Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) was established on May 1, 1969 by the promulgation of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand Act B.E. 2511 which merged assets and operations of the 3 previous state enterprises, namely Yanhee Electricity Authority (YEA), Lignite Authority (LA), and the North-East Electricity Authority (NEEA). Kasem Chatikavanij was the first EGAT Governor. EGAT is committed to generate, transmit, and sell electric energy to Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) and Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) that further distribute and retail electricity to customers.
New Era of Thailand's Power System Development
When EGAT was established, the country’s electricity demand increased 29 percent annually; therefore, EGAT has been committed to developing Thai electricity supply system as follows:
- In 1969, EGAT constructed a big thermal generating unit with the installed capacity of 200 MW at South Bangkok Power Plant, Samut Prakan Province, and later constructed 4 more generating units.
- In 1970, EGAT installed two 15 MW-gas turbine generators at North Bangkok Power Plant, Nonthaburi Province, and the other two at South Bangkok.
- The transmission line from the centre to the northeast of Thailand, or the Ang Thong-Saraburi-Pak Chong-Nakhon Ratchasima line, was installed. Moreover, there was an installation of the transmission line from Nong Khai Province to Vientiane, Laos. EGAT started transmitting electricity to Laos in 1971 in order to construct Nam Ngum Dam that in turn has generated and sold electricity back to Thailand until today.
- EGAT completed the construction of Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani in 1971 and Chulabhorn Dam in 1972.
- EGAT constructed a gas turbine power plant in Songkhla in 1971 and a thermal power plant in Surat Thani in 1973, and in the same year a diesel generating unit was moved to Nakhon Si Thammarat, while the transmission system was expanded.
- In 1974, EGAT completed the construction of Sirikit Dam in Uttaradit, installed a hydro generating unit at Kang Krachan Dam in Phetchaburi, and moved gas turbine and diesel generating units from the centre to the north and the south of Thailand in order to increase the generating capacity.
Successive Operation of New Power Sources
EGAT has continuously advanced the power system such as installing more generating units at Mae Moh Power Plant in Lampang and constructing hydro power plants at Srinagarind Dam in Kanchanaburi and at Bang Lang Dam in Yala. When there was the development of natural gas in the gulf of Thailand, the natural gas has been used to generate electricity at Bang Pakong Power Plant in Chachoengsao, while generators at South Bangkok Power Plant were adapted to produce electricity by using natural gas. The development of new energy sources resulted from the growth of electricity demand; there was the construction of Tha Thung Na Dam in Kanchanaburi, Huai Kum Dam in Chaiyaphum, and Khao Laem Dam in Kanchanaburi, and the installation of 4 gas turbine generators at South Bangkok Power Plant in Samut Prakan. When oil and natural gas resources were found at Lan Krabue District, Kamphaeng Phet Province, EGAT moved gas turbine generating units to be installed near fuel sources. Moreover, when natural gas was found at Nam Phong District, Khon Kaen Province, Nam Phong Combined Cycle Power Plant was constructed.
The effort to secure the power system has also been shown by the construction of Mae Ngat Dam Hydro Power Plant in Chiang Mai and Rajjaprabha Dam in Surat Thani, the installation of pumped storages at Srinagarind Dam in Kanchanaburi and Kiretan Dam in Chanthaburi, and the installation of more generators at Bang Pakong, Mae Moh, Khanom, and Rayong power plants.
Accelerated Power Expansion to Cope with Rapidly Rising Demand
Reliable and stable electricity system that meets the daily demand of users, commercial sector, and industrial sector in turn promotes the growth of electricity demand by 10 percent annually.
World Oil Crisis - Turning Threats into Opportunities
Between 1971 and 1982 the oil price increased 10 times from 0.40 baht per liter to 4 baht, which significantly affected electricity generating business because it consumed 70% of the country’s fuel oil demand. This crisis led to the beginning of power development plan with the aim to reduce oil consumption in generating electricity.
Fortunately, natural gas was discovered in the Gulf of Thailand. There is a record of “luminous day” in the Thai history when natural gas in the Gulf of Thailand was first used by EGAT to generate electricity by purchasing the whole natural gas from Petroleum Authority of Thailand. EGAT constructed Bang Pakong Power Plant in Chachoengsao to generate electricity with natural gas, improved the operations of South Bangkok Power Plant in Samut Prakan, and also built Rayong Power Plant. After that, more natural gas was discovered at Nam Phong District, Khon Kaen Province and Lan Krabue District, Kamphaeng Phet Province where EGAT constructed power plants.
The another way to reduce the oil consumption in producing electricity was to develop lignite at Mae Moh Mine in Lampang as lignite is a cheap fuel. EGAT added 11 more generating units to Mae Moh Power Plant, making it have 13 generators. Besides, the development of the hydropower plant has played an important role in the reduction of oil dependence. EGAT has continuously surveyed and construct more hydropower plants such as Khao Laem Dam in Kanchanaburi and Rajjaprabha Dam in Surat Thani.
Adopting Advanced Power Technologies
EGAT has been aware of its mission to provide sufficient power, so the suitable technology has been searched to be used in the country. While hydropower development is still required to reduce the oil dependence, big dam construction requires large river areas contributing to a concern on environmental friendliness. That is why EGAT has used the suitable hydropower technology like the pumped storage, without constructing more dams, at Srinagarind Dam in Kanchanaburi and Bhumibol Dam in Tak, as well as installing a run off river hydropower generator at Pak Mun Dam in Ubon Ratchathani and constructing Lam Takong Pumped Storage Hydropower Plant in Nakhon Ratchasima.
