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SUMMARY

Off-grid Thai power plants accounted for 12% of national electricity generation as of 2016. [Image: INNIO]

By Callum Cyrus

Gas and low-carbon fuel supplier INNIO is joining forces with Thai electricity producer B.Grimm Power under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at delivering off-grid power from LNG, gas and hydrogen over the next two years.

INNIO said August 4 the MoU would focus on joint Thai opportunities in the LNG and natural gas sectors, with "the possibility of" starting an investment in decentralised power projects. The Austria-headquartered group offers two gas-fuelled turbines for generating electricity, the Jenbacher and Waukesha, with outputs ranging from 200 kW to 10 MW. B.Grimm's subsidiary will use gas-fired Jenbacher turbines if the deal goes ahead.

B.Grimm Power is a subsidiary of the Thai conglomerate B.Grimm. The division currently dispatches above 2,800 MW of power to Thai customers, which it says supports growth and quality of life for Thai citizens.

According to the International Energy Agency, natural gas contributed roughly 1.6mn Tj to Thailand's overall energy supply in 2019. Thailand did not have a net zero GHG target until May 2022, when the government set a 2065 deadline for this objective. With the country looking toward these commitments, Thailand is seeking to deliver more low-carbon fuel resources, including hydrogen, renewable solar and wind power stations.

There is more to it than that, though. Around 12% of Thailand's electricity generation as of 2016 came from off-grid, decentralised power stations - defined in this case as facilities that only use the national grid as a backup. Of these, just 7% of capacity was generated from natural gas, versus 30% for solar power and 40% for biomass. More gas decentralised plants could make electricity access in rural Thailand more dependable, covering solar facilities when for whatever reason the tropical Thai climate is not playing ball.

In addition to LNG and piped gas, INNIO's power plants would support electricity output from hydrogen fuels. Using a combination of gas and hydrogen seems a potent option to provide baseload supply, as Thailand looks to use more of its considerable solar potential, targeting 6,000 MW of installed solar capacity by 2034, and contributions from windfarms. B.Grimm's portfolio currently lists three solar farm projects, a single wind project and a waste-to-energy project, with the latter managed by its Progress Interchem subsidiary. 

Harald Link, B.Grimm's board chairman, explained: "As Thailand’s electrical energy demand continues to grow, it will require power generation technologies that run not only on natural gas, but also on future fuels such as hydrogen.

"[They must also] deliver sustainable grid support as well for the higher share of fluctuating renewable power like sun and wind in our portfolio."