Egat plans bid for B2bn floating photovoltaic power around Thailand

Construction News
An aerial view of Egat’s Sirindhorn dam hydroelectric power plant in Ubon Ratchathani province, north-east Thailand.

Egat plans bid for B2bn floating photovoltaic power around Thailand

Terms of reference to be issued in May 2019

19 March 2019

An auction for building and installation rights for what will be the world’s largest capacity floating photovoltaic (PV) power in hydroelectric power plant reservoirs nationwide has been scheduled by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to take place between May and October.

The 2-billion-baht project was approved by the National Energy Policy Council last month. Egat received a total quota of 2,750 megawatts for floating solar PV installation.

The first unit Egat plans to construct is on the reservoir of Sirindhorn hydroelectric plant in Ubon Ratchathani at a capacity of 45MW.

Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said Egat plans to create hybrid hydropower and solar PV renewable energy by blending the two types in the power supply.

Terms of reference for auctions for the engineering, procurement and construction contracts will be issued on May 15, and the winners will be screened in October, said Egat. The project is expected to operate by the end of 2020.

The project involves constructing a smart energy management system and will join with eight hydropower plants nationwide that will total a combined capacity of 1,000MW over the next two decades.

Power generation for solar PV and hydropower lacks a stable mode because of limited resources, so Egat plans to combine and manage the system to make it more stable, aiming for lower generating costs.

Egat governor Viboon Rerksirathai said another seven hydropower plants will be designed after the first unit is commissioned. They include Srinakarin dam, Ratchaprapha, Bhumibol and Ubonratana.

He said power transmission lines and hydropower could utilise only 40% of generated energy because the dam was built with the priority of draining water for agricultural and community water resources, meaning it cannot generate power all day and night.

“Floating solar PV was designed to bridge the gap to use leftover capacity,” Mr Viboon said.

In the future if energy storage can compete with the cost of fossil fuels, Egat may include it in the system, he said.

In separate news, energy policymakers made Egat increase crude palm oil (CPO) output for power generation from 1,000 tonnes to 1,500 tonnes per day.

Mr Siri said Thailand’s CPO output for the 2019 crop year is expected to be over 20% higher than last year, up to 3 million tonnes from 2.6 million. Egat was successful in testing additional CPO at a third unit in a gas-fired power generator at Bang Pakong power plant.

The testing was done last weekend and the plant started using additional CPO yesterday. He said the additional volume of CPO would absorb a huge surplus in the cooking oil sector of 1 million tonnes, while 1 million tonnes of CPO will be used for biodiesel blends.

The first phase of CPO for power generation is expected to use 160,000 tonnes, while 126,000 tonnes purchased. The remaining 34,000 tonnes will be used from May to June.