Tag: power

14
Sep

The use of Solar and the Blockchain in Southeast Asia Startup BitLumens

Using blockchain and solar energy, UN- and World Bank-endorsed startup company, BitLumens has been tooling its solar home technology to bring electricity and financial inclusion to underserved populations. Myanmar and Indonesia are BitLumens’s first Southeast Asia stops.

Founding CEO Veronica Garcia spoke with Southeast Asia Globe about their plans to lease solar systems to power off-the-grid households, and we (Eyekandi-Solar) decided to share the interview with you.

Tell us a bit about BitLumens…
We’re bringing solar home systems and mini-grid into off-grid communities – so these are communities that are not connected to the power lines. We have some sensors added into these [leased solar power] machines that collect information from each use… such as power generation, power consumption and also carbon mitigation… Before we install these devices, our agents collect KYC, or know-your-customer data, on each of the users, so we would collect things like how many people are within that household, what are their wages, what type of floor do they have… All of this information goes into the blockchain – this KYC combined with the transaction data. These people pay for the devices every month, and… [we] give a [score based on their payment history] so that at the end of the payment period, they will have a credit score, which works as a financial identity where they could either open a bank account or they could have access to a micro loan that would be backed by BLS [BitLumens] tokens.

Are the BLS coins environmentally friendly to mine?
Yes, of course. We use Ethereum [blockchain], and Ethereum uses proof of stake that uses way less energy consumption [to mine than] Bitcoin. As you know, Bitcoin takes around 40 terawatt hours to operate. We don’t accept Bitcoins in the first place because we don’t think it’s very environmentally friendly. We try to stay in protocols that need less computational power.

BitLumens combines blockchain technology and solar energy to bring electricity to those not connected to the main grid Image supplied by SEA-Globe

BitLumens combines blockchain technology and solar energy to bring electricity to those not connected to the main grid
Image supplied by SEA-Globe

Why is BitLumens important to countries like Myanmar and Indonesia?
I do anticipate a decentralised energy system in these types of regions where the power lines cannot reach small communities. In these regions, 1 kilometre of power lines costs around half a million dollars. If you need to run, let’s say, 100 kilometres of power lines until you reach a community of 2,000 users, there is no way that the utility company will do that. However, if you collect the data and tell them this is how much we generate, this is how much they consume and this is how much they pay, things are totally different and one would be able to find partnerships where one could place [solar home] mini-grids. 

Do you have future plans for expansion in other parts of Southeast Asia?
Yes, Indonesia is also an important market for us. We are looking at places like Nosatangara, this is at the southernmost part of Indonesia. There are thousands of people who are not connected to a grid, so we are looking at a place where we could actually place a pilot there… We have partnered with a really good organisation there and the UN was really good to set up all of these connections for us, so we are happy to be announcing that pretty soon… and then we will immediately start the deployment.

More information about BitLumens can be found here, and the original article published by SEA-Globe can be found here.

18
Apr

Thai Minister Announces Increase in Coal

Diversify the source of Fuel for Power

The Thai Energy Minister, Siri Jirapongphan, has recently announced that Thailand is expected to increase the mix of electricity generated by coal and renewables to diversify its source of fuel for power generation.

“The share of coal in our power generation mix is very low at slightly less than 20 percent,” the Energy Minister said at the International Energy Forum last week.

“We need to diversify the sources of fuel for our power generation. Having a reasonable percentage of coal to be used for power generation would be a necessity in considering the security of fuel supply to our generation system.”

In the past Thailand has relied mainly on natural gas

The power demand from the citizens is falling behind consumption, requiring the country to import more piped gas from Myanmar and more liquefied natural gas.

A plan set a few years back by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) to build coal-fired power plants in the southern Thailand towns of Krabi and Songkhla have been delayed due to opposition from villagers and environmentalists.

“We need to conduct a more global strategic environmental assessment to identify a more suitable location to build a coal-fired power plant that Thailand needs,” Siri said, adding that a decision on the whereabouts of the coal fired power plants locations could be made towards the end of this year (2018).

