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Thailand 4.0: The Smart Grid Project

Thailand 4.0: The Smart Grid Project

Thailand
4.0 is an initiative put in place by the Thai government, with the aim to drive
Thailand into a “smart”, high income nation. Smart City is part of the Thai
government’s 4.0 initiative to change big cities like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon
Kaen and Bangkok into technology hubs. In 2017, The Thai government announced
that it aims to develop 100 smart cities within two decades. The government has
established the National Smart City Committee and invited various agencies and
experts to join including the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA).
DEPA is the primary agency in charge of initiating the project under the
government’s digital economy roadmap, providing high-speed internet
infrastructure and free WiFi for smart city development.

Smart city
domains include Smart Economy, Smart Mobility, Smart Energy and Environment,
Smart Governance, Smart People and Smart Living. One of the biggest challenges
faced by the National Smart City Committee is reinventing Thailand as a nation
with Smart Energy. In order to do this, the Smart
Grid project
was set up in conjunction with the Energy Policy and
Planning Office (EPPO).

Thailand's National Energy Policy Council
approved a national smart grid plan which aims to enhance the reliability of
the country’s grid. Under the approved smart grid plan, state-owned utilities
will spend up to Bt200 billion (8.2 billion SGD) in implementing smart grid
projects through to 2036.

Multiple utility firms are set to trial
smart grid technologies under the approved plan. The
key driver of implementing a smart grid in Thailand is for low carbon and green
growth economy while ensuring that country’s development is socially,
economically and environmentally sustainable. As energy is the fundamental part
of everyday lives and in order to realize the green development, a smart grid
is considered as a platform driven by technological advancement and regional
proficiency
in terms of resources.

Although Thailand cannot replicate individual
vision perceived by any country and vice versa, the shared objective is to
mitigate climate change while ensuring sustainable development through the
minimization of greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore essential to have an
approach which will leverage technical, commercial and regulatory framework
towards shared objectives.

Another reason why smart grid is being
implemented systematically at the national policy level is to ensure that it is secure.
Provided that the utilities build a foundation for the Smart grid through a careful overhaul of their IT,
communication, and power system infrastructure, this will then enable informed participation by
customers, accommodate all generation and storage options, enable new job creation, new products,
service and markets, provide the power quality, allow all for dynamic
optimization of grid operation and resources and operate resiliently to
disturbances and attack from natural disasters.