Behind-the-meter battery storage could solve curtailment issues for Vietnam solar projects

More than 9 GW of solar energy was installed in Vietnam in 2020. Image: Dragon Capital.

Battery storage is being evaluated as a means of maximizing the value of photovoltaics in Vietnam, with asset management group Dragon Capital hiring consultancy AqualisBraemar LOC Group (ABL Group) to conduct feasibility studies.

After the Asian country has seen rapid growth in installed PV capacity, electricity generation from renewable sources is being restricted mainly due to grid congestion. A feed-in tariff system (FiT) had been extremely successful in 2020 in promoting new PV systems, especially on commercial roofs.

Norway-based ABL Group has been commissioned by Dragon Capital subsidiary VN Green Holding to assess the feasibility of installing post-meter battery energy storage systems (BESS) in up to three of VN Green’s solar projects to assess the impact mitigate the cut.

The consulting firm will do a detailed analysis of the PV systems to see how much reduction has occurred and is expected in the future, and then model and optimize various possible BESS solutions.

The study will attempt to implement the lowest storage cost on a tiered basis to assess the commercial feasibility of this colocation of battery generation.

Energy-Storage.news asked the ABL Group about the approximate or expected performance and capacity of the BESS solutions and their on-site PV systems, but had not received an answer at the time of publication.

“We are excited to help Dragon Capital develop and optimize BESS for its PV projects in Vietnam,” said Richard Abrams, director of the ABL Group’s onshore renewable energy unit.

“We believe this model will be transferable to similar projects in the future and will help owners and operators get the most out of their renewable energies.”

Energy storage should facilitate the integration of the Vietnamese solar boom

Our colleagues at the sister site PV Tech found that Vietnam installed more than 9 GW of solar power in 2020, including 7 GW of rooftop PV systems in just one month (December 2020).

These capacity figures continued to grow, and concerns were also raised that the influx of variable renewable electricity would affect the stability of the grid, and significant tariff cuts were also proposed.

Batteries could ramp rate to integrate variable renewable generation into the grid, or energy staggered from times of day when production is abundant to evening peak times when not. You could also offer grid stabilizing services such as frequency and voltage regulation, help transmission and distribution network operators (T&D) save costs on expensive upgrades, and much more.

At the online event Solar and Storage Finance Asia, hosted by our publisher Solar Media last July, Vietnam was described as a “wonderful example” of a country on the continent where energy storage is having a massive positive impact on the transition to low carbon Could have energy.

Alexander Lenz, regional CEO for APAC of investment management company Aquila Capital, stated that the FiT was originally supposed to produce around 850 MW of installations, but instead produced more than ten times that amount. In total, there is a total of around 16 GW of solar systems in the country, including 5 GW of systems that were installed before 2019.

However, there is no political or regulatory mechanism to support the use of storage, Lenz said, suggesting that it is up to the clean energy industry operating in Vietnam and the wider Southeast Asian region to proactively propose solutions and business models to regulators, political Decision makers, utilities, and other stakeholders.

Batteries could ramp rate to integrate variable renewable generation into the grid, or energy staggered from times of day when production is abundant to evening peak times when not. You could also offer grid stabilizing services such as frequency and voltage regulation, help transmission and distribution network operators (T&D) save costs on expensive upgrades, and much more.

“With such rapid growth [for solar in Vietnam], BESS will be a critical technology in recovering lost power generation while maximizing the efficiency of these critical infrastructure projects. This may also provide more sophisticated services to the local area network, ”said Richard Abrams of the ABL Group.

In October last year, the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, received a grant of almost 3 million.

In this project, a 15MW / 7.5MWh BESS is integrated into a 50MWp solar park to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of batteries to increase the use of renewable energies in the grid, also through reduced curtailment. This was followed by the award of a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) in 2018 to carry out a feasibility study on the use of advanced energy storage technology at the state energy company Vietnam Electricity.

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