Grid management recommendations for optimal operation of renewable energy

August 27, 2021 | 08:00
Vietnam should consider adopting major solutions for its grid management if the country wants to optimise the operation of renewable energy sources and make the best of these clean sources in its power system

The proposed measures took the centre stage in the virtual workshop ‘Grid management solutions to the optimal operation of renewable energy sources in the power system’ which took place on August 26. The event was jointly organised by the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).

Grid management recommendations for optimal operation of renewable energy
Grid management recommendations for optimal operation of renewable energy

Participants were representatives from affiliated entities under the MoIT, the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises, Electricity of Vietnam, as well as experts from the Vietnam Electrical Engineering Association, the Vietnam Energy Association, and universities and non-profit organisations.

“All measures that we proposed in today’s workshop will support Vietnam to make the best use of its enormous potential for renewable energies, as well as the efficient and optimal use of its grid systems. As a result, the country can achieve its dual goals on promoting renewable energies and maintaining stable electricity supplies to move towards a sustainable future,” said Markus Bissel, director of GIZ’ Smart Grids for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SGREEE) project.

Grid management recommendations for optimal operation of renewable energy

At the workshop, the participants were updated with analyses of the country’s current electricity system and grid management situation. An overview of international best practices was presented, so that local experts could learn from these lessons in dealing with relevant issues. A GIZ-coordinated consultation group put forward the following key measures for Vietnam:

Planning measures: The most essential proposal is the issuance of a reasonable feed-in tariff (FiT) which may vary according to region, time, and demand. Other promising solutions are energy storage systems, grid digitalisations, automations, and expansions.

Operational measures:

Grid-related measures: High voltage direct current transmission is recommended as a long-term solution. Other short- and medium-term measures are the application of advanced software to optimise the grid topology, equipping phase shifting transformers, and on-load tap changers.

Market-related measures: Major solutions should be considered to enable participation of new business models and players in the power market, for example, energy storage systems and virtual power plant models, as well as the implementation of demand side management, response programme, the application of re-dispatch measures with involvement of decentralised small-scale renewable energy-based power plants, and the ability to conclude an opposite electricity trade transaction (countertrading) to optimise the operation of renewable power plants.

Renewable energy feed-in management: Limiting the generation capacity of renewable energy sources should be conducted as a last resort after the above-mentioned measures are applied and exhausted. The compensation for the lost revenues will be paid later to developers at certain levels.

In recent years, Vietnam has witnessed a boom of renewable energy projects as a result of attractive incentives for solar power and wind power.

Grid management recommendations for optimal operation of renewable energy

However, most projects are located in hotspots with high renewable energy potential while the grid infrastructure is not sufficient to release the capacity. Along with this, the instability of grid systems caused by a large gap between peak load and off-peak load has also led to serious grid congestion. The limiting of renewable energy-based generation is unavoidable as a result, affecting the projects’ revenue and investment efficiency. The measures proposed at the workshop, therefore, are expected to support Vietnam in addressing the problems.

The event was part of the SGREEE project, which is implemented by the ERAV/MOIT and GIZ. The project is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Under the SGREEE project, the first group of experts on smart grid has been established in Vietnam and can be visited following this link (facebook.com/groups/smartgridvn/). Information about the project is available on the Smart Grid Vietnam Knowledge Hub at smart-grid.vn and the ESP’s website bit.ly/3mS1lIM.

By Nguyen Huyen

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