Thai Wind Investments Come to Fruition


Modern Energy Management (MEM) worked with Gunkul Engineering, a leading Thai renewable electricity producer, to bring three wind projects to financial close. The three wind farms would contribute 170 MW to the grid — nearly doubling Thailand’s total wind-energy capacity.

MEM, a specialist in delivering project lifecycle certainty to renewable energy developers, financiers, and investors, served as the owner’s representative on the 60-MW Wayu, 60-MW Greenovation, and 50-MW Korat Wind projects. The firm is now acting as owner’s engineer for construction on the Wayu project and will fill the same role on the Korat Wind project.

Over the next two decades, Thailand’s energy consumption will increase by 75 percent. At the same time, however, much of its current energy infrastructure is to be decommissioned, while its natural gas reserves are expected to run out by 2021.

Faced with these energy supply-and-demand challenges, Thailand is aiming to secure 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2036. As part of these efforts, the country has dramatically increased its wind-power capacity over the past five years — from 5.6 MW in 2010 to 234.5 MW in 2015.

However, in order to realize its goals, Thailand must make the most of its available wind resources and take advantage of the latest technology.

Since all three projects are in medium- to low-wind-speed areas, the wind farms use innovative new IEC Wind Class 3 turbines, which are specially designed to maximize efficiency and output in limited wind regimes. By combining a larger rotor with the ability to select from a range of taller tower heights, these low wind turbines boost performance and will ensure that each project is optimized to maximize generation.

MEM’s work on each of these projects demonstrates the advantages of enlisting an independent partner with experience and expertise in new and emerging markets to deliver investment-grade projects, instill investor confidence, and bring projects to financial close.

As part of its work on the three projects, MEM offered contract advisory services, served on project tenders, and provided project management services related to the financial close process. The Wayu project is expected to be complete by the end of 2016, while the Greenovation and Korat Wind projects are set to be commissioned by the end of 2017 and 2018, respectively.

“These projects illustrate how cutting-edge technology continues to be embraced in Thailand and the wider Asian market,” said James Munro, project manager at Modern Energy Management. “Incorporating the latest low wind turbines ensures that these wind farms will be able to maximize energy generation even in low wind conditions. In turn, they will deliver long-term, steady returns to project investors.”

“Our success in completing the financing of these flagship projects shows that Thai wind is truly an investment-grade prospect,” said Janpon Ngamaroonchote, vice president of Strategic Planning and Investment at Gunkul Engineering. “Modern Energy Management’s understanding of the market in Thailand, along with its international experience helping to secure financing for early utility-scale developments has been a significant asset — and we look forward to continuing our work with the team throughout construction.”

Since 2013, MEM’s team has delivered specialist work in more than 20 countries and has been involved in Thai wind since the development of the first utility-scale wind projects. The firm helps to unlock significant financial and operational performance in emerging markets, and has a growing presence across Asia and Africa. 

Source: Modern Energy Management

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