Wednesday, 13 February 2019 11:21

Redflow batteries power up remote Thai village

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Thailand's energy minister Dr Siri Jirapongphan on a visit to Ban Pha Dan village Thailand's energy minister Dr Siri Jirapongphan on a visit to Ban Pha Dan village

Australian battery storage company Redflow has announced that its partner in Thailand, TSUS Group, has successfully deployed 10 Redflow ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries to store and supply energy for a remote village in northern Thailand.

The Ban Pha Dan village has long lacked access to electricity because it is surrounded by a wildlife reserve where power poles are forbidden.

Redflow managing director and chief executive Tim Harris said the success of the Ban Pha Dan system demonstrated the benefits of solar-powered microgrids with energy storage for remote communities in many Redflow target markets, including the Asia-Pacific region, southern Africa and even remote mining communities in Australia.

The Ban Pha Dan project was backed by the Thai Government, with the village now using solar cells to harvest energy and a high-performance hybrid battery system, including ZBM2s, to store energy for a village microgrid that is separated from the national electricity distribution network.

The microgrid project was initiated by Thailand’s Energy Ministry and the Renewable Energy for Sustainable Association with financial support from the Energy Conservation Promotion Fund.

Harris said the Ban Pha Dan deployment provided a compelling model for remote communities in both developing and developed countries.

“This solar-powered microgrid with energy storage shows how to provide environmentally-friendly energy for remote communities," he said.

“Without the cost and pollution of diesel generators, this system gives local people access to energy for lighting, refrigeration and water pumps, which significantly improves their quality of life.”

Thailand’s Energy Minister Dr Siri Jirapongphan visited Ban Pha Dan to inspect the new microgrid and energy storage system in mid-January. Later that month, the Thailand National Energy Policy Council, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, approved Thailand’s Power Development Plan, which prioritises the development of renewable energy sources for the period 2018-2037. Dr Jirapongphan said that non-fossil energy would account for 35% of total capacity by 2037.

TSUS Group installed the ZBM2 batteries to store solar-generated energy that power the community school, town hall and temple while the lithium batteries supply energy for individual houses, each of which Redflow says uses less than one-fortieth of the daily power consumed in an average Australian house. The locally-produced energy also enables villagers to power water-supply systems for drinking and agriculture.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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