Egat Governor Sutas Patamasiriwat said the existing three plants in the South were only able to supply 1,600 megawatts of power, while the region consumes about 2,200MW.
Hence, he said, Egat had no choice but to go ahead with the coal-fired plant in Krabi and plan for more.
On Tuesday night, 14 provinces in the South were plunged in darkness for up to four hours.
Sutas said the blackout was an accident and had not been staged to justify the Krabi project.
The three existing plants – Khanom power plant in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chana power plant in Songkhla and a hydro-power plant in Surat Thani – are only able to generate 1,600MW. The remaining 600MW needed for the region is supplied by the central power system.
The governor explained that the consumption of electricity in the South – where several tourist destinations are located – had been rising at the rate of 6 per cent a year.
In addition to the coal-fired plant in Krabi, Egat is also building the Chana 2 plant in Songkhla, which should be ready to supply 800MW by 2014.
He said the Khanom plant, which is capable of generating 824MW, will be decommissioned in 2016 and that the concessionaire Egco Group has been tasked with building a replacement that is capable of generating 900MW.
The Krabi plant, which is currently the subject of public hearings, will produce 800MW and be ready to supply electricity in 2019.
He added that despite the protests, Egat had no choice but to opt for this coal-powered project because the only other alternative would be nuclear power.
Sutas went on to explain that there was only enough natural gas to feed the Khanom and Chana power plants and that it would not be financially feasible to build wind, solar or bio-mass gas-powered plants. He added that Malaysia could only supply 300MW of power and it cost as much as building a diesel-fuelled power plant would.
“Egat has no choice but to go ahead with the Krabi plant as scheduled,” Sutas reiterated.
Tanit Sorat, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the blackout caused damages worth more than Bt10 billion.
Pongsak Assakul, senior chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the outages affected the confidence of foreign investors because tourism is the key industry in the South.