EGAT to Import Power from China
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) will buy electricity from China to ensure the country’s power security. The Thai utility authority last week signed an MoU with China Southern Power Grid Co (CSG), the state-owned power transmission and distribution company, to supply electricity from hydroelectric power plants to Thailand. The pact was signed after Thailand suffered supply disruptions of natural gas from Myanmar and the country has relied heavily on gas for power generation. The price of gas price, meanwhile, has continued to rise.
EGAT governor Sutat Patmasiriwat said the two parties will set up a committee to discuss details of the power purchase. This will include the cost and installation of transmission lines from southwestern China’s Yunnan province via Laos to Thailand. EGAT earlier negotiated potential power purchases from several suppliers in China including China Resource Power but failed to reach an agreement on prices.
EGAT insists electricity bought from China should be priced at the same rate as that supplied from Laos. Mr. Sutat said CSG has a generation capacity of 150,000 MW, five times higher than Thailand’s. This country’s power demand has grown by 4% a year and will almost triple to 70,000 MW in 2030 from 27,600 MW this year. The Energy Ministry plans to buy 10,000 MW each from Laos and Myanmar.
“Since Thailand’s policy on new power plants remains unclear, the power purchase will help tackle the issues of supply stability and electricity prices,” said Mr. Sutat. In November 1998, Thailand signed a deal to buy 3,000 MW of power from China, but progress stalled.
Meanwhile, EGAT has developed eight mini hydropower stations in Thailand with a combined capacity of 86.7 MW at dams and reservoirs owned by the Royal Irrigation Department. Two mini hydro projects with a capacity of 20 MW are running, while several are being constructed and will come on line by 2015.