Gas-fired plant to get the nod
Government agencies are set to approve a 1,400-megawatt gas-fired power plant project in Surat Thani this year, replacing two highly contentious coal-fired power plant projects in the southern region.
The 34-billion-baht facility, to be built in Phunphin district, is expected to receive the green light in the fourth quarter by the Energy Ministry, the National Energy Policy Council and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Its development will be carried out by state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), following its months-long feasibility study of the project.
Egat governor Boonyanit Wongrukmit said the project will replace controversial coal-fired power plant projects in Krabi and Songkhla's Thepha district, which are expected to be shelved.
"We will communicate with local people to explain why we decided to scrap these two projects," he said.
The new power plant is scheduled to become operational between 2027 and 2029, and it will supply electricity to southern provinces, said Mr Boonyanit.
It will ensure power security in the region where power demand is on the rise, but fossil fuel supplied to existing power plants is limited.
The gas-fired power generation project is part of Egat's 5-year capital spending, worth 136.4 billion baht, to develop power plants and a network of transmission lines until 2025.
Egat also plans to team up with national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal adjacent to the power plant, said Mr Boonyanit.
The on-ground LNG receiving terminal will replace a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU), dubbed a giant ship, in the Gulf of Thailand.
FSRU was primarily aimed to feed gas to the new power plant in Phunphin district.
According to Egat, the LNG receiving terminal will be able to store 3 million tonnes of LNG a year, lower than FSRU's annual carrying capacity of 5 million tonnes for imported LNG.