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Krabi coal plant has to go ahead for EGAT in Southern Thailand

Krabi coal plant has to go ahead for EGAT in Southern Thailand

More power plants are needed in the South to prevent blackouts like the one that Thailand has experienced this week, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand reveal to the population.

Egat Governor Sutat Patmasiriwat said the existing three main plants in the South were only able to supply 1,600 megawatts of power, while the region consumes about 2,500MW per day.

Hence, he said, Egat had no choice but to go ahead with the coal-fired plant in Krabi and plan for more. The plant is facing huge opposition because of the proposed use of coal and impact to neighbouring settlements, but the region has to consider the alternative of continous blackouts.

On Tuesday night, 14 provinces in the South were plunged in darkness for up to four hours.

Sutat said the blackout was an accident and had not been staged to justify the Krabi project.

The three main 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 and the remainder 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 480MW, 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. It is a valid point and we are certain that there would be significantly more opposition if firms plans for Nuclear were unveiled.

Sutat 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 powered plants in the scale required. 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,” Sutat 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.

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