ADB and Mongolia inaugurate grid-connected renewable hybrid energy system in Zavkhan
“The Uliastai subproject builds the very first utility and mega-scale battery system in the country combined with grid-connected renewable energy,” said ADB Principal Energy Specialist for East Asia Shannon Cowlin.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Mongolia inaugurated a grid-connected renewable hybrid energy system in Zavkhan province. The system includes a 5 megawatt solar photovoltaic and 3.6 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system (BESS), along with an advanced energy management system in Uliastai, servicing mostly rural areas in the western region.
“Thanks to this project, more than 48,000 consumers of more than 8,000 households in Altai-Uliastai region will receive clean and reliable energy,” said the Head of Renewable Energy Division of the Ministry of Energy Byekbolat Khalik. “In addition to reduced electricity loss and improved quality of and access to electricity, the system is estimated to cut 223,813 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years.”
The hybrid system will provide about 8.8 million kilowatt-hour (kWh) solar-generated and 1.3 million kWh charged and discharged energy in the Altai-Uliastai energy system, under the ADB’s Upscaling Renewable Energy Sector Project. The project was approved in September 2018 with loan financing from ADB and grant cofinancing from the Strategic Climate Fund and the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JFJCM). The project supports 41 MW of distributed renewable energy systems through subprojects that will use a range of renewable energy technologies to supply clean electricity and heat in the less-developed region of western Mongolia. The Uliastai grid-connected solar photovoltaic and BESS hybrid system subproject is cofinanced with a $6 million grant from the JFJCM.
“The Uliastai subproject builds the very first utility and mega-scale battery system in the country combined with grid-connected renewable energy,” said ADB Principal Energy Specialist for East Asia Shannon Cowlin. “The system will provide secure power supply to the residents and reduce localized air pollution, which affects even isolated regions of Mongolia during winter months.”
Among the Uliastai subproject’s innovations is the adoption of a sodium–sulfur battery, also known as a NAS battery, which can operate for longer period than other types of BESS technologies (up to 15 years), has better fire safety, and is more robust against Mongolia’s harsh winters. The BESS is designed to supply the Altai-Uliastai energy system during its peak hours in the evening by time-shifting excess solar energy generated during the daytime, increasing the share of renewable energy in the system.
The JFJCM is an ADB trust fund that aims to provide financial incentives for the adoption of advanced low-carbon technologies in ADB-financed and administered sovereign and nonsovereign projects.