Making the public accept coal-fired and nuclear power plants is among the biggest challenges facing the new governor of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), say the candidates.
The three are vying to succeed Sutat Patmasiriwat, who completes his term at the end of next month.
The candidates are Egat's deputy governor for transmission systems Thana Putarangsi, deputy governor for corporate social responsibility Pongdit Potejana and deputy governor for power plants Soonchai Kumnoonsate.
They presented their visions for the governor job yesterday to more than 20,000 members of Egat's labour union via a teleconference.
"The failure of fuel diversification in the power sector by Egat is one of the weak points, and that has caused Thailand's energy security to weaken gradually. That is the challenge," said Mr Thana.
Old high-voltage transmission lines should be upgraded, particularly in the South and Northeast, he added.
Mr Thana said he will promote Thailand as a centre for electricity trading by developing transmission links with southern China, Indochina and Myanmar by 2016.
Mr Pongdit said without development of coal-fired power plants of 4,000 megawatts and nuclear plants of 2,000 MW, electricity tariffs will increase to six baht per kilowatt hour (unit) from 3.50 baht as of last year.
Thailand gets as much as a quarter of its natural gas from Myanmar, and disruptions occurred 18 times between 2008 and April this year. This clearly suggests that energy security will be more at risk, as gas in the Gulf of Thailand will be depleted in the next 15 years, he said.
"We want to bring all groups that protest against coal and nuclear power to discuss closely in order to help us draw a roadmap for nuclear and coal," said Mr Pongdit.
Under the power development plan, Egat was assigned to develop coal and nuclear plants, which are opposed by communities and environmentalists.
"If the power tariff rises to six baht per unit, we will definitely lose competitiveness to other countries," said Mr Pongdit.
Mr Soonchai said he will revamp old power generators countrywide to be more efficient to lower costs. He will also promote more renewable energies.
Sirichai Mai-Ngam, the president of Egat's labour union, said the most important thing is the new governor is free of political interference.
About the author
- Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter