their energy bills.
The projects will include the integration of information and communication technologies with energy distribution systems of the three state-owned energy providers.
Egat's smart grid investments include developing a microgrid which includes the integration of the utility’s solar plant, 4MW energy storage, electric vehicle charging and energy management systems in Muang district in Mae Hong Son province.
[quote] PEA is expected to begin construction of its microgrid in Mae Sariang district in the same province at the end of this year.
The microgrid to be developed by PEA is envisioned to help the energy company to reduce the number of power outages in Mae Sariang from 755 minutes per user per year in 2014 to 150 minutes per user per year by 2019.
According to a local publication, between three and five pilot projects will be deployed by the three utility firms within the next five years.
Smart grid plan
In July 2016, Egat had announced that it plans to increase its power generation portfolio to secure its grid network against growing power demands.
The utility firm filed a proposal with the Regulatory Energy Commission to expand its renewable energy portfolio from 560MW to up to 2000MW by 2036.
The smart grid proposal included the expansion of the utility's portfolio of renewable energy resources including wind, solar and biomass.
Apart from increasing its capacity sourced from renewables, the utility's smart grid plan would also ensure the energy company generates 50% of the total power required in Thailand. [Thailand uni offers ASEAN’s first smart grid degree].
By July last year, Egat generated 37% of Thailand's total power generated from various sources.