Singapore Opens Up Microgrid Test-Bed

Singapore’s Pulau Ubin microgrid test-bed is ready for technology development and piloting.
Published: Fri 05 Sep 2014

As the Pulau Ubin microgrid moves into its next phase of development, the Singapore Energy Market Authority (EMA) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) calling for companies and research organisations to submit proposals for testing innovative technologies.

Microgrid integration and control

The three test-bed areas are:

● Methods to assess and systems to control the impact of intermittent energy sources on a microgrid

● Energy storage technologies and their associated deployment configurations

● Condition monitoring systems for fault diagnosis and prediction.

The testing period will be up to 24 months, including 6 months at each end for installation and removal. Technologies should be able to be overlayed onto the existing system without requiring extensive works or reconfiguration of the current system.

“Phase 2 of the test-bed presents an opportunity to extract useful learning points to prepare our power grid for larger scale deployment of solar energy in Singapore,” said Chee Hong Tat, chief executive of EMA. “This includes the development of technology solutions to overcome challenges associated with the intermittent nature of solar energy.”

Proposals must be submitted by October 10, 2014. Funding of up to 50% of the total project costs will be awarded.

Made-by-Singapore

The microgrid test-bed is being developed at the jetty area of Pulau Ubin, a small island northeast of Singapore, where previously residents and businesses relied on their own diesel generators for their electricity needs.

The aim of the project is to assess the reliability of electricity supply within a microgrid infrastructure using intermittent renewable energy sources. It is also intended to help build local capabilities in the area of microgrid design, energy management and energy storage, and showcase how these technologies and solutions could be adopted for off-grid communities in the region.

Key components of the microgrid include six variable-speed 40kVA generators, PV modules with a total 90kWp capacity, and a 960kWh lead acid battery bank. Electricity supply to end-users is controlled through a bi- directional inverter. Smart meters installed at over-ground boxes record electricity consumption and help end-users as well as the micro-grid operator monitor their energy usage.

Delivering cheaper and cleaner electricity supply

During the first phase, more than 30 participants from around the jetty area have joined the project, including businesses such as restaurants and shops, telecommunications base stations, residential premises and government agencies. Since October 2013, when the microgrid became operational, these participants have been enjoying a cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity supply, according to the EMA.

The current daily peak load demand is estimated to be within the range of 50-100kW. Participants pay S$0.80/kWh (US$0.64/kWh) for electricity, which is lower than they paid when they used their own diesel generators.

The microgrid was built and is owned and operated by a local consortium comprising Daily Life Renewable Energy Pte Ltd and OKH Holdings Pte Ltd.

Remote microgrids such as at Pulau Ubin are expected to be the major market for microgrids in the Asia-Pacific region, with its electrification needs. [Engerati-Investment in Microgrids In Asia-Pacific To Near US$31 Billion By 2023]