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          Minister of Energy led by EGAT Governor visited 4 renewable power plants: solar, wind, waste, and biomass. During the visit, pros and cons of current technology were presented for alternative energy development plan in the future.

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          On April 7-8, 2016 General Anantaporn Kanjanarat, Minister of Energy, Mr. Soonchai Kumnoonsate, EGAT Governor, and executives from Ministry of Energy went to Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Lop Buri provinces to visit 4 renewable energy power plants namely a 30 MW solar power plant operated by Bangchak Petroleum PLC in Bang Pahan District, Ayutthaya Province, a 55 MW waste-to-energy power plant by TPI Polene Public Company Limited in Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi Province, a 90 MW wind turbine project by KPN Energy Holding Co Ltd in Dan Khun Thot District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, and a 8 MW biomass power plant (teak wood chips) in Phatthana Nikhom District, Lop Buri Province.

          The Minister of Energy said that the government supported alternative energy development and required its proper share in Thailand energy mix. The aim of the site visit was to assess the operation of the renewable power plants. According to Alternative Energy Development Plan 2015, within 20 years the share of renewable energy would increase to 30% of the total power consumption. Presently, investors were more interested in the renewable power because of its rapid growth.

          The Minister gave the guidance to operators on efficient power supply to transmission system and price management for the fairness of all since the cost of power generated from renewable energy was still high. Moreover, he asked the cooperation from the operators to be concerned on overall power system security and develop renewable energy technology in order that it would be more dependable. When the renewable energy could not replace fossil fuel like coal, natural gas, and oil, a larger share of fossil fuel was still needed especially to handle the unstable capacity of renewable energy in the system

          During the visit, the Minister was especially interested in potential and technology of renewable energy as the information to set a policy for developing renewable energy in the future.

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          EGAT Governor said that EGAT always supported renewable energy, but people needed to understand that fossil fuel was still critical. The renewable power plant with the high capacity did not mean that it had the full potential to generate power. Electricity generation from renewable energy was influenced by natural condition that was uncontrollable. Besides, to support the growth of renewable energy, there was a necessity to consider its cost that was still high and had an impact on the electricity price. The precise forecast of sunlight and wind availability could help EGAT get conventional power plants prepared when electricity generation from renewable energy was impossible.