Plant designed with input from residents
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) is trying to develop a plan for a coal-fired power plant in Krabi that allows representatives of the local community to join in the designing and studying phases.
Egat has held discussions with sectors such as tourism, fishing and hotels in a bid to seek local acceptance for the project’s capacity, design, production process and transport of coal, says Soonchai Kumnoonsate, the deputy governor for power plant development.
Egat also plans to use clean coal technology in the development.
Environmental and health impact assessments will start next month and take two years to complete.
“This will be Thailand’s first power plant developed and designed jointly with local people,” said Mr Soonchai.
Egat currently operates an oil-fired power plant in the province that is due to be retired in the next few years.
It controls half the production of 30,000 megawatts while private power producers (PPPs) make up 46% and imports from Laos 4%.
Under the newly revised power development plan (PDP) for 2010-30, Egat will develop eight coal-fired power generators of 800 MW each.
This operation is expected after 2019.
Egat has been attempting to diversify fuels for power production into imported coal and energy purchased from Laos to reduce reliance on natural gas.
Natural gas accounts for 72% of all fuel used for power generation in Thailand, followed by coal (20%), domestic hydropower (5%) and imported power from Laos (2%).
Domestic natural gas production is expected to peak in 2015 and then decline if no new fields are discovered.
The revised PDP calls for natural gas to make up less than half the country’s energy resources.
Under the revised plan, renewable energy will contribute 25%, up from 5% now; nuclear power 5% from zero; and imported energy and coal 20%.
Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon previously said the government plans to allow PPPs to have a greater share of the country’s production to improve efficiency and lower state costs.
PPPs may be allowed to account for 60-70% of total electricity generation by 2016, surpassing Egat’s proportion.