Egat plans gas-fired plants if Nuke plan delayed

Construction News

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) is preparing to build two natural-gas power plants because of the possible delay of the plan to establish nuclear plants.

Egat governor Suthat Pattama-siriwat said the two natural-gas plants would be set up in the locations currently housing its plants in south Bangkok and Bang Pakong, Chachoengsao. Each of the new plants would have capacity of 800 megawatts.

He believes that two nuclear power plants with total capacity |of 2 gigawatts, which would generate power in 2020 and 2021 according to the Power Devel-opment Plan of 2010, will be put off. During that delay, the natural-gas plants would be needed to substitute for them.

He said the country still needed to develop the nuclear plan but needed time to gain understanding from communities. Concerns have increased since an earthquake and tsunami damaged a nuclear plant in Japan, shutting it down and resulting in radiation leaks.

The promotion of natural-gas plants in place of the two planned nuclear plants suggests that Thailand’s reliance on natural gas will surge to 80 per cent of fuel needs from the present 70 per cent, which might affect the price of power and energy security.

Under the Power Development Plan, the government would set up five nuclear plants with combined capacity of 5GW, which would start generating electricity in 2020, 2021, 2024, 2025 and 2028.

Seventy per cent of 413 respondents in a survey by the E- Saan Center for Business and Economic Research (ECBER), Faculty of Management Science, KhonKaen University, opposed the plan to build a nuclear power plant in Ubon Ratchathani. Respondents of the survey, conducted during March 24-27, are residents in 19 northeastern provinces.

Last year the use of natural gas to produce electrical power accounted for 71.5 per cent of total fuel, followed by coal at 18.4 per cent, electricity import at 6.3 per cent, hydropower 3.4 per cent, and 0.4 per cent from other sources.

Yesterday the Energy Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, Egat and the Japanese Embassy jointly held a news conference to announce Egat’s plan to send two diesel turbines from Nong Chok in Bangkok to generate power in Japan on a temporary basis.

This was a response to a request by Tokyo Electric Power Company to address the power shortage in Japan after this month’s earthquake and tsunami. Each turbine generator has a capacity of 122MW.


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