 

Increase Coal Use in Thailand. Photo supplied by PennEnergy Thailand

Increase Coal Use in Thailand. Photo supplied by PennEnergy Thailand

“In terms of contribution to carbon dioxide generation, Thailand can be considered as one of the lowest in the world,” Siri said.

Authorities increased retail electricity prices by 3.5 percent last year for the first time since 2014, citing rising oil and gas prices.

Falling costs for solar panels has made the renewable resource competitive against fossil fuels.

“We have proven in several pilot projects that we can expand on our success to promote more electricity generation from renewable resources at a price which we call grid parity at 8 cents (per kilowatt hour) on a wholesale basis.”

Going forward, Siri said that Thailand will only be accepting grid-parity prices of electricity generated from renewable/green sources.

Follow this link to read the original article on the Reuters website by Florence Tan in NEW DELHI and Chayut Setboonsarng in BANGKOK; Additional reporting by Promit Mukherjee in NEW DELHI; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

21
Mar

Deregulation of Energy Purchased from Private Solar Rooftops Expected

Solar rooftop power can be purchased by the DAEDE

The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency is expected to propose a project to the National Energy Policy Committee headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha next month, which is intended to purchase power generated from solar rooftops of households and commercial buildings.

Original article posted by Thai PBS English News

Deregulation Expected in April

The department chief Mr Praphon Wongtharua has been quoted in saying that, ‘in the initial stage, it was estimated that as much as 300 megawatts of electricity generated from solar rooftops would be purchased at a price not exceeding the price of energy sold by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat)’.

The project which is now being decided on between the DAEDE and the energy regulatory committee before it is to be submitted to the energy policy committee chaired by the energy minister and, finally, the project will go to the National Energy Policy Committee for approval.

Mr Praphon disclosed that currently the private sector is capable of generating power from their solar rooftops for their own use at a cost relatively less than the price charged by either the metropolitan electricity authority or the provincial electricity authority.

However, he pointed out that ‘the private sector’s power generators would not gain the optimum benefits from solar rooftops if their leftover power cannot be sold into the power grid system’.

Purchase of energy from solar rooftops expected to be deregulated in April

Purchase of energy from solar rooftops expected to be deregulated in April

Benefits

It will be beneficial to the power producers if state utilities are allowed to buy energy from the private sector’s solar rooftops, he added.

The department has commissioned the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, to conduct a study on the most appropriate format for the purchase of power generated from solar rooftops of the private sector.

There will be three categories of solar rooftop energy sellers: households, big commercial buildings of big factories, and medium-sized buildings or factories. The prices will be 2.30-2. 50 baht/ unit for households; which is less than one baht/unit for big buildings or factories; and one baht for medium-sized buildings or factories.

If you’re interested in having a solar rooftop installed on your household to enable you to benefit from this, don’t hesitate to contact us at Eyekandi-Solar!

19
Feb

Power of the Sun

Wandee Khunchornyakong built the first solar farm in Thailand eight years ago. Her company is now the largest solar power supplier in the region. See the original post here from the Bangkok Post

EARLY BIRD

Wandee Khunchornyakong always wakes up at around 5 am. As chairperson and CEO of Solar Power Company Group (SPCG), she likes to start her day when the sun rises.

Her working day ends late. She goes to bed at midnight. Hard work is her routine, which she has kept from a young age. She turns 60 this year, but retirement is not part of the plan.

Wandee built her first – and Thailand’s first – solar farm in 2010. Since then her company has grown in leaps and bounds. SPCG now has 43 subsidiaries. From its headquarters in Thong Lor, it manages 36 solar farms and has expanded the business to Japan and other ASEAN countries. Today SPCG is the largest solar-power-generating company in Southeast Asia.

As a working woman – one of only a handful in the energy industry – she never thought that her dream of generating clean energy would become the huge business it is now.

“I am not somebody who comes from a family with a big name. When I returned to work after early retirement, I chose a business that was innovative and of the kind that nobody had done before,” she said, recalling her original decision to set up the company in 2009.

