The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has announced expenditures of nearly 300 billion baht over the next six years.
Governor Soonchai Kumnoonsate said under the 2015-20 business plan, that amount would be used mainly for upgrading high-voltage transmission lines nationwide and building new coal-fired power plants to secure the electricity supply.
Beginning in the Northeast, Egat plans to upgrade ageing transmission lines and extend the transmission network to link with renewable energy produced from agricultural waste from plantation plants.
“Apart from transmission lines deteriorating due to age, electrical substations in the Northeast have been used for a long time. They must be fixed and upgraded,” said Mr Soonchai.
In the South, Egat plans to double capacity of electricity transmission to 1 billion kilovolts. Doubling the capacity of lines from central to southern provinces is crucial, as the South has a critical need for electricity to accommodate growth in demand at a time of no new capacity in that region.
“Last year’s four-hour blackout in 14 southern provinces should not be allowed to happen again. The damage caused was extensive,” said Mr Soonchai.
A controversial 800-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Krabi is expected to start construction next year for operation in 2020.
“We’re waiting for environmental and health impact assessment approval by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry for that,” Mr Soonchai said, adding that Egat had no choice but to build more coal-fired power plants to secure the power supply.
“We plan to boost electricity supply from coal to 30% of total capacity output within a decade from 19% now.”
A feasibility study will be conducted for a new coal-fired plant of 1,000 MW in Songkhla’s Thepha district.
In the North, Egat plans to install new power generators at the retired Mae Moh coal-fired power plant in Lampang province.