National power plan revisions afoot

National power plan revisions afoot

Flap over Krabi project impetus for update

An electrician does maintenance work in Bang Saphan in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Policymakers are revising the energy plan to ensure sufficient power supply in the South if two coal-fired power plants planned for the region are scrapped. PATIPAT JANTHONG
An electrician does maintenance work in Bang Saphan in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Policymakers are revising the energy plan to ensure sufficient power supply in the South if two coal-fired power plants planned for the region are scrapped. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Energy policymakers will revise the national power development plan (PDP 2015-36) in order to generate sufficient power for the country if plans to develop the two coal-fired power plants in the southern region -- in Krabi and Thepha district in Songkhla province -- are further delayed or scrapped.

The PDP revision is also in line with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's recommendation last week that the proportion of renewable power should rise to 40% of the country's total power generation from 30% in the current plan.

Areepongse Bhoochaoom, permanent secretary at the Energy Ministry, said the new target was not far-fetched as there are technologies that help cut renewable energy costs, which help encourage more investment in the sector.

He said it was also an appropriate time to review the PDP plan this year, when construction costs and prices of other building materials have dropped along with global oil prices. The government would need to adjust the plan to match the changing situation.

Thailand has implemented the PDP for about two years, during which renewable power production has reached 9,000 megawatts. The total renewable power target for 2036 is 19,630MW.

"We have met half the renewable power target within only two years and if the government wants us to increase the proportion of renewable energy it will not be that hard," Mr Areepongse said at the trade fair "Sustainable Energy Technology Asia 2017" in Bangkok yesterday, an event showcasing renewable technologies.

Regarding the Krabi coal-fired power plant, he said policymakers plan to hold a seminar to be attended by all involved parties, when a final decision could be expected on whether to generate power from fossil or renewable resources for the southern region.

The seminar is expected to be held within a month.

The PDP revision plan follows Mr Prayut's order for a review of the feasibility study on the Krabi coal-fired power plant project to allow input from all parties, especially local villagers who oppose the project.

Mr Areepongse also said energy policymakers will consider options to help low-income earners with their power bills, with the Finance Ministry working out the subsidy method.

Power bill subsidies for low-income earners, who consume less than 50 kilowatt hours a month, was initiated under the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

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