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Smart grid tech in Thailand to benefit consumers, utilities

Posted: 17 Jun 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Accenture? smart grid? utilities? renewable energy? power storage?

Things are looking up for Thailand's power industry when it begins to deploy "smart grid" technology, which allows consumers and electricity utilities to become interconnected and to gain intelligence information on their real-time supply and demand behaviour.Martin Hauske, managing director of Accenture's smart grid services in Asia Pacific, said an Accenture survey found that energy utilities could potentially see their revenues shredding by 15 per cent from an evolution of new energy technologies that include energy conservation and demand response, energy efficiencies, energy substitution and distributed generation resources.

Accenture has joined forces with Chulalongkorn University to advise a Thai power utility to develop its roadmap toward the smart grid system.

Eighty-five utilities executives from 20 countries took part in the study, which also found a growing threat in the areas of greater competition and rising risk of grid faults.

The impact of new technologies on utilities' revenues is estimated at up to $48 billion in the United States, and up to 61 billion euros in Europe, based on the potential power load reduction.

More opportunities than threats

However, in the case of Thailand, Hauske said he foresees more opportunities than threats for the country to leverage new technologies, including distributed energy resources such as solar power and energy storage technologies to lower its electricity costs.

"And since Thailand is heavily relying on [natural] gas, so to replace it with renewable energy is an advantage for Thailand," he said.

Hauske said solar power has already reached the "tipping point" to gain the "grid parity" in most parts of the world, including Thailand.

But due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy, the country needs to strengthen the reliability of its power grid through "digitising" it with analytics technology, automated system, and on the consumers side, smart meters.

Sompith Kitcharoen, managing director of Accenture Thailand's resources clients group, said under the current plan laid down by the Energy Ministry's Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO), it would take Thailand about 30 to 35 years to roll out smart grid systems nationwide.

The Cabinet has already approved the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) to deploy the first smart grid as a pilot project in Pattaya, where electricity consumers will have to convert their power metres to digitally-connected metres.

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