ENC Weekly Highlight: EGAT to build 2 gas-fired plants in southern Thailand

Thailand’s 2018 Power Development Plan (PDP) has given a mandate for Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) to build two natural gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 1,400 megawatts in the southern province of Surat Thani.  

The plants are required to provide electricity to the national power distribution system by 2027 and 2029, respectively.

The Energy Policy and Planning Office at the Ministry of Energy has completed the public hearings on the 2018 PDP draft. The National Energy Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to consider the draft on its upcoming meeting in January next year, after which the draft PDP will be submitted to Cabinet for final approval.

According to the so called PDP2018, the two plants will replace the Krabi and Tepa projects to ensure power security in southern Thailand.

In addition, the government will invite private sector to invest in an additional 1,000 megawatt as an independent power producer (IPP) project for electricity supply starting in 2034. This IPP project will use coal, if finding from a study on environmental impacts by a government appointed committee shows the latter fuel is recommended.

Besides the first 1,000 megawatt IPP project, another IPP scheme of 700 megawatt is planned for 2035 using natural gas as fuel.

Energy experts believe that southern Thailand should have at least one major coal-fired power plant to help ensure power security with diversified fuel sources.

The 2018 PDP is expected to be updated again in 2020 to take into consideration the consequences of natural gas and rooftop solar liberalization on the country’s energy demand.

Meanwhile, EGAT has sought support from the Energy Ministry to allow the state enterprise to boost its share of electricity generation to 50 percent of the country’s total capacity. At present, EGAT’s share is only 37 percent, while it also wants to compete with the private sector via bidding.

Overall, the 2018 PDP is supposed to cap the average price of electricity at about THB5.55 per unit, equivalent to the current 2015 PDP.