Pattaya the first to receive the smart electricity grid
The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) recently announced plans to spend around one billion baht rolling out what will be Thailand’s first smart grid electricity project, with Pattaya chosen as the first city to benefit from this new technology. The roll out is planned to be in place by 2018 with testing and feedback to continue for a further two to three years before the smart grid is expanded into the rest of the country.
The smart grid will take advantage of the amazing reach of the internet and the devices connected to it as a way of improving energy efficiency. The rapid growth of information and communication technology (ICT), especially the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), will be used to streamline the management of energy in Pattaya and, eventually, across Thailand, in the areas of power generation, transmission and distribution.
In simple terms, a smart grid is a network that makes use of ICT across the management, production and distribution of electricity, aiming to make sure power resources are used in the most efficient and beneficial way, leading to greater sustainability and reliability.
The PEA said it chose Pattaya because the city is a major tourist destination with high levels of power consumption. The one billion baht earmarked for the project will cover the replacement of smart meters to the 120,000 homes across the city as well as the construction of a data centre which will process all forms of communication, particularly big data.
The data centre will allow the PEA to understand consumer behaviour with regard to electricity usage with the smart meters being able to access and record information about consumers’ energy consumption in almost real time, sending this information back to the PEA’s data centre.
For consumers, the smart meters will allow them to adopt energy-efficient measures which will help reduce power bills, and they will be able to access reports via the PEA’s web portal and mobile app.
Naturally, the PEA will be able to use the data it gathers to produce forecasts of energy demand, as well as finding areas where savings can be achieved. All in all, it will lead to a far more efficient use of electricity across the nation.
The PEA said it is currently in the process of drafting the terms of reference to select an eventual smart meter supplier. This is expected to be completed by August 2016.
As long as the Pattaya project proves successful, the next two places slated for a smart grid are Phuket and Chiang Mai.