Gearing up towards sustainable energy transition in Thailand
Thailand is in the transition toward the carbon neutrality goals aligned with the Conference of Parties (COP 26) commitment to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, according to an expert.
In the country’s new national power development plan, Thailand has set a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2065 as part of the country’s long-term ambitions for climate action.
The world is currently undergoing major changes. Rising sustainability concerns, pro-active government policies, emerging renewable energy targets, and improving technologies, amongst others, are transforming the energy and transportation sectors.
Dr. Worawut Waruttamapornsu, country managing director, Hitachi Energy (Thailand) Ltd., said that there are three trends that will accelerate the energy transition in Thailand.
First, the growing demand for renewables. According to the Power Development Plan, Thailand is now ramping up renewable capabilities and is aiming for 37 percent of the power mix in 2037 to come from non-fossil fuel sources. The government has introduced incentives to promote solar power generation and the adoption of EVs as measures to increase clean energy supply and mitigate air pollution.
Second, enabling consumers to become prosumers who both consume and produce energy. The accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011 is also a factor in accelerating renewable generation.
PM2.5 pollution is another of the drivers for electrification while in the longer term, the focus should be on the reduction of fossil fuels and carbonization.
Third, clean hydrogen is the future fuel. Fuel-cell vehicles (FCEVs) will be widely adopted in the future because they have high energy storage density. FCEVs use a propulsion system similar to that of electric vehicles, where energy stored as hydrogen is converted to electricity by the fuel cell. Such an energy storage system would be key for managing renewable energy so that it provides 24-hour supply.
All these trends are major drivers of energy transition and are interconnected with the achievement of the agenda for carbon neutrality and net-zero GHG emissions.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects global energy demand to more than double in the next 30 years. At present, electrification of all sectors accounts for 20% of total power management, and this is expected to grow to more than 50% by 2050.
“To cope with the changes, capacity enhancement is required including grids and power transmission lines to better serve the growing demand. Meanwhile, energy management is more complex because of the diverse grid integration. This integration will grow as more renewable energy comes online, A robust energy platform and digital technology are needed to create innovative solutions to support grid modernization in preparation for the continued growth of renewables integration and electrification.“
Dr. Worawut said that Hitachi Energy is exploring how the company can contribute to ensuring that Thailand’s energy transition truly reaches a carbon-neutral future.
Today, the company focuses on four core business units, namely power transformers, high-voltage products, grid integration, and grid automation. The state electricity-generating agencies make up the lion’s share of its customers, with private partners coming from various industries including oil & gas, petrochemical, automobile, food &beverages, transportation, data center as well mega projects like mass transit and airports.
Transition through innovative technologies
Experts believe that by 2050, electricity will be the backbone of the entire energy system. For that to happen smoothly, people need to adopt new ways of thinking, and new ways of working.
For emerging e-mobility, Hitachi Energy is introducing the Grid-eMotion Fleet smart charging infrastructure for large-scale electric vehicles or depots. These new technology solutions are designed especially for mass charging while limiting environmental impacts and reducing the footprint. Typically, Grid-eMotion Fleet requires 60 percent less space and 40 percent less cabling than alternative charging systems.
The Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) is another highlight. Hitachi is installing a solar rooftop at its facility in Bangpoo Industrial Estate, which is scheduled for a completion in October this year. It will be a showcase for customers and partners to better understand how Hitachi combines core technologies and elements of the energy transition together, namely renewable generation, electrification, and energy storage systems.
Hitachi Energy and Clever Denmark launched a fast-charging EV station pilot in early 2022 that combines renewable energy with advanced energy management, optimization solutions, and a battery energy storage system, which will be the future trend for sustainable mobility.
Hitachi’s eco-efficient EconiQ and the advanced microgrid are additional technologies designed to support grid modernization for sustainable energy.
By Veena Thoopkrajae with additional report by Patcharee Luenguthai
PHOTO courtesy of Hitachi Energy