Singapore, Nov 19, 2013 - (ACN Newswire) - The inaugural Microgrid Forum Asia came to a close on 13th November, after two days of intensive discussions on the latest market drivers, enabling technologies, current deployments, and projected growth of microgrids worldwide with a focus on Asian countries. The conference featured presentations from over 20 industry experts from nine countries and a one day pre-forum workshop.
Participants came together in Singapore to discuss topics including business case for microgrids, identifying key technology advances, overcoming security challenges with microgrids, and evaluating microgrid applications in telecoms, rural, large-scale community dwelling scenarios and corporates.
Davide Bonomi, Conference Director, Dufresne said, "We hope to facilitate knowledge sharing and to help create a new way of distributing energy. The Microgrid Forum provides a platform that enables new ideas to be generated and to change the way the world works for the better through the collaboration of like-minded people."
Members of the media were also invited to a discussion by a panel of specially selected industry experts from the region. Key findings from the discussion include:
- Microgrids are crucial to improving the lives of the rural population in Asia
- Microgrids are currently the only feasible means of providing inexpensive and reliable power to the many inaccessible rural areas including remote mountainous areas and over 20,000 islands.
Not only is it not cost effective to lay a power line to those areas, it is also sometimes physically impossible.
The poorest people in the rural areas are paying the most for electricity because they rely on diesel generators. Microgrids will help to promote equality and reduce the cost of living for the rural population by giving them 24-hour access to cheaper energy.
Advantages of microgrids over traditional power grids
Microgrids provide electricity without the need to lay power lines to reach remote communities. The cost of laying power lines over long distances just to provide power to a small number of households is not economically viable.
Without microgrids, these rural communities are dependent on diesel generators. Not only is diesel costly but also requires regular deliveries. Microgrids allow the integration of available resources like solar, wind and micro-hydro power on site to provide a sustainable solution.
Microgrids are also more resilient against power blackouts and outages due to reasons like natural disasters especially in remote areas.
Challenges facing microgrid adoption
The lack of technically skilled workers to manage the microgrid in remote areas is the biggest challenge facing microgrids at the moment. Research is being done on having unmanned microgrids through asset management systems.
The relatively high cost of setting up a microgrid compared to simple diesel generators is also slowing the adoption of microgrids. While the cost of solar panels has dropped, the price of batteries has not. In implementing microgrids, many factors including initial costs versus lifetime costs have to be considered as maintenance and replacement of batteries in remote areas would incur additional costs.
Acceptance by end users is an issue facing the implantation of microgrid because it is such a new concept and users are unsure of its reliability. There is a pressing need to educate key decision makers and the development of industry standards.
- Dr Shiun Chen, General Manager, R&D, Sarawak Energy
- Tagor Sidjabat, Operation Director, Pelayanan Listrik Nasional (PLN) Batam
- Sally Qiu, Asia Pacific Sales Manager, FIAMM
About Microgrid Forum Asia
Microgrid Forum Asia is an in-depth, two-day event that carefully examines the latest market drivers, enabling technologies, current deployments, and projected growth of microgrids worldwide with a focus on Asian countries such as: Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and China. Website: www.microgridforum.com.