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Engineering & Construction

Mongolia's first solar-plus-storage project won by Japan-led bid

Plant engineer JGC teams with local builder on plant to power city of 20,000

Big sky country: Mongolia's plans for more renewable energy capacity will move forward with a new storage-equipped solar plant.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese plant engineer JGC Holdings will oversee the design and construction of Mongolia's first solar power plant with storage capabilities as the country steps up adoption of renewable energy, Nikkei has learned.

Mongolia's energy ministry awarded the order for a 5 megawatt solar farm with 3.6 megawatt-hours of storage capacity to JGC, Japan's NGK Insulators and local general contractor MCS International. The value of the contract, which also includes an energy management system, has not been disclosed.

The order is JGC's first involving storage batteries. The company -- one of Japan's leading builders of oil refineries and petrochemical plants -- expects such power storage projects, not just in renewables, to increase amid the global trend toward decarbonization, according to a spokesperson.

Construction of the solar plant will begin next month in the city of Uliastai -- 1,100 km west of the capital, Ulaanbaatar -- with operations slated to begin in the spring of next year. The generated power is expected to meet nearly all electricity needs of Uliastai's population of about 20,000.

NGK will produce storage batteries capable of withstanding the harsh conditions in Mongolia, where winter temperatures fall to minus 40 C. MCS International will handle construction and operation of the facility once completed.

The global market for storage batteries used by electric utilities and the renewable power sector in 2035 will nearly triple to 1.23 trillion yen ($11.3 billion) from 2019, research firm Fuji Keizai forecasts.

The Mongolian project qualifies for a carbon credit framework under which assistance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries is counted toward Japan's tally. It is expected to translate to a 6,423 ton reduction in Japan's annual carbon dioxide emissions.

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