Asian Utility Week to Highlight Growing Microgrid Market Opportunities

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The microgrid market is exploding in the Asia-Pacific region as countries including Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines try to increase power reliability. This trend will be highlighted at the upcoming Asian Utility Week large-scale expo, scheduled for May 24-25 at the Impact Arena, Exhibition and Convention Center in Bangkok.

Asian utilities are searching for ways to meet rural electrification targets, as well as achieve clean power sourcing objectives.

Take Thailand, for example, where bad weather often causes damage to transmission infrastructure or results in major power outages. This has encouraged the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) to explore microgrids as a viable solution to these challenges.

A recent Microgrid Knowledge study, “Reciprocating Engine Generators and Microgrids: The Last Defense Against a Power Outage,” shows that microgrids are a key part of solving some of the top contemporary energy problems. Microgrids are being used to provide electricity to remote regions of the world, where no central grid exists, or its service is spotty, hampering basic health, well-being and commerce.

Efforts in this respect are already underway in Thailand. Pongsakorn Yuthagovit, PEA’s Deputy Director for System Planning, shared recently that a $7.5 million microgrid trial in the Mae Sariang region will “improve the district’s power reliability as it has one of the highest records of power outages in the country.”

Asian utilities are searching for ways to meet rural electrification targets as well as achieve clean power sourcing objectives and increasing regulations.

In Indonesia, you will find much of the same, as the country looks to electrify more of its rural areas. The country’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has published its 2016-2025 Electricity Supply Business Plan, which outlines a target of  99.7% electrification by 2025. This won’t be easy as Indonesia includes more than 17,500 islands across close to 740,000 square miles. This geography makes the country a great candidate for microgrid deployment.

The Philippines, which shares a similar geography patters as Indonesia, is also looking toward microgrids to answer some of its own challenges. As the government of The Philippines looks to bring power supply closer to 24-hours per day, deploying renewables and storage could complement diesel generation and reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

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Off-grid microgrids in the Maldives are also showing strong results. An off-grid microgrid in the Maldives is performing 50 percent better than developer Electro Power Systems (EPS) expected when it commissioned the project at a resort in October 2016.The 4.1 MW microgrid is the second installed by the French technology company in the Indian Ocean islands. Using solar plus storage, the off-grid microgrid cut diesel use by 423,000 liters per year, 50 percent more than expected, according to the company. The microgrid provides 63 percent of the power for a resort.

Microgrid opportunities like these and more will be highlighted at the 18th edition of Asian Utility Week. The free event will bring together 3,500 industry professionals, who will discuss the possibilities of the integration of microgrids to secure energy demands for the region.

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