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Amata B Grimm Looking at Coal Plant in Malaysia

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The country’s largest small power producer (SPP), Amata B Grimm Power Group, is conducting a feasibility study on investing in a coal-fired plant in Malaysia, company president Preeyanart Soontornwata said.

She said the group became interested in supplying electricity to the South of Thailand after the blackout in 14 provinces early this year. Demand in that part of the Kingdom was growing and supply was not keeping up.

According to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, demand for electricity in the southern provinces peaks at 2,200 megawatts, exceeding the 1,600MW supplied by plants in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Krabi and Surat Thani provinces. Currently, Egat buys 200MW from Malaysia to supply the South.

“Establishing a coal-fired power plant in Thailand is difficult, unlike in Malaysia,” Preeyanart said. However, she added that even though Amata B Grimm had a good relationship with the Energy Commission of Malaysia, it was too early to know whether the plan would go through.

She said the investment required to establish a coal-fired plant would be much larger than for an SPP project, as the capacity of the coal-fuelled facility must be more than 350MW.

Amata B Grimm Power now operates five co-generation gas-powered plants with combined capacity of 613MW, one of them in Vietnam.

The Vietnam unit, which the company has operated for 10 years, currently has capacity of just 12MW. The company would like to expand that to 120MW, but decided against it for now because of unclear regulations in that country, she said.

The group is looking for opportunities in other neighbouring countries, including Laos, though Preeyanart acknowledged that Laos already had a large power-generation sector.

“We should seek opportu-nities in neighbouring countries ahead of the integrated [Asean] market in 2015, but we consider that the rising demand for electricity in Thailand is providing opportunities for SPPs as well. Demand in the next 10 years is expected to rise to 70,000MW from 27,000MW now,” she said.

The group is ready to join in the bidding for SPP projects due to begin before the end of this year even though Amata B Grimm has already secured a 21-year power-purchase contract with Egat. Under that contract, which ends in 2019, the company will operate 16 power plants with total capacity of 2,000MW.

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