Egat adds B30bn to five-year investment budget

Construction News Laos

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has added 30 billion baht to its five-year investment plan for a total of 70 billion.

The move is a bid to prevent the country’s power reserves from falling below the critical level of 10% by 2014.

Sutat Patmasiriwat, Egat’s governor, said 20 billion baht will be spent to build a new 800-megawatt gas-fired unit at the North Bangkok power plant and another 10 billion to increase the capacity of its power transmission network.

The two projects add to Egat’s planned spending of 40 billion baht through 2014 for a second unit at the Chana plant in Songkhla and a fourth unit at the Wang Noi plant in Ayutthaya, each with a capacity of 740 MW.

Upgrading power transmission lines will serve Egat’s plan to boost the amount of electricity purchased from small power producer (SPPs) by another 1,500 MW above the original target of 2,000 MW.

More than 4,000 MW from SPP projects joined Egat’s new round of SPP bidding earlier this year, and results will be known early next year.

The budget increase comes after the National Energy Policy Committee last Thursday asked Egat to speed up plant construction and enlarge planned power purchases from SPPs.

The plan adjustment is being forced by a two-year delay on the part of two independent power producers and power consumption growth of 10% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2010 against Egat’s original estimate of 4.5%.

“If we don’t do anything, power reserve will fall to 9% in 2014 compared with a normal level of 15%,” said Mr Sutat.

He said under the revised plan, reserves will remain at 15% in 2014 and rise to 21-22% the following year.

“However, the risk of inadequate reserves haunts us now, and we need those SPP projects to meet the operational schedule without delay,” he said.

A high dependence on gas-based power plants in Thailand and hydroelectric power plants in Laos have created risks of supply disruptions if operations in Laos are temporarily suspended, which has occurred in the past, he said.

To diversify its electricity sources, Mr Sutat said Egat is willing to consider co-investing with private developers to build a power plant in Dawei, Burma.

Italian-Thai Development (ITD) won a contract for a US$58 billion project on Burma‘s eastern coast including $8 billion for key infrastructure in the first phase of development.

ITD has already submitted details to the Energy Ministry of the 1,800-MW first phase project for the coal-fired plant in Dawei.


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