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System to Optimize Voltage and Reactive Power to be Adopted for the Thailand Electrical Grid
Optimized operations to reduce greenhouse gasses—testing project begun by NEDO and Hitachi

2021.04.13

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has concluded a Letter of Intent with the Ministry of Energy of the Kingdom of Thailand (MOEN) to cooperate on a testing project for the decarbonization and advancement of the country’s electrical power grid operations. Hitachi Ltd., the contractor chosen for the project, also announced the commencement in December of last year of a testing project for OPEN VQ, or Optimized Performance Enabling Network for Volt/var (Q), in cooperation with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). The OPEN VQ system is being introduced into the EGAT transmission grid with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by advancing and optimizing grid operations. Furthermore, a Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) will be established between Japan and Thailand to quantify the extent to which the greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

With the increased demand for electricity due to economic development, limiting transmission loss in the electrical grid has become an issue for Thailand. Furthermore, because the majority of power sources in Thailand are thermoelectric, the quantity of natural gas and other fossil fuels being consumed is on the rise, creating a need to adopt renewable energy sources and build a power network with a reduced environmental impact.

Given this situation, a portion of the thermoelectric power plants in use in the northeast of Thailand, where the testing program is being carried out, isplanned to be shut down by 2025 due to aging facilities, and alternatives are being considered to replace them including the purchase of electricity from neighboring countries, and the installation of new power sources such as hydroelectric and solar power generation.

In order to achieve the supply of electricity using multiple sources, it is necessary to strengthen existing transmission infrastructure in order to increase the capacity thereof, and plans have slowed over the immense investment required. Furthermore, there is no existing system to optimize the voltage of the current grid, to which numerous power sources are connected, making it difficult to balance limiting transmission loss with the stable provision of electricity.

Accordingly, NEDO and the Thailand MOEN reached an agreement to engage in a testing project for the decarbonization and advancement of power grid operations, for which the LOI was signed at this time. At the same time, Hitachi Ltd., hired as the contractor to carry out the project, signed a project agreement with EGAT, the state run electrical utility in charge of power generation and transmission in Thailand. NEDO, along with the contractors and other partners, began a project to test the OPEN VQ system against the transmission grid operated by EGAT in northeastern Thailand.

For the project, the OPEN VQ system has been introduced into the EGAT transmission grid to achieve the limitation of transmission loss by advancing and optimizing grid operations with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The JCM will also be leveraged to quantify the extent to which those greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

The OPEN VQ system being adopted collects data and measurements on electrical grid facilities from the grid control systems and combines them with external data, such as electricity generation plans and weather forecasts, to predict future grid flow and balance between supply and demand. Furthermore, after ensuring voltage stability, the system provides online optimization of voltage and reactive power to achieve the advancement and optimization of the grid, including limiting transmission loss.

The testing project is expected to achieve a reduction in CO2 of between 10,000 and 20,000 tons per year by limiting transmission loss.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd.(https://sci-news.co.jp/). Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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