Wandee had worked as an executive at several companies in different fields, including a solar-cell company. She stepped down in 2006, at the age of 48, to pursue a PhD in Educational Leadership at Suan Dusit University. She thought she would become a teacher in her senior years. But destiny had other plans.

power of the sun_wandee

VISIONARY MIND

Back in 2008, the government announced a policy to promote renewable energy development. It offered a 25-year licence for private companies to operate solar-power plants and feed electricity to the utility grid of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA).

At that time, the solar-farm business was in its infancy and wasn’t a priority for financial creditors. For almost a year after the policy was announced, no company applied for a license.

When Wandee learned about the government’s initiative from Dr Piyasawat Amaranand, the former Energy Minister of Surayud Chulanont’s government, it motivated her to research the solar-power-plant business.

“I was interested in solar power because it’s a global trend. I know green technology will be the future for Thailand,” she said.

She spent months studying the business possibilities until she was certain she would have a chance at success. Thailand has strong solar-radiation levels throughout the year when compared to other countries in the region, and even developed countries where solar farms have been implemented, such as Germany and Japan.

“With the same investment for setting up a solar-power plant, a solar farm in Thailand will have more energy output, perhaps double to triple that of developed countries. I knew the possibility of success was high and the risk for failure was very low,” she said.

Get in touch with our Eyekandi Solar team to get a quote for your own solar installation.

30
Jan

Shining a light on Thailand’s electricity woes

Opening up the power market might hold the key to more efficient, less costly delivery of power to consumers.

Original article written by Yuthana Praiwan of the Bangkok Post. There is an expected 50% increase in Thailand’s electricity price in the up coming 10 years, from 3.66 to 5.50 baht! This may sounds somewhat alarming, however Mr Siri, the Thailand’s minister of Energy has mentioned that “The way to cut energy bills is not through subsidies, but by increasing the industry’s efficiency and innovation.” He is also quoted on saying that “we struck a balance between monopoly and free market, and let the ERC work out the rules of the game to let them compete fairly.” This was with regards to the issue of ‘monopoly’ in the energy sector. However, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) was set up in 2007 for a transparent system of checks and balances to monitor the players in the sector.

Shining a light on Thailand's electricity woes

Shining a light on Thailand’s electricity woes

“We struck a balance between monopoly and free market, and let the ERC work out the rules of the game to let them compete fairly,” the energy minister says. The ERC opened up an auction for licences for renewable power for small power producers under firm-power purchase agreements (a SPP Hybrid firm), last year, when the first case study of a deregulated energy sector was launched. During that process, 300 megawatts was auctioned and the ERC received applications from more than 85 firms with a combined capacity of 2,464MW. To read the original Bangkok Post article and about Thailand’s electricity woes, click this link. To get a quote for your personal solar array, to start generating your own electricity, click here.

22
Jan

Energy storage a fix for renewables

Storage is not vital, but it is useful.

If the energy transition outlook, by DNV GL is correct, then almost three quarters of the electricity demand increase by 2050 will be generated by renewable energy. But with the expected increase in the renewable generation, comes a conflicting scenario: ‘How will power grids deal with the variability and intermittency of sources such as wind and PV?’

Advanced storage technologies might be able to offer good enough solutions, said Paul Gardner, segment director – Storage at DNV GL. “Storage is useful for that but it is not essential,” he said. “And on its own it is probably not sufficient to deal with the issues of high variability of, particularly wind and PV.”

 

Asian Power: Is energy storage

Asian Power:  energy storage a fix for renewables

Where storage technologies excel is in addressing the needs based on how long power needs to be stored. Gardner said ‘flywheels’ are excellent at storing power and delivering a big amount of power in a short amount of time. ‘Flow batteries’ are more suitable for applications that require power over extended periods, while ‘thermal storage’ can address even longer timescales.

Thermal storage, in particular, is a very economical solution for situations when the end use is also heat, said Gardner, and will be attractive to power grids that want to a good reason to build expensive storage facilities. At least until costs come down in the future, as the electrical vehicle market starts to find more efficient ways to produce energy batteries.

