Revised PDP requires B800bn to build power infrastructure

The revised Power Development Plan (PDP) spanning 2013-30 requires a total budget of 800 billion baht for power plants and transmission lines, said the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).

The PDP, which was revised a month ago, aims to add 55,000 megawatts of new capacity by 2030, said Pongdith Potchana, Egat's deputy governor for corporate social responsibility.

Based on the country's average annual gross domestic product growth of 4% to 4.5% over the next two decades, Thailand should have a total power capacity of 70,686 MW, up from 32,000 MW at present.

Addressing a forum of Power Gen Asia/Renewable Energy World Asia 2012 yesterday, Mr Pongdith said Egat intends to develop and buy more from domestic power plants.

The third revision of the PDP increased the estimated power demand from 69,500 MW in the previous review due to the strong demand from all sectors and expected operations of 10 lines of mass-transit rail and high-speed train lines have also been taken into account.

In order to meet the fast-growing demand for power generation, about 800 billion baht in new investments are required, said Mr Pongdith.

"Egat will focus on reliability and energy security during the PDP implementation," he said, adding key factors include climate change, increasing the renewable energy portfolio, fuel diversification, smart grid and community and public acceptance.

With regard to climate change, Egat and the private sector are aiming to cap carbon dioxide emissions for each kilowatt-hour (unit) of power generation at below 0.386 kilogrammes.

Meanwhile, renewable energies in the power sector will double to 10%, with most of the new projects being biomass, biogas units and solar farms.

In terms of diversification of fuels, Egat aims to cut reliance on natural gas in power generation to 57% from the current 70%, and maintain coal usage at 20%.

Power purchases from neighbouring countries will increase from 5% to 11%, including projects in Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, while nuclear power will increase to 1% from zero at the present time.

"The biggest challenge for Egat in the coming years is community and public acceptance, particularly for clean coal and nuclear power plants," said Mr Pongdith.

He said that Egat will make great efforts to communicate and educate the public about the need for these types of energy.

The operation of the country's first clean coal power plant has been postponed to 2019, while nuclear power plants are now scheduled to come on stream in 2026 and 2027 instead of 2018 and 2020.

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Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
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