Krabi coal-power plant unnecessary, experts say

Krabi coal-power plant unnecessary, experts say

PONGPHON SARNSAMAK
THE NATION November 11, 2013 1:00 am
 

INSTEAD of putting aside Bt30 billion to build a new coal-power plant in Krabi, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) should make energy consumption more efficient in the near future, experts say.

“There is no need to build a new coal-power plant or any other kind of power plant for the next 10 or 15 years, because Thailand already has an oversupply of electricity, especially for the industrial sector,” Witoon Permpongsacharoen, director of the Mekong Energy and Ecology Network, said.

Egat decided to build a 700-800 megawatt plant after it estimated that consumption of electricity would rise from 26,355MW in 2013 to 52,256MW in 2030. It also decided to choose coal as one of the main fuels to generate power because it is the cheapest.

The agency recently hired consultants to conduct an environmental and health impact assessment (EHIA) for this project. The assessment will be submitted to the National Environmental Board’s expert panel to seek additional recommendations before it is forwarded to other relevant agencies for approval. An EHIA is required under the Constitution’s Article 67 (2) as the project can be classified as harmful to the environment and people’s health. The EHIA is about 80 per cent complete.

However, Witoon said Egat’s estimate was based on the period of peak demand, which only occurs a few days in April, adding that this figure did not reflect demand in the future.

“Power production under the power development plan was overestimated,” he said.

Witoon also asked about the management of the coal-power plant, saying there were many factors that required proper control such as transportation of coal, which might harm the environment if there is a spill.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace Thailand’s Chariya Senpong said even if EGAT used clean coal to generate power, she was still concerned about how it would eliminate the bottom ash. To date, bottom ash has been dumped underground or into the sea – a method that could have a range of adverse impacts, she warned.

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