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Southeast Asia Community of Practice: Learning from Vietnam’s Experience on High Fluctuations of Variable Renewable Energy in Grid System

02 December 2022

Online, 18 November 2022

ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), in collaboration with the Global Power System Transformation (G-PST) Consortium , had successfully organized Community of Practice (CoP) for system operators in Southeast Asia with title Learning from Vietnam’s Experience on High Fluctuations of Variable Renewable Energy in Grid System”. The CoP was held virtually on 18 November 2022 and has attracted more than 220 participants to join the discussion among system operators.

(Photo 1. Poster for the Global PST Consortium, Southeast Asia Community of Practice.)

Through this community of practice, the system operators from PLN Indonesia and Grid System Operators (GSO) of Malaysia explored the lesson learned from Vietnam’s National Load Dispatch Center (NLDC) experience in managing the growing amounts of variable renewable energy generation on their power system.

Kicking off the CoP, Ms. Karin Wadsack, Ph.D., an Interim Secretariat Director of G-PST, gave brief explanation about G-PST Consortium – a worldwide pool of experts – that focuses on providing support to power system operators and developing advanced engineering and operational solutions in order to accelerate decarbonisation and enhance energy security in power system.

Echoing to Ms Karin’s remarks, Mr. Warit Rattanachuen, HAPUA Working Group (HWG) 2 Representative, emphasised the role of rapid growth of renewable energy in energy transition era. For this, he urged the needs for better optimisation and new technology to ensure the flexibility and stability.

Challenges and Mitigation in Handling Higher Penetration of VRE in Grid System

Mr. Akbar Dwi Wahyono, Technical Officer of Power, Fossil Fuel, Alternative Energy and Storage (PFS) Department at ACE, presented about the ASEAN Power Sector Planning for Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) and Its Key Challenges. The presentation highlighted the estimated VRE technical potential in ASEAN with around 8 TW and 350 GW of solar and wind potential which could be consolidated into ASEAN Interconnection Projects. However, among the challenges of integrating the VRE resources to the ASEAN power grid systems is by balancing electricity generation with the demand while also maintain the power system reliability.

Mr. Dinh Xuan Duc, Manager Power System Analysis and Planning Department at the EVN-NLDC, continued the presentation about lesson learned in integrating VRE into grid system from EVN-NLDC experience. The presentation highlighted the solar and wind share in Vietnam will increase to 26% and 30% respectively in 2045 from 21% and 6% in 2022.

Upon the massive plan of VRE penetration, he also identified some key challenges in operating renewables in Vietnam, namely grid congestion, renewable surplus, low system inertia, RE forecast errors supporting mechanism, and low Short Circuit Ratio (SCR).

He also shared the key solutions taken by EVN NLDC to mitigate the grid challenges through applying online inertial monitor; improvement of RE forecast accuracy; propose a new, separate operating group who monitor and operate renewables; and applying best practices from worldwide’ experts, particularly from G-PST experts.

(Photo 2. Mr Beni Suryadi of ACE moderating the panel discussion.)

Mr. Beni Suryadi, Manager of PFS Department of ACE, moderated the session and started the panel discussion by asking Mr. Elvanto Yanuar, System Planning Senior Manager of Java-Madura-Bali Load Dispatch Centre, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) regarding the PLN plan for VRE addition and the power system readiness to integrate such VRE penetration.

Mr. Elvanto stated that PLN has a plan to install 290 MW of solar PV and 260 MW of wind turbine in Java-Madura-Bali grids. Meanwhile, for the system readiness to allow VRE penetration, he mentioned that most of point of interconnections in Java-Madura-Bali substation have already fulfil the SCR to allow 100 MWp of solar PV. In addition to that, PLN is also in the early state in implementing digitalisation such as energy management system and RE forecast. In the long term, PLN will also install pump hydro storage which can keep 3,700 MW storage to overcome the variability of VRE by next decade.

Mr. Shanmugam Thoppalan, Head of Grid System Operator (GSO) of Malaysia shared that Peninsular Malaysia has confined solar and wind potential. However, according to the Malaysia Renewable Energy Roadmap, he expects the contribution from solar energy around 6 GW by 2025.

With the existing infrastructure, Mr. Shanmugam ensures that GSO will be ready to integrate 6 GW to Peninsular Grid System. He also added that Malaysia intends to find possibilities to increase power capacity in linking with other countries to provide the flexibility of grid system.

Mr. Luke Robinson, Group Manager Modelling & Engineering, Operation Department, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and a member of the global experts who involve for the East Coast US system, highlighted that the general challenge in increasing the capacity to share the energy across the system is maximising resource potential in order to have dispatchable capacity to meet the loads.

Main Course of the CoP: Practical Solutions for the System Operators

The panellists then moved forward to the essence of community of practice, which was sharing practical solutions in managing the growing amounts of variable renewable energy generation in their respective power systems.

Mr. Elvanto first opened the question by asking Mr. Dinh about the transition steps from the conventional power system to modernised power system by implementing massive solar power generation. Mr. Dinh pointed out that the transition was conducted on the technical assistance from the international consultant and 14 solutions to deal with the high penetration from the renewable energy. The solutions were categorised into red, yellow and green codes based on market evolution, infrastructure invested into power system and the ratio of renewable energy. The red solutions need to be solved urgently and currently Vietnam had addressed all red ones. The next step, Vietnam will handle the challenges with battery energy storage systems (BESS) and cross-border interconnections with neighbouring countries to enhance the flexibility of whole power system.

Then, Mr Luke asked Mr Dinh about managing outages that might be needed to operate the system differently with the higher levels of solar generation. Mr. Dinh responded that EVN still suffers with power shortage especially in dry season. Therefore, EVN put a lot of investment on it. Optimisation also is the key to control the power flow.

Mr. Elvanto also added that Indonesia installed a weather station in all substations so it can predict the weather condition and also implemented the Fast Response Governor monitoring system and inertia monitoring system to overcome variability of VRE.

Mr. Shanmugam continued that the system operators must anticipate high power transfer shifting between the renewable hours and non-renewables hours so the operators need to secure the grip with new technology and digitalisation.

The CoP also attended by other system operators in the Southeast Asia and other regions. There were sizeable questions that were raised by the audience and answered by the panellists, discussing some technical questions and practical solutions on handling large VRE penetration to the grid system in order to accelerate decarbonisation in power sector.