Thailand’s Egat to import more electricity from Laos

Construction News
The headquarters of Egat on Charan Sanitwong Road in Nonthaburi.

Thailand’s Egat to import more electricity from Laos

Additional 1,200MW under long-term deal

State-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) plans to import an additional 1,200 megawatts of electricity from hydroelectric power plants in Laos under a long-term purchase contract.

Egat earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) to buy a total of 9,000MW.

Egat’s current power supply stands at 10,200MW, said Jiraporn Sirikum, deputy governor of Egat.

Eight power plants in Laos with a combined power generation capacity of 5,420MW are committed to exporting electricity to Egat.

Seven of them — with a capacity of 3,947MW — are hydroelectric power plants, while the other is a 1,473MW coal-fired power plant.

Laos is also building Nam Theun 1 hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 514MW. It is scheduled to start operating next year.

The 2018 national power development plan (first revision) states broadly that Thailand needs to import electricity from neighbouring countries, without specifying the countries or power generation projects.

Permanent energy secretary Kulit Sombatsiri said Thailand plans to import hydropower from Myanmar, but the neighbouring country’s severe political conflict has delayed the plan.

The import of more power from “clean” resources is in line with the government plan to decrease its dependence on electricity generated by fossil fuels.

An energy source who requested anonymity said MEM has held talks with Egat on its proposal to build 10 new hydroelectric power plants across Laos.

The source said the Lao government and Egat may consider some projects they consider the most suitable and plan for the upgrading of Egat’s transmission system.

Developing a hydroelectric power plant requires more than six years to complete, so the government needs to carefully plan for new development projects to avoid an oversupply of electricity, said Ms Jiraporn.

Power demand should continue to grow, which means there should not be an excess of power supply in the long term, she said.