A villager holds up a flag in protest at plans to build a new coal-fired power plant in Krabi. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A new power plant is needed in Krabi to ensure a continued, adequate electricity supply for people on the Andaman coast because demand is rising 4.5% or more each year, according to the Electricity Authority of Thailand (Egat).
Worapot Inthong, Egat’s director of southern operations, said provinces in the South consume around 2,500 megawatts of electricity a year, with maximum production capacity for the region at 2,889 MW.
However, the Andaman side – Phuket, Phangnga and Krabi – gets supply only from the Krabi plant, with a capacity of just 315 MW a year.
A new power plant was essential to increase output and ensure electricity security for the Andaman coast.
A feasibility study had been done for construction of a new 800-MW power plant in Krabi, to be fuelled with coal, but three rounds of public hearings failed to convince the public to agree with the project, he said.
Mr Worapot said the government was worried about the Andaman coast. Tourism was growing rapidly in the area, with an associated demand for electricity growing by 4.5% on average each year, except in Phuket where demand was spiking at 7.7% a year.
“If you look at the overal benefit to the Andaman coast, a new power plant is needed as the demand rises 5-7% a year. If you look forward to the next three years, with the growing tourism industry, expanding power generation capability for this area is important,” he said.
For Phuket, new power transmission lines to be complete in 2019 would feed additional electricity to the resort island from Bang Saphan in Prachuap Khiri Khan, first to Surat Thani and then to Phuket.
Mr Worapot said Phuket no longer has a high tourist season and a low season, only a year-round high season, so residents must be aware of the need to save energy to ensure all have a sufficient power supply.