Egat begins public hearings for Mae Moh coal plant units in Lampang, Thailand

Construction News
The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand plans to repower two existing units of the Mae Moh coal-fired power plant in Lampang.

Egat begins public hearings for Mae Moh coal plant units in Lampang, Thailand

13 July 2019

The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) will start public hearings with stakeholders and local communities on Saturday in a bid to repower two existing units of the Mae Moh coal-fired power plant in Lampang.

Egat is budgeting 37 billion baht for development cost to repower Units 8 and 9 in Mae Moh district.

Units 8 and 9 have a combined power capacity of 540 megawatts with plans to upgrade to 660MW. Egat expects the two repowered units to have higher efficiency, less fuel consumption and lower emissions.

Units 8 and 9 are running on standby mode, and two power generators under the units will be decommissioned in 2022.

TLT Consultants was appointed to conduct the public hearing in order to make the environmental and health impact assessment report. Egat plans to finish the process by the end of July.

Benjaporn Boonyapookana, TLT’s environmental specialist, said the public hearing is expected to provide information to locals involved with the project.

“We will collect their opinions on the impact of repowering power generators in a bid to resolve possible problems,” she said.

The repowering plan for the Mae Moh power plant is in line with the new version of the national power development plan (2018-37) to maintain power security in the northern and upper-central regions.

Patana Sangsriroujana, Egat’s deputy governor for policy and planning, said the repowering plan budget has increased from 35 billion baht in previous estimations to 37 billion baht.

Mae Moh is Thailand’s first coal-fired power plant and has been operated by Egat since 1975.

Lignite coal from the Mae Moh basin serves the power plant.

Egat runs 10 units in the same location, producing 2,400 megawatts from Units 4 to 13. Units 1 to 3 were decommissioned during 1999-2000.

The Mae Moh plant can supply 50% of electricity to the North, 30% to the central region and 20% to the Northeast.

“The power generators at Units 8 and 9 are nearly 30 years old, and this coal-fired power plant is one of the country’s major sources of power,” Mr Patana said.

But Egat’s power generator units in Mae Moh are ageing, he said, and Egat is proceeding with the repowering plan for Units 4 to 7 by completing construction for the power generator replacements.

Egat will start a test-run period soon before commencing commercial operations in the second half of 2019.

The replacement of Units 4 to 7 and the repowering project were approved by the government on Aug 19, 2014. The four units had combined capacity of 560MW.

The cabinet on Feb 26 approved expansion of the total power capacity to 655MW.

Mr Patana said the replacement and repowering project will use lignite coal for power generation with ultra-supercritical technology, which is the most modern and requires 20% less fuel for power generation.

This result is seen in lower CO2 emissions compared with the former subcritical technology.

“Egat wants to ensure that emissions released during the power generation process are better than the standard criteria and not a source of PM2.5 particles,” Mr Patana said. “The PM2.5 level in Mae Moh district is lower than in nearby provinces.”

He said the Mae Moh power plant will be developed in the future as a smart city with efficient power management.