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          The power demand in the Southern Thailand has grown 5-6% annually due to its economic development especially in the service and tourism sectors, while the power sources in the southern provinces are not sufficient to meet the demand. They partly rely on the power supplied from the Central Thailand via the Sothern-Central Interconnection transmission line. This shows that the southern region’s power system lacks reliability. Without the new baseload power plants in the region, the power shortage will occur which leads to the problem of Thailand power system security.

          EGAT has renovated and expanded the transmission system in the southern provinces together with implementing power plant development projects namely, Krabi Power Plant and Thepa Power Plant which will use coal as fuel. The reason that coal-fired power plant is selected is the necessity to reduce high reliance on natural gas for power generation (70% of Thailand’s generation mix), especially when the natural gas source in the Gulf of Thailand is depleting and there is gas supply cut from Myanmar and Malaysia from times to times for maintenance. The abundant reserve of coal in the world makes the world mostly relies on it for power generation at around 40%. Its price is also cheap, while clean coal technology has been developed to reduce the emission of SO2, NOx, and CO2. The coal power plant using clean coal technology can control emissions below the level that is required by the law. The coal-fired power plant as the baseload will be able to supply the power 24 hours a day for the hotels in the southern provinces that accommodate a lot of tourists.

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The first public hearing of Krabi Thermal Power Plant Project on January 28, 2018

          For Krabi Coal-Fired Power Plant Project, in 2015 EGAT once started the bidding process for power plant construction despite not having completed an environmental impact study because of the tight schedule. However, if the project would be unable to get the EHIA green light, the bids were scrapped. According to the Power Development Plan 2015, the Krabi plant would have to start supplying electricity to the national power system by December 2019. EGAT would need at least a year to finalize the selection of the contractor, and then construction would take another four years. Tendering and other contractor-selection work had to be done in parallel with the EHIA process. (Ref: https://www.bangkokpost.com/print/633880/ and http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Two-groups-bid-for-Krabi-power-project-30266001.html)

          For the third public hearing to review the EHIA of the Thepa Power Plant Project and the Deep Sea Port Project in Thepha District, Songkhla Province during July 27-28, 2015, EGAT had followed regulations and gave facilitation to the public and stakeholders to attend the meeting and state their opinions according to the regulation and intention of the law. EGAT did not block out anyone and did not give payment to individuals to come to the public hearing or to support the project. As for supporting the transportation cost, 500 baht per pickup truck, the consulting company of the EHIA did as agreed upon with the community leaders to facilitate different villages, particularly for districts which were far away from the venue. Pickup trucks were prepared so people could travel together, 8-10 people per pickup truck. The receipts had to be provided as proof for car rent and gas money for a round trip, per pickup truck, per day. Furthermore, the cloth bags given after registering included only documents of the EHIA, water, a snack, and a coupon for lunch.

 

Power of the Land
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EGAT Magazine 2018 - Jul-Sep