Smart Grid Challenges in Macau – A contribution to NGI-102x

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The below is a peer review homework as part of the online course NGI-102x Next Generation Infrastructures by Delft University.

This article describes the problems and challenges of the electricity grid of Macau. In Macau the only electricity supplier and distributor is Companhia de Electricidade de Macau (CEM). They have 220 thousand customers (on a population of roughly 560 thousand inhabitants), a peak power demand of 765.6 MW and a gross electricity consumption of 4409 GWh. As of 2009 the electricity grid is connected to the main grid in mainland China (both 220kV and 110kV) which is supplying more than 50% of the electricity to the SAR Macau. In Macau itself CEM operates an installed generation capacity of 472 MW which contributed 222GWh in 2013. The remaining 4187 GWh came from mainland China. Energy generation in Macau is based on diesel-fuel and gas. No private producers and no renewable energy generation is established. Macau as a country is increasing its land size by land reclamation and as such in the long run also its energy needs. As of 2009 the key performance indicators stood as:

  • SAIDI (average outage duration for each customer served) – 3.7 minutes
  • CAIDI (average outage duration that any given customer would experience) – 15.8 minutes

Hence the current challenges of the grid are:

  • Dependency on external suppliers (i.e. mainland China) over which there are no regulatory or governmental controls.
  • Reliability to be kept the same or improved despite the growth of the network
  • Casino constructions and their expected pressure on the peak load while maintaining supply during peak load / distribution of load
  • Environmental pressure due to energy generation emissions
  • Pressure on current tariff system due to consumers

From my point of view a true smart grid cannot be established within Macau alone as most of the energy generation is happening externally in the Pearl-River-Delta region of mainland China. However there are significant benefits for CEM and Macau if a Macau-internal smart grid can be established:

  • By installation of smart meters of type F5 or higher, flexible tariffs can be implemented while giving the consumers the opportunity to monitor their consumption and usage. This can help
  • Private energy generation for large-scale casinos can be introduced that, given their high energy consumption could help to reduce the peak load.
  • With the incorporation of Hengqin island into the SAR Macau and its hills the opportunity for renewable energy generation is given (wind power)

The above benefits justify in my opinion the implementation of a smart grid in Macau.

References:

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