When the electricity demand in the south of Thailand significantly increased, EGAT needed to provide a power plant located on the ship for the first time in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Enhancing Security of Power Supply System
Secure and efficient electricity system is comprised of a sufficient number of power plants and transmission lines and the unity of national electricity system. That is why EGAT has installed transmission system that interlinks all high voltage transmission lines across the country with the electrical pressure of 230,000 volt and 115,000 volt, as well as installing the transmission system with the highest electrical pressure of 500,000 volt to transmit the electricity from Mae Moh Power Plant in Lampang to Bangkok with the distance of 550 kilometers in 1982. After that, many 500,000 voltage transmission lines have been installed on the main routes. Apart from interlinking the transmission lines across the country, EGAT interlinks the line to neighboring countries. For example, there is an interlinking transmission line of Nong Khai-Nakhon Phanom-Mukdahan-Laos which has later added by the Ubon Ratchathani line. There is also the transmission line interlinking with Malaysia’s in Songkhla at Sadao Substation which is later added by high voltage direct current interlinking between Khlong Ngae Substation in Songkhla and Koorun Substation in Malaysia.
Continuously increasing the electricity generating capacities by using domestic fuels leads to security of electricity generation system and low cost of electricity. Although in 1994 Thai baht was decreased in value, EGAT could freeze the electricity price.
Toward International Standard with the generating capacity of 10,000 MW
As there was the development of national electricity generating and transmitting systems mentioned earlier, the country’s electricity infrastructure is very stable. However, since 1987 the economic growth of the country has significantly expanded by 13-15 percent annually, contributing to the decrease of the country’s electricity reserve. EGAT has to construct more power plants in order to meet the public electricity demand.
EGAT has to adjust power development and investment plans by constructing the power plants taking the short period of time for completion such as gas turbine and combined cycle power plants like Rayong Power Plant, Wang Noi Power Plant in Ayutthaya, Nong Chok Power Plant in Bangkok, and Sai Noi Power Plant in Nonthaburi, as well as expanding the generating capacity of South Bangkok Power plant in Samut Prakan and improving the efficiency of many hydropower plants.
Moreover, Thailand requires a big main power plant, contributing to the construction of Ratchaburi Power Plant using the natural gas from Myanmar as the fuel. With the continuous development mentioned earlier, Thailand electricity generating business has been advanced to meet the international standard with the generating capacities of more than 10,000 MW in 1992 and able to provide a secure and modern electricity system like the developed countries.
Initiating Demand Side Management and Sustainable Development
After the development period in order to meet the increasing electricity demand when there was the significant economic growth, the recession crisis and the decrease of baht value considerably affected the whole world contributing to the decreasing electricity demand and lack of liquidity. This directly caused Thailand electricity sector to adjust power development plan by strictly applying energy saving measures in order to efficiently provide power supply to the public.
EGAT's Demand Side Management Program - An Overwhelming Success
EGAT is proud of being the initiator of the country’s power conserving project under Demand Side Management (DSM) that is successful by making 60 million Thai people aware of energy saving.
For Thai people, Thai nation, and lively earth today---and tomorrow
Private Participation in Generation Business
The government policy supports the private sector to participate in electricity generation. This enables EGAT to cooperate with the private sector investing in energy related businesses. In 1992, Electricity Generating Public Company Limited was established. It sold its shares in the stock market and purchased Rayong and Kanom power plants from EGAT, that is why they are regarded as the first private power plants in Thailand.
In 2000, Ratchburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company Limited was established, and it purchased Ratchburi Power Plant from EGAT. The private sector also plays a role in electricity generating business by being independent power producers and small power producers owning power plants. Moreover, there is a support for private power producers to use alternative energy like agriculture waste.
As the electricity supply system of the country is secure and efficient with international acceptance, and the location of the country is in the centre of ASEAN member countries, it is available for the country to be the centre to interlink transmission network in the region. This will contribute to the cooperation among ASEAN member countries to develop ASEAN electricity supply system by sharing the energy resources for generating electricity and installing interlinked transmission system that will strengthen the region to compete with other countries. The development of ASEAN transmission grid has been put in the government’s power strategies.
Renewable Energy Development - Striving for Sustainability
Nowadays the electricity generation requires oil, natural gas, and coal as the main fuel, but these kinds of fuel have the limited amount and are gradually used up. Therefore, electricity generating technology of renewable energy has continuously been focused in Thailand. EGAT has studied the possibility to use alternative energy such as wind, solar, and geothermal to generate the electricity and also researched the renewable energy in other countries to apply it in Thailand.
The long time study contributed to prototypical power plants of renewable energy such as Khlong Chong Klum Solar Power Plant in Sa Kaeo, a solar power plant and a wind power plant at Phromthep Cape in Phuket, a geothermal power plant at Fang District, Chiang Mai Province, leading to the construction of the first commercially operational solar power plant, Pha Bong Solar Power Plant, located in Mae Hong Son, with the installed capacity of 500 kw. Its construction was completed in 2004.
Thailand Electricity Supply Industry and Sustainable Development
Apart from focusing on providing sufficient electric energy to meet the national demand, EGAT is concerned on environment in every process of operations. The environment quality monitoring procedure under the environmental law has always been executed before the power plant construction starts, when the construction is under the process, and after the power plants have started their operations. Besides, EGAT has operated in compliance with international standard of environmental management such as ISO 9000, ISO 14001, and OHSAS (Occupational health and Safety management System) 18000.
Thailand electricity generating development focuses on sustainability, efficiency of supply and demand side management, and public participation, with the aim to save the energy resources and reduce the effects on environment that are accepted by the whole world as the most suitable way for the good life quality of global populations.