Editor’s Note: The following is reprinted with permission from Navigant Research. For more information on the report, click here
Asia Pacific consists of many divergent aspects, including diverse demographic factors, different economic and social infrastructure levels, and different levels of power grid development. As a result, the requirements for microgrids differ greatly among Asia Pacific nations. Demand for microgrids also varies on a market-by-market basis in Asia Pacific, and each nation is at a different level of resource development. As renewable energy capacity and electricity consumption continue to rise, the number of microgrid projects deployed in Asia Pacific, both for electrification purposes and as experimental test beds, is also rising. Developed nations within the Asia Pacific region are currently waiting for operational data from pilot projects and commercial installations that should reveal trends in financing models, business models, and technology preferences. However, it might take a few years to gather and analyze data from the projects.
The proper management of existing power grids and the maintenance of more efficient balance between load and generation on the grid are challenging issues for developed nations with mature economies active in the microgrid space. Developed nations located within the Asia Pacific region are actively pursuing community-based and commercial/industrial microgrid developments. Some demonstration projects focused on integrating renewable resources are being tested and developed with the goal to deliver multiple applications to the end user. Specifically, Japan and South Korea aim to export microgrid business models and systems and then capture a larger share of global supply chain opportunities in global markets.
By contrast, developing nations in the region face more urgent issues related to power supply. Low electrification, an underdeveloped power grid infrastructure, and a lack of capital to underwrite new technologies to advance power grid services are key challenges that developing Asia Pacific nations face. In a region where simply providing sufficient electricity is challenging, governments and utilities are struggling to establish efficient ways to supply power to rural villages and remote islands.
Microgrids are critical to advancing greater reliance on various forms of distributed generation , advanced energy storage, and demand response . Yet, the introduction of microgrids is not a simple issue. Microgrids require the coordinated operation of the power storage system and renewable distributed energy generation and maintenance of power grid supply and demand imbalances, as well as robust RDEG controls and enabling technologies.
From a macro view, however, all of the parties making policy in the Asia Pacific region agree that microgrids should be the ultimate goal for providing electricity and achieving greater energy efficiency. The individual governments and market stakeholders in Asia Pacific aim to solve their current shortage of reliable energy by launching various initiatives, policies, support programs, and test trials. The focus areas of these microgrid initiatives are related to increasing power capacity at the test sites and then allowing industry (including utilities) to take the next steps forward.
A new report from Navigant offers a regional perspective on microgrid development in Asia Pacific, providing forecasts for grid-tied and remote microgrids in nine select nations: Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Navigant forecasts that each nation will show steady growth in both grid-tied and remote microgrids. Some countries in the region, including Australia, China, Japan, and South Korea, are pushing both grid-tied and remote microgrids as ways to achieve greater energy access and thus generate new forms of economic development.
Overall, the most attractive microgrid market in the Asia Pacific region is remote microgrids, which operate autonomously or have yet to be connected to a larger grid. In the developing Asia Pacific nations, these remote power systems have traditionally burned diesel fuel as their primary source of electricity, but declining costs for renewables are increasing the business prospects for remote microgrids.
The market leaders for remote microgrids in Asia Pacific are India, Indonesia, and the Philippines because electrification enhancement is the top priority in these nations. Australia is another top proponent of remote microgrids due to its unique need for power supplies to off-grid or isolated mining sites. Navigant forecasts that annual grid-tied and remote microgrid capacity in the nine select countries will grow from 37.0 MW in 2013 to 597.3 MW by 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.1%.