“I was in a battery manufacturing plant and it’s really very impressive how automated the manufacturing is,” said Gardner. “About 90% of the batteries that are being manufactured now for long term energy storage are being manufactured for electric vehicles.”

“So it is actually the electric vehicle market that is driving these manufacturing improvements, and those will drive the cost reductions” in energy storage, he added.

But aside from the cost hurdles, regulations are also slowing down adoption of storage technologies and, in effect, hinder the renewables integration. Gardner pointed out that in some countries, there have been “significant” delays in the ability to implement storage because of a lack of a common definition of what storage actually is.

What is storage?

“That sounds silly but, actually, it’s important because, in some countries, they operate through systems of licensees. So there are generator licensees, and network operator licensees, and there are energy supply licensees,” he said.

“In those licensed environments, it is not clear exactly where storage fits. If it can be considered as a generator, then that has different implications than if it is considered as something that a network operator can do. And that is important for storage because the inherent technology provides benefits both to generators and to network operators,” he added.

Factoring in the current high costs and regulatory roadblocks that energy storage still has to overcome, Gardner decided that the issue of renewables integration will likely be best addressed by other solutions. The limitations of storage in this regard is put on display when one considers creating larger-scale energy systems supplied completely by wind and PV in northern latitudes where there is greater seasonality in both renewable resources and energy demand.

“ If you wanted to have a 100% renewable system to supply that, you would end up building capacity that you would only use once in a blue moon – once every ten years in a really unfortunate set of circumstances. Now, you could do it, but it is a bit silly to build something very expensive that you are only going to use one in a decade,” said Gardner.

“There are other solutions and those solutions, typically, are greater electrical interconnection across countries and between countries, and even between continents eventually,” he added, citing efforts by manufacturers to make gas turbines more flexible, and developments in the area of demand site management. “All these options are competing with storage for providing the necessary services to run grids with high penetration available in renewables.”

Click here to read the original Asian Power article and here to get a quote from Eyekandi-Solar.

19
Jan

Nexif Energy to supply EGAT with 110MW

The energy project could reach the financial close by the first quarter this year.

Nexif Energy has announced that it has signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for its 110 megawatt (MW) cogeneration project in Rayong Province, Thailand’s. Nexif was granted the project in June 2017 and is making progress fast, towards achieving financial close by the end of March 2018.

The project is set to provide electricity to the Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (EGAT) under a 25-year power purchase agreement and supply energy to Asian industrial customers. It will be financed by a group of leading investors on a non-recourse basis with Standard Chartered Bank at the forefront of the financing section.

Nexif Energy providing power in Thailand

Nexif Energy providing power in Thailand

Ravi Chandran, Executive Vice President at Nexif Energy, stated, “Our project is well structured, as it is underwritten by a long term PPA with creditworthy off-taker, has long term gas supply contracts with a leading gas supplier and has the ability to supply electricity and steam to industrial customers. We look forward to completing remaining permitting and financing by first quarter 2018.”

The turn key engineering, procurement and construction fixed price  Contract was signed by a group of Korean construction companies consisting of Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd (“Doosan”) and SC Engineering Co., Ltd. It includes the supply and build of a General Electric 6FA gas turbine operating in combined cycle with a Doosan DST-G20 steam turbine.

 

16
Jan

Southeast Asia’s solar industry thrives despite market expectations

The solar explosion may be diminishing in some countries, but definitely not in Southeast Asia.

When forecasters noticed slower solar PV installations worldwide in 2017, when developed markets neared saturation, it put investors under loads of stress to determine whether Southeast Asia would be the next fountain of solar growth. Analysts can speculate the potential of this region of approximately 600 million people, especially as governments and developers have started to understand the strict regulations, outdated technology and poor infrastructure that has been diminishing the investment in the Southeast Asian solar projects. But the sheer amount of work to be done puts the region a long way off from reaching a solar renaissance.

“As renewables markets mature, renewables investors are looking to new markets for their next source of growth. Solar PV generation has great potential and has been the most attractive renewable energy source amongst the Southeast Asian nations,” said Eric Ho, director at Renewable Energie Singapore. “Growth prospects are tremendous in Southeast Asia with a combination of fast-growing economies with resulting investment in manufacturing, transportation and energy infrastructure, rapid growth in electricity demand and good solar resource,” he further stated, noting that annual solar radiation levels in the region ranges from 1,460 to 1,900 kWh/m2 per year.

Asian Power: Southeast Asia's solar industry thrives despite market expectations

Asian Power: Southeast Asia’s solar industry thrives despite market expectations

Feed in Tariff to expand and Thailand to be the role model

Feed-in tariff (FiT) schemes have been helpful to the solar PV growth in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, which is by far the largest producer of solar energy in the region as there is strong government support, solar capacity has increased in the past three years, from 1,299MW in 2014, and 2,021MW in 2015, to over 2,800MW in 2016, which is higher than those of all other Southeast Asian countries combined. Thailand is not looking to slow down its solar PV expansion anytime soon. They have a target to have installed 6,000MW by 2036. The country is also becoming a regional role model for Southeast Asian nations that are starting to scale up their programs.

“Because of Thailand’s experience with large solar farms and its promoting policies, it forms a hub for PV testing services and a source for information. Solar energy projects are offered the highest feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidies,” said Ho. “In the past years, several FiT programs for smaller solar energy projects were created with very attractive rates. By giving the highest FiTs to the smallest producers, the government aimed to promote green energy communities and small-scale rooftop programs.”

Investors are also heading over to the Philippines, which, since the launch of the FiT program a few years ago, had no solar industry. The fast pace of Solar expansion in the Philippines, made them one of the the top 10 markets in the world. “The FiT program drove solar PV development in the Philippines into high gear,” Ho noted. “Solar PV is expected to reach 3 GW of utility solar by 2022.”

Dave Maslin, country manager for OWL Energy, believed that the FiT process generated investor interest when it was first shown but it was far from perfect. It was believed that the process had problems with transparency and guidance. “After securing a service contract and Department of Energy (DOE) approval on its commerciality, the project developers were caught in a limbo: It had no obligation to proceed but had the go-signal to begin construction.”

Solar in Southeast Asia, Thailand in particular, is thriving. In order for you to jump on the band wagon, get in contact with us and we’ll help you to get set up.

Click here to read more about ‘Southeast Asia’s solar industry thrives amidst dimming market expectations’.

12
Jan

EGAT says the Market Quota will now end

Energy policymakers are currently planning to end the twenty year quota regime by expanding the state-controlled power generation business to private sector competition, quoted by the Energy Minister himself Mr Siri Jirapongphun.

Thailand will now be removing the special quota from state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). “Thailand needs to increase power supply and allowing the market to set its price will be essential to developing the power generation industry,” he said.
The deregulation of power generation will be applied to both the renewable energy industry as well as the fossil fuels industry.

The power price is currently at an average of 3.6 baht per kilowatt hour.

Egat's Mae Moh power plant in Lampang. Both fossil fuels and renewable energy will be deregulated. JIRAPORN KUHAKAN

EGAT’s Mae Moh power plant in Lampang. Both fossil fuels and renewable energy will be deregulated. JIRAPORN KUHAKAN

By JUNE 2018, policymakers have planned to open an auction under the small power producer programme, which will involve semi-firm power purchase agreements with a total of 269 megawatts.
The move is aimed at advancing the efficiency of the sector, of EGAT, and of other state-owned energy firms like PTT Plc.

Details of the deregulation programme will become finalised in the new national Power Development Plan (PDP), which is currently being revised by the relevant department.  The new PDP, set to be finalised in March 31, will replace the existing PDP, which was drafted in 2014.

The current rules that state that one fifth of the country’s power must come from renewable energy sources by the year 2036 may also undergo major revisions. At present, renewable energy sources in Thailand account for 12% of the country’s power.

Companies from the private sector and EGAT (which recently expressed interest in importing LNG), will now be allowed to enter the business, which previously fell under the monopoly of PTT.

 

To get a quote for your solar installation, get in touch with us!

Find the original Bangkok Post article here.