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UTLITY-SCALE SOLAR+STORAGE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA / 27 Mar 2018

Utlity-scale Solar+Storage in Southeast Asia

Utility-scale solar PV continues to grow at a breakneck pace, driven by continually falling prices, including 19.7 USD/MWh in the recent Mexico auction and 17.9 USD/MWh in the recent Saudi Arabia auction – price levels that were nearly inconceivable even just a few years ago.

However, while utility-scale solar PV’s rapid ascent is a positive for the environment and electricity consumers, the technology can represent a challenge for grid operators due to its intermittent nature and concentrated output profile. Some of the challenges that utility-scale solar PV can present include:

  • Requirement for additional “back-up” capacity elsewhere in the system
  • Curtailment of solar (or other plants)
  • Negative power prices, in wholesale markets
  • Local grid voltage issues
  • Increased ramping of other, dispatchable generators

These challenges can be lessened, if not completely mitigated, by adding support systems to help balance the grid network activities. One solution is adding energy storage – for example, batteries – to the electricity system.

Battery storage is a well-documented, if still nascent, method for alleviating many of these challenges (among other services that energy storage can provide). Pumped storage is a proven and effective energy storage technology, but good sites can be difficult to find, and projects require many years to plan, develop, and construct. Although grid planners and operators in Southeast Asia acknowledge that battery storage can be valuable, many governments and electricity systems may not have the financial resources, technical capabilities, and/or market and regulatory mechanisms to support or encourage stand-alone battery deployment. Hence, other approaches are gaining attention and being considered to alleviate the challenges that come with increased use of intermittent renewables.

Learn more about utility-scale Solar+Storage in Southeast Asia in Pöyry’s Point of View report.

*Published on Asian Power magazine.

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Contact information

Matthew Heling
Head of Energy Consulting, Asia-Pacific