Egat to ‘soon’ propose floating solar plants to Cabinet
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) will soon propose to the Cabinet its Bt2-billion pilot project for a 45-megawatt hydro-floating solar hybrid plant at Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani province.
Thepparat Theppitak, Egat deputy governor for power-plant development and renewable energy, said if approved, Egat will call bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the project within 1-2 months for commencement of commercial operation in 2020.
The project, a part of Thailand’s new power development plan (PDP) 2018-2037, will launch international bids due to the small number of floating solar producers, requirements for advanced technology and a constraint on the electricity cost at no higher than Bt2.44 per unit.
Once completed, the Sirindhorn hydro-floating solar hybrid project will be the world’s largest.
Egat has the capacity to invest in hydro-floating solar hybrid farms with 2,725 megawatts as stated in the new PDP, thanks to its being well prepared in both people and infrastructure, Thepparat said.
Its hydro-floating solar hybrid investment plan calls for 16 projects with 2,725 megawatts combined in nine dams – Sirindhorn Dam, Ubonrat Dam, Bhumibol Dam, Srinagarind Dam, Vajiralongkorn Dam, Chulabhorn Dam, Bang Lang Dam, Rajjaprabha Dam and Sirikit Dam.
Power from these projects will be gradually fed into the system from 2020 to 2037, starting with Sirindhorn Dam and the next investment is expected to then come on-line.
“In the new PDP renewable energy plan, Egat has the rights to proceed with only floating solar projects in dams. Once combined with new power plants in the PDP, Egat’s share in [the country’s] power production will lower to 24 per cent in 2037. Currently, its share is 34 per cent, which is regarded as small for supervision in the power system’s security,” Thepparat said.
He said that Egat has also prepared for the main power system to deal with more power to be produced by renewable energy, with private-sector solar farm projects, power trade through blockchain and eventually, peer-to-peer.
Egat is also developing the Egat Micro-Energy Management System (Egat Micro-EMS), software for microgrid management.
“Next, a number of microgrids will arise and every microgrid will be advertised to be self-dependent. If every system thinks like this and spring outs of the main [power] system at the time of a power problem, the main system will not be able to run. Therefore, Egat Micro-EMS will help monitor the overall power picture and maintain the main system’s security,” Thepparat said.
The study, under the Bt50-Bt60-million research and development budget, is expected to finish within 1-2 months after last year’s test with two buildings at the Egat head office at Bang Kruai of Nonthaburi province.
If efficient, Egat will drive for the public sector to extend the study result to National Energy Trading Platform (NETP), in which Egat, Provincial Electricity Authority and Metropolitan Electricity Authority have joined to develop